Home > Latest News > EXCLUSIVE: CEDIA Awarding EXperienceOne? Executive With ‘Top Award’ Despite Dodgy History In Industry

EXCLUSIVE: CEDIA Awarding EXperienceOne? Executive With ‘Top Award’ Despite Dodgy History In Industry

What is it about dodgy custom install operators, who think they can go broke one minute, or even two or three times, and then a few weeks later, and in some cases 24 hours later rise up like Lazarus, with a new business without any regard for the damage they have created, or the mountain of debt let alone the hundreds of customers left without a new home theatre or a home automation fitout.

Along the way and despite their businesses being under invesgtigation they get an endorsement from CEDIA the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association, who appear, to be quite happy to hand out awards to the likes of Matthew Manalis (seen above) from EXperienceONE, which is owned by Captivant Pty Ltd which is currently under investigation by administrators and is linked with questionable businerss practises.

The Brisbane and Gold Coast based EXperienceONE business is not registered with the Australian Companies and Securities Commission but is recommended by CEDIA.

See original story here.

Manalis is also the same executive who has been involved in previous custom install business that were CEDIA members at the time.

CEDIA vice president of engagement & global development Wendy Griffiths in giving the award to several industry executives said  “Matt (Manalis) Mark, and Mike exude the best qualities of our industry,”.

“We are proud to recognize them with one of CEDIA’s highest honors.”

It appears that association executives, who claim that they do “What Is Right” for the CI industry, in their mission statements, are well aware of Mamalis’s questionable track record ruynning custom install businesses, and that of his fellow executives, but are quite happy to endorse a senior EXperienceONE executive, despite ongoing questions about the shady past of Manalis and his other and shareholders and directors, who are currently facing potential legal action by administrators to recover over $800K from the operators of the business.

In NSW It’s Vinod David of the Lifestyle Store, who after being bankrupt previously, has just seen his Theatre At Home business placed into liquidation with millions owed to customers who paid deposits for goods. Also hit for millionms are the 11 landlords whose rent has not been paid and that includes the landlord for the Lifestyle Store.

Vinod David, a former bankrupt has seen seen the assets of the Lifestyle Store siezed because of a $7M debt, and his Theatre At Home business facing liquidation with little if any chance of over 600 people who placed deposits getting their money back or the goods they paid for.

Then there is the saga of the Lifestyle Store another Vinod David entity that is facing claims from customers who after paying millions in deposits for CI jobs, did not got what they ordered, or the job was not started before the assets of the business were seized.

In some cases, goods were never ordered from suppliers with consumers who had paid deposits strung out for more than 12 months.

One disgruntled Lifestyle Store supplier who claims that he is owed $300,000 is currently seeking leave in an NSW Court, to place the Lifestyle Store into administration.

In Queensland it’s eXperienceONE operators Regan Webb, Brendon Cousemacker and Matthew Manalis, who despite their shocking track record running failed custom install businesses are still spruiking customers, real estate agents and project managers claiming that they are one of Brisbane’s largest Smart Home Technology providers who have amassed over 35 collective years of experience. Manalis has only 13 years and in that time he has been involved with at least five businersses that are now in liquidation.

 

 

Late last year Matt Manalis (Seen above) was handed a CEDIA Special Recognition Award at the time he said. “I’d like to express my deepest thanks to Paul, Wendy, Daryl (Daz) and the whole CEDIA team. This award is not just a reflection of my efforts but the collective dedication of everyone who is passionately working towards improving our industry each day”. There was no mention of him being under investigation for his business practises, or the fact that he has been involved in multiple CI business that have been placed into liquidation. “I’m looking forward to many more years of collaboration, growth, and innovation”.

Missing is the fact that all of these executives are currently under investigation by an administrator who is chasing, Manalis, Webb and Cousemacker for $894,102.

This is on top of the $1.4M the three executives owed the ATO alone, when their last business BMR Group that is in liquidation.

In a recent report to creditors Queensland administrator Travis Pullen, claims that he is still investigating the actions of BMR Group  exeutives, Webb, Manalis and Cousemacker for claimed failures under the Corporations Act.

He is currently probing the overnight transfer of assets, money and custom install contracts from BMR Group a business that stopped trading after being unable to pay their debts to a new Company that now owns EXperienceONE.

EXperienceONE executive Regan Webb above loves the high life fast cars and has a reputation involving CI Companies placed into Liquidation. 

Webb, Cousemacker and Manalis claim that the previous BMR Group business was affected by the Brisbane flood, the administrator has a different view claiming that the business “had no way of repaying” it’s debts so they did what they have done previously, dump one Company along with its debts to start another one.

The BMR Group ceased trading on 8 March 2022, 24 hours later all three shareholders formed a new Company Captivant Pty Ltd which owns EXperienceONE.

The new Company took over the trading of the previous Company’s business without any payment, or contribution for assets taken from the previous Company that is now in liquidation.

According to the administrator, included in the overnight transfer was the cash reserves of the previous Company, the Companies clients, and work that was in progress.

Brendon Cousemacker has been involved in several CI Companies that have been placed into Liquidation.

Also left behind was liabilities of up to $1.6M to multiple organisations and suppliers along with the personal loans given to executives of EXperienceONE while they were executives of BMR Group.

The administrator also claims that the executives owe $265,297 in relation to a director loan account that they operated while running the failed BMR Group, he has placed this matter with solicitors to pursue.

When the solicitors wrote to Captivant Pty Ltd, and Messrs Manalis, Cousemacker and Webb, demanding payment of the above amounts, all three executives denied owing the money with the administrator now chasing payment.

Travis is also looking to take legal action against all three EXperienceONE, executives for $894,102.53, a move that if successful could well see all three declared bankrupts if they are unable to pay the debt.

At this stage, the administrator’s investigations indicate that the executives may have the financial capacity to settle any claims against them as they own houses and other assets.

On or around 10 May 2022, the Company received a disaster grant from the Queensland Government in the amount of $35,000 but instead of applying this to BMR Groups debts it was “Applied for the benefit of the Directors Manalis and Cousemacker, rather than the Company” the administrator claimed.

Travis claims that after a two-year investigation he is satisfied that the misapplication of the funds represents a voidable transaction and as such he is claiming the amount of $35,000, against Manalis and Cousemacker pursuant to Sections 180, 181, 182 and 183 of the Corporations Act (or alternatively, he will use common law to try and recover the money.

He is also taking a separate action against Regan Webb under the same legislation.

Last year the administrator had a discussion with advisers to the three exercutives, who denied the claims relating to money owed by the directors.

He said that his investigations of the actions of Webb Manalis and Cousemacker led him to also investigate ‘Insolvent Trading’ by the three executives.

His preliminary investigations reveal that the Company’s directors may have allowed the Company to trade whilst insolvent in the past with this issue still being investigated with a view to potential legal action being taken under the Corporations Act.

He claims that the executives now running EXperienceONE “Do not appear to have any defences available to them pursuant to the current act governing Company executives in Australia and insolvent trading.

Captivant’ s officers and shareholders are Matthew Manalis shareholder.

Brendon Cousemacker Director / Shareholder
Regan Webb Director / Shareholder

The fourth shareholders in Captivant are a Company called Jazone Pty Ltd that lists as its sole shareholder Jason James Gejas, an Albury based building industry executive.

In dumping one business with debts and the setting up of Captivant the directors according to Travis, had the benefit of the Company’s assets which were removed to the new Company.
These assets are valued at $894,102.53; they include.

• The cash reserves of the Company
• The Company’s debtors (or a portion thereof)
• The contracts already entered into by the Company and the WIP of the Company.
• The Company’s client list.

At one stage Manalis was spruiking a close relationship ith the John Winning run Winnings Group. ChannelNews understands that when ChannelNews revealed his past involvement with liquidated Companies they dropped the relationship.

The directors also advised in their report to the administrators that the Company did not hold any motor vehicles.
However, the Company’s externally prepared financial statements as at 30 June 2021 listed seven (7)vehicles belonging to the Company.

This is not the first time that these executives have had fights with administrators over assets and motor vehicles, it happened in 2018 when several other businesses they were involved in were placed into liquidation.

The administrator claims that the directors also advised in their asset statements that the Company did not hold any other assets he claims they did and is now pursuing them.

Work in Progress (“WIP”)
The Company’s Xero file revealed that on the date that the directors dumped assets to their new one, they had $501,611.22 in outstanding WIP, in the form of incomplete contracts.

Gold Coast House finished by EXperienceOne currently being sold by Kollosche Real Estate at Burleigh Heads.

Captivant has took these jobs and the profits that came from them.
The directors benefited from BMR Groups, prior work in tendering for and or securing the contracts.

The administrator sees these gains as breach of the Corporations Act and is looking for payment for the work.
He considers that the above transactions constitute voidable transaction(s) and as such is making a claim for the payment against, Captivant, Manalis, Cousemacker and Webb via the courts.

ChannelNews understands that the figure of $300,000 is being offered to get the “Administrator off their backs” as one insider claimed.

No listing for EXperienceOne with ASIC.

Previously Manalis, Cousemacker and Webb operated Digital Residence Pty Ltd, as well as Brisbane Fireplaces, Digital Residence Livigy and Portl.
All of these businesses were placed into liquidation in 2017.

Regan Webb was also the co-founder and owner of Digital Residence – which was owned and operated by Pure Innovations Pty Ltd, then Digital Residence Pty Ltd, then BMR Group Pty Ltd.

Digital Residence was placed into liquidation with debts of over $800,000.

EXperienceONE was owned and operated by BMR Group Pty Ltd and is now owned by Captivant Pty Ltd (they changed their trading name from Digital Residence to EXperienceONE in Oct 2020.

CEDIA who claims that they act with “integrity”, when recommending a CI trade professional lists EXperienceONE on their global web site for both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

They also claim that their recommendations are “Built on Accountability & Trust”.



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