Peggy Hockey has been left in the lurch by G J Gardner.
Peggy Hockey has been left in the lurch by G J Gardner. Rob Williams

Nurse loses $200k as Ipswich company goes bust

AN AID worker who toiled at three jobs to pay for her dream home has been left heartbroken as the G.J. Gardner Homes collapse costs her $200,000.

Peggy Hockey has been left with an empty shell of a home perched high on the hill overlooking the western ranges.

On December 18 G.J. Gardner North Ipswich franchisee Pieter Burghout requested the couple pay $121,000 for their kitchen and bathroom cabinets; which had been built but not installed at the home.

Mr Burghout said the up-front payment was needed to tie-up loose ends, and said they would be installed in January.

"I didn't suspect a thing," Mrs Hockey said.

"He was saying in an email he was needing to pay things... he said he had cash flow problems.

"We had no whim of it... he told us he needed to finish the end-of-year financials for G.J. Gardner's head office."

One day before the cabinets were due to be installed word got out G.J. Gardner had gone bust; the couple's money gone.

"He didn't pay the kitchen guy when I gave him that money," Mrs Hockey said.

"I wanted to vomit, I couldn't believe it.

"I'm not happy now I don't have the kitchen."

 

Peggy Hockey has been left in the lurch by G J Gardner.
Peggy Hockey has been left in the lurch by G J Gardner. Rob Williams

Her bathroom and kitchen cabinets were built by All-Design Cabinets owner Richard Jones; who has lost $80,000 from the G.J collapse.

Mrs Hockey also pre-paid $50,000 to Mr Burghout in September for house upgrades like a verandah.

Because the couple paid Mr Burghout $121,000 for the cabinets, $50,000 for home upgrades and thousands more in additions before he went bust, they have been left with nothing.

They are unable to finish their home until the liquidators and insurance agency can assess the loss.

"It's too much money for another G.J. Gardner franchise to take over," Mrs Hockey said.

"We have a $121,000 loan we have to pay back and we don't have anything to show for it."

>>RELATED: Builder gloats of success days before going bust

It could be between 12 months and two years before the financials can be assessed and the home finished.

Until then, the Hockeys will continue living on-site in their caravan; hoping for progress.

"I was working so much to pull the money and now I don't have that," Mrs Hockey said.

"We have nothing left in the bank.

"We put the sale of our (old) house into this, whatever cash we had."

Mr Burghout did not respond to a request for comment and has remained publicly silent since his franchise collapsed earlier this month.

Mrs Hockey, a registered nurse, was working three jobs and doing extra shifts to afford the high-end fittings and appliances for her home.

Theirs was the largest undertaken by the G.J. Gardner North Ipswich franchise.

Located high on Mt Alford, south of Boonah, the sprawling palace had always been Mrs Hockey's dream home.

The couple had decided to settle down after spending five years in the third-world Solomon Islands. Mrs Hockey worked through conditions of poverty as CEO of the Atoifi Adventist Hospital on the island of Malaita.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission has contacted home owners to explain the process of lodging a non-completion claim for assessment under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme.



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