PITY the lot of bankrupt billionaire Nathan Tinkler, living in paradise.
When the counting was completed in 2016 after he was officially declared bankrupt, Mr Tinkler’s debts came in at more than $540 million.
His wealth was harder to determine, but assets in his name at the end of last year did not realise more than $1 million.
Yet just six years earlier his wealth was estimated at $1.13 billion by BRW magazine, making him Australia’s youngest billionaire.
There was the private jet, helicopters, a fleet of luxury cars, thoroughbred horse studs, mansions and two sports teams - Newcastle’s Knights and Jets.
Mr Tinkler was an ultimate rags-to-riches tale, and exemplified for many, the possibility that a working-class bloke could make it big.
When it all collapsed along with coal prices, Mr Tinkler left behind a business structure notable for its chaos - and for its heavy reliance on debt.
It now seems that his debt woes could be working in favour as he continues to live rent-free in a sprawling $13.5 million oceanfront compound at Sapphire Beach, north of Coffs Harbour, with his partner and two young children.
Mortgage documents for the private beachside compound, owned by Mr Tinkler’s company Noorinya Holdings, reveal a $606 million mortgage in 2012 to a range of lenders including Credit Suisse as mortgage trustee.
The global financial firm is among a group of lenders reportedly still owed more than $420 million by Mr Tinkler.
Bankruptcy trustee, John Melluish from Ferrier Hodgson, previously told the media he was unable to seize Mr Tinkler’s property portfolio and use it to repay creditors, as it was company owned.
Mr Tinkler is the sole shareholder of Noorinya Holdings.
When asked earlier this month about how Mr Tinkler was able to continue living at Noorinya, Ferrier Hodgson partner Robyn Duggan said the bankruptcy trustee had explained the situation to creditors and declined to comment publicly.
Finance sector insiders have speculated that the lenders were reluctant to “call in” the debt on the property because it was “too large”.
Over the past two years Mr Tinkler has put several settlement offers to creditors to have his bankruptcy revoked.
The latest offer, of $1million, was refused in December.
It equated to offering less than 0.2 cents in the dollar to settle his $553.8 million debt to creditors.
Mr Tinkler could now lose the last substantial asset in his name, a rural property at Ross Glen, near Port Macquarie, worth about $665,000.
Ms Duggan said the trustee received the title deeds for the Ross Glen property late last year and was in the process of having it valued.
“At this stage we’re moving forward to take steps to put the property on the market,” she said.
“Some funds might be used to fund further investigations as the bankruptcy trustee is without any funds at this stage.”
The fallen mining magnate smashed the mid north coast record in 2008 when he purchased Noorinya for $11.5 million from Microsoft pioneer Jaybe Ammons and his wife Shelley who spent about $2.8 million amalgamating the site a decade earlier.
Feng shui experts were reportedly consulted and the property includes pagoda-style annexes, a lap pool, access to a secluded beach and 1.8 hectares of private headland.
In 2011 the local council approved renovations at the Coachmans Close address valued at $1.8 million.
Mr Tinkler previously told the Federal Court his secretary, turned partner, Jodie Van Gilst was paying his living expenses. “From time to time my fiancee provides me with cash to pay for these expenses,” he said.
In a report to creditors in December 2016, the bankruptcy trustee said Mr Tinkler “has not made any contributions to his estate to date”.
Late last year, Mr Tinkler was charged with allegedly smashing a stained-glass window at his sister's house. Police allege the 41-year-old went to the home of his sister Donna Dennis and her husband Lindsay, in Kendall, on the NSW mid north coast, on December 28, and smashed the window. Mr Dennis has also applied for an apprehended domestic violence order against Mr Tinkler.
Mrs Dennis, declared bankrupt in July, signed on as a director of several companies linked to her brother when his business empire started to collapse in 2014.
In May, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission banned Mr Tinkler and Mrs Dennis from managing companies for several years.