No brightside for HSU members as bankrupted union boss Michael Williamson's Maroubra house gets auctioned

The Maroubra home of the bankrupted Michael Williamson, the former HSU union boss and president of the Labor Party, was passed in - with no bid - when auctioned tonight. 

The 1970s two storey Maroubra townhouse was renovated in 2001 into a two/three level home (pictured below).

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With six bedrooms, two bathrooms, attic rumpus room, wine cellar and pool, had been expected to sell for about $1.5 million through LJ Hooker agent Michael Panto.

Williamson's wife, Julie Williamson, who has filed for divorce, will have her share of the home protected from her husband's bankruptcy trustee, according to the comprehensive coverage by SMH investigative reporter, Kate McClymont. 

Along with pleading guilty to cheating and defrauding the union of $1 million, Williamson has declared himself bankrupt.

McClymont says it was unlikely the union will recover any of the funds from any house sale proceeds. It is understood the union will not have to pay all of Williamson's $1.1 million superannuation and $600,000 of holiday and long service leave entitlements, although his wife will have some entitlement.

The 262 square metre Meagher Avenue, Maroubra property cost $139,000 in 1987. Property Observer notes the title comes with two mortgages, the first being SGE Credit Union for $670,000 borrowed in 2005. The second was taken late last year with its 8% interest financing from solictors, Vivian Evans and Joseph Antoun.

LJ Hooker have been marketing the property as "combining lifestyle and location."

"It comes with secure high walled entrance with video intercom and stunning entertainers' courtyard with feature fish pond."

Maroubra's median house price is $1.2 million , according to RP Data, up 8% over the past year.

The Williamson's also own a newly built holiday retreat at Lake Macquarie's Brightwaters where the house median is around $425,000. The couple bought their initial 787 square metre lakeside reserve property for $470,000 in 2006 and in 2010 spent $522,000 to buy the neighbouring 783 square metre holding. It was a $700,000 design project with the work undertaken by the union's architect.

The Temby inquiry into the HSU "was unable to conclude whether either Williamson or the architect had behaved improperly." 

The actual allegation within the FINAL REPORT on HSUeast by IAN TEMBY QC AND DENNIS ROBERTSON FCA against Williamson in relation to Mah-Chut Architects was that they were employed on union money to do work on his holiday home at Lake Macquarie.

"At interview, Mah-Chut confirmed he did work for Williamson, first at home in Maroubra and then at Lake Macquarie.

"As to the former, he did some drawings and arranged for an engineer.

"At Lake Macquarie, the work was recent, and Mah-Chut prepared plans, put them through council, arranged for a builder and supervised the work.

"When asked if he charged Williamson less for the work at Lake Macquarie by reason of the large amount of wotk he did for the union, after initial hesitation, Mah-Chut replied in the affirmative," the Temby report noted.

"He charged Williamson less than he would have charged an ordinary client with whom he had no prior association. He said he did not tell Williamson he was being charged less."

Mah-Chut provided, on request, extensive further material that indicated he received from Williamson in relation to the Lake Macquarie building project a total of $42,085.25 of which $9,261.25 was by way of reimbursement for charges Mah-Chut had paid on Williamson's behalf.

The professional fees including GST totalled $32,824.

The Temby reported, noting the project cost was about $700,000, suggested if normal architect's fees were taken to be about 10% of the project cost, then "this represents a large under-charge.

It was contended that for this work Mah-Chut did not charge a percentage fee.

"However, we think it is fair to say that Mah-Chut was well paid for the work he did for the union, and less well paid for the work he did for Williamson personally."

Williamson was arrested after detectives raided his Maroubra home in Sydney's east last October following a police investigation that probed allegations of corruption during his time at the HSU aired by the union's national secretary, Kathy Jackson.

Jackson's own property tale, the sale of her Balwyn home (pictured below) continues given its seeming delayed settlement terms. In April, after Jackson swapped agents, the four bedroom house was sold to an syndicate of Tim Ho, Brandon Ho and Chang Voon, with its sale price as yet undisclosed.

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The Balwyn home was given a $2.1 million asking price after its September 2012 auction.



The property was marketed as a "developer's dream", given it's a 1,452-square-metre holding.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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