Lavish life of a failed company director is revealed
EXCLUSIVE: The director of a company which convinced thousands of Australian businesses to sign lengthy in-store advertising deals before going bust has been sprung living the high life, while his co-director struggles to find a job.
A News Corp investigation can reveal Jason Madden, who ran Sunshine Coast-based Viewble Media, has reinvented himself abroad, as the 4500 businesses his company crossed paths with suffer.
Mr Madden has started an extravagant life in the Philippines - where Viewble also had an office - with his new wife and runs water park, Aplayang Munti which offers a blow up obstacle course, a jetski, clear kayaks and a restaurant and spa.
Meanwhile, his co-director David Reid owns a $1.3 million property at Pelican Waters, on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Reid told News Corp he was unemployed and living in Brisbane while his wife and children live in the waterfront home.
Mr Madden has been contacted for comment.
Liquidators were appointed to Viewble in January this year, two months after its associated company Jasdav - which was trading as The Shoppers Network - went under.
The companies owe almost $100 million to unsecured creditors according to a liquidation report by Pearce & Heers, although at the time of the report's release no formal rulings on proof of debts had been made.
Small business owners would sign a 36-month contract with Viewble Media agreeing to pay $433 per month to lease a television to display in-store advertising on the proviso they would receive $433 a month back in advertising revenue from Viewble's media-partner Jasdav to display ads for other businesses.
But the customers - some claim unknowingly - also entered into a contract with a finance company, who would pay Viewble Media approximately $13,000 per television installation.
From the 2016 financial year until September 2018 Viewble made more than $51 million from this system.
After the companies collapsed the small business owners were left liable to pay out the remainder of the $15,500 contracts.
The failure was partly due to finance companies pulling their support and a court case against former director Michael Maunder which cost $1 million, according to Mr Reid.
Mr Maunder has been contacted for comment.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman are now investigating if the payments are able to be enforced.
Mr Madden keeps a relatively low profile online, but his new wife's Facebook page offers a front-row seat to their jetsetting life.
Mr Madden and Helen Estrellas married in October 2016.
Her Facebook profile features photos of her adoring husband building a crib for their daughter, family holidays overseas and the couple exchanging gifts for anniversaries and birthdays.
Lazy Sunday afternoons are spent overlooking a koi pond at their vast home, which has an Australian and Philippine national flag pride of place at the front gate hinting at the blended family within.
Against the backdrop of her husband's failing company however, the photos of extensive overseas travel, gifts from Louboutin, Louis Vuitton and a new jetski tell a different story.
That story is one of excess.
The Louboutin shoes Mrs Madden excitedly posted to Facebook as a present from her husband retail at almost $1500AUD, while a Sea-Doo jetski Mr Madden got for the water park in late 2018 retails at more than $11,200AUD.
The couple also threw a lavish christening for their daughter at the water park in 2018 which featured dancers and live music.
Between mid-2016 to late-2018, Mr Madden and Mr Reid were paid $2.3 million and $2.7 million respectively by Viewble, according to an initial creditors report.
The money Mr Madden received was made up of lump-sum and expense payments ($1.4m) and consultant fees ($900,000).
Mr Reid's was made up of gross wages and superannuation payments ($1.2m) and lump-sum and expense payments ($1.4m).
He told News Corp part of that money was spent on paying out $900,000 to Mr Maunder made up of a settlement deed and associated costs as well as expenses he incurred setting up the Viewble Media in the UK and the US.
The US arm of the business will soon be deregistered and Viewble UK paid media company Rhino Media "hundreds of thousands of pounds" to take over their contracts, according to Mr Reid.
"The last bit of money I had was spent trying to fix up the UK and US and I'm looking for work now," he said.
"I've been trying to get interviews here, but it hasn't been good unfortunately. (That's) the power of social media and reporters like you."
Mr Reid bought his $1.3 million home with his wife in April 2018 and has recently returned to Australia after a stint living overseas.
Liquidation documents note it appeared Mr Reid may have used $300,000 from Viewble Media to buy the property.
He denied this allegation and said mortgage payments were being made with his wife's income and money he had borrowed from family members.
The couple also own another home in North Brisbane and in December 2018 - just a month before Jasdav collapsed - Mr Reid transferred his $310,000 half of the ownership to his wife which he said was for personal reasons.
They bought the home for $495,000 in 2007 and it is now rented out for $650 per week, according to real estate data.
Viewble Media customers who have spoken to News Corp said they first noticed something was wrong when they stopped receiving their monthly payments to cover the cost of leasing their televisions.
These payments ceased in September 2018, signalling the impending downfall of the businesses.
Many customers claim they never signed a contract for finance and were not aware of their repayment obligations until the companies went under.
While customers' financial obligations are on hold while the companies are investigated by ASBFEO and AFCA - they fear for their futures if they are forced to cough up the full contract amount.
In response to these claims, Mr Reid said "I don't know how that would be possible" and that the finance contracts were either paper or electronic.
"How would you get the banking information? When you think about it logically, all of these customers were paying by direct debit right? How would you get the bank account details if they didn't fill it out?" he said.
"I think people might have that perception because it was maybe an electronic thing and didn't get paper."
Viewble Media and Jasdav owe $61 million and $30 million to unsecured creditors respectively, according to an initial creditors report by Pearce & Heers.
The liquidation has since been taken over by FTI Consulting, but liquidators were unable to comment on the final amount owed to creditors as adjudications of debt are continuing.
In a long, and sometimes emotional, interview with News Corp, Mr Reid said he and his companies "tried to do the right thing".
"The business failed. Nobody goes into business to fail, nobody wants to let anyone down," he said.
"I've apologised to people for the business failing.
"I can assure you, at no point in time did anybody in that business - and we had many staff - sit and think we were going to fail or this was a scam.
"Companies collapse and fail every single day, this was one of them."