A court has ordered two national banks to start draining the business accounts of Bella Portofino manager Manuel Paradisis over a $100,000 debt owed to an Illawarra wedding business.
Simply Wedding and Functions launched court action against Mr Paradisis (trading as Bella Portofino/Yuzu Catering) in May this year, claiming he had failed to pay the Bulli-based business $101,500.02 for work performed at the function centre between November 2013 and the start of March 2015.
Court documents revealed Simply Wedding and Functions, which listed its role as decorating reception venues for wedding and event clients, billed Mr Paradisis’ company, Yuzu Catering, $148,268 during the 16-month period, but was paid $41,451 only.
A further $5000 was taken off for damages and depreciation, leaving just over $100,000 owing.
Simply Weddings and Functions lodged a statement of claim in May seeking the outstanding debt plus 10 per cent interest, and court and service fees, bringing the total figure to $111,626.
Mr Paradisis, who is listed as the sole director and secretary of Yuzu Catering on Australian Securities and Investments Commission documents, is said to have been served with a copy of the claim on May 25.
However, he failed to respond to the claim or file a defence, prompting the court to issue a default judgment to Simply Weddings and Functions on July 1.
In Albion Park on Monday, Magistrate Mark Douglass finalised garnishee orders against the Commonwealth and ANZ banks, authorising both institutions to withdraw money from bank accounts in the name of ‘‘Manuel Paradisis trading as Bella Portofino/Yuzu Catering’’ to pay Simply Weddings and Functions the money it was owed.
He noted there was no one in court representing the banks or Mr Paradisis and said he was satisfied that the orders should be made.
The ruling is the latest in a series of blows for the troubled Bella Portofino brand, coming on the back of claims of missing money and brides backing out of scheduled weddings over concerns about the future operation of the company’s three venues.
The winners of an $11,000 reception at the Bella Portofino venue in Shellharbour told the Mercury last month they had lodged a complaint with NSW Fair Trading following a dispute with the function centre over their alcohol tab.
Wollongong detectives confirmed in early August they were investigating the apparent disappearance of $17,000 of charity money during a fundraiser for Mt Warrigal man George Testa at the Wollongong venue in January.
Meanwhile, bride-to-be Michelle Carroll told the Mercury she was so unsettled about the future of Bella Portofino that she had moved her wedding to another venue and was trying to get a refund on her $5500 deposit.
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