Metro’s fucked, if you haven’t noticed

Metro’s fucked, if you haven’t noticed

+ Monkey Bar, 2 Mooses Tavern, The Church, Rumours

The owner of a number of Dunedin bars, including student favourites Monkey, Metro and Rumours, has fled the country, leaving a number of outstanding debts. Critic could not get in contact with the owner, Ben Hanssen, but it is understood that he has left behind creditors and employees with no sign of paying them what they are owed.

Metro Bar (Dunedin) Ltd, 2 Mooses Tavern Ltd and The Church Nightclub Ltd have all been liquidated following a number of issues with the IRD, leaving business associates and employees financially out of pocket. Sergeant Ian Paulin, of Dunedin Police, told Critic that the non-payment of taxes has resulted in the closure of the local bars.

Furthermore, the ODT also outed Hanssen as using gang affiliates to intimidate business rivals, after he was alleged to have knowledge of concrete being poured down the drain of a rival establishment.

Several former employees refused to speak of Hanssen’s business deals, however, one former employee told Critic “it’s a serious situation, and I’d rather go to sleep at night knowing I have nothing to do with it.”

The liquidated companies were all under the management of Hanssen, who was named as the sole director of each company. In the past, Hanssen has been involved in at least 15 other companies, all of which no longer trade. Prior to owning businesses in Dunedin, Hanssen was known as Charles Benjamin Macadie and was declared bankrupt in 1991. In 2002, Benjamin Charles Hanssen was again declared bankrupt.

Critic spoke to Don Millis from Insolvency Management Services who said, “None of the bars are anywhere near reopening in the foreseeable future.” Further, the venues appeared to have no occupying tenants, and the insides of both Monkey and Metro have been “completely gutted” following the recent removal of all chattels.

Companies Office records show Mr Hanssen remains a director of various other companies based in Dunedin. Sergeant Paulin told Critic that all liquor licenses under Hanssen’s name have been revoked, including a temporary one held at the Clarendon Hotel. Paulin also told Critic that it is unlikely Monkey will once again become a licensed venue, as the landlords would prefer it was refurbished to become “a high-class establishment.”
This article first appeared in Issue 1, 2014.
Posted 6:57pm Sunday 23rd February 2014 by Josie Cochrane.