Banned banker: ‘I’m just the ad man’
A FORMER Gold Coast high-flyer black-listed after his investment empire went bust owing $260 million denies running a cafe as a front for a banking club.
Emerald Lake business owners and customers allege Equititrust founder Mark McIvor, who was once worth $150 million, referred to himself as "Lord Huntington" of the Huntington Health and Wealth Club and was frequently in the company of a Tibetan monk who sat in the corner of the restaurant.
The company website lists Mr McIvor as the managing partner. However, he says he is just the "ad man".
Mr McIvor was permanently banned in 2015 from providing any financial services or registering as a company director after ASIC found he "was not of good fame or character to provide financial services".
In an information memorandum to potential investors, the club describes itself as holding the secrets to investment banking "hidden by the wealthy elite for centuries", and proposes a community-owned bank to break the grip of "cartel-controlled business models".
The bank would be backed by a cryptocurrency token.
On Wednesday, Mr McIvor was clearing out the Huntington cafe/studio premises after being evicted by the landlord and said his role at Huntington did not involve offering financial advice.
"I'm a marketer mate," he said. "I've been engaged by Huntington to market and I intend to.
"I am just a lowly ad man. I'm media, marketing and training and private criminal prosecution."
Asked who was head of the organisation, he said: "Based in Melbourne mate. Don't even know, I don't get to speak to them."
The business behind the Huntington club is HuntingtonMutual Pty Ltd, which lists Melbourne resident Janice Collins as its sole director.
Mr McIvor is a strident critic of corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which he blames, along with former business partners and the big banks, for the downfall of Equititrust and being "banished to a commercial wilderness".
"I represent 1620 aged investors denuded of some of them their entire net worth by an illegal federal police raid," he said.
"I came here because certain people wanted to create a mutual for the Gold Coast.
"I have lived in this community since I was seven. I made $150 million and when that raid occurred that $150 million was committed to protecting my investors."
Mr McIvor and his alleged fellow Huntington club founders, including musical partner Patrick John Creamer III, also known as Colonel Strongman, vacated the Huntington premises.
The cafe opened in August last year and was headed up by Helen Paximadas, another alleged Huntington founder, who is described as offering "the ideal opportunity for deal making, Huntington style". Mr McIvor yesterday said she was no longer part of the club.
He said the waterfront Emerald Lakes premises under the Porto Bellago building was not viable for a restaurant but better suited for a club. He said the plan was for HuntingtonMutual to buy the restaurant from owner Ashley Gale, but the contract became "frustrated" by COVID-19.
"They have aggressively pushed us around and we've said we'll go and we'll settle it in court," he said.
"They have $130,000 of our money and we have spent north of $100,000, or certain people did just to get established."
Mr McIvor said the plan was to host seminars about a community bank, but "we never got the chance to explain what it was about".
Mr Gale said the dispute had become a "complicated legal matter" with multiple parties involved.
"I'm very comfortable that I have acted within the law," he said. "There was a sale contract on the property.
"There have been multiple entities involved; whether you could call them related or not is hard to say."
Mr Gale said the body corporate had told him that people were living in the restaurant but he had not been able to confirm that.
He said the club caused "substantial damage" to the premises including missing items, however this was denied by Mr McIvor.
"There is a lot of cleaning to be done to the building," Mr Gale said.
A spokeswoman for ASIC declined to comment.
Originally published as Banned banker: 'I'm just the ad man'