Despite some 11th-hour offers of financial assistance, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras went into voluntary administration on Friday morning.
The move effectively suspends the organisation, while administrator Simon Pascoe from Sims Lockwood oversees the restructuring of Mardi Gras over the next four weeks.
Mardi Gras president Julie Regan announced the appointment of Pascoe before a media scrum at Mardi Gras’ Erskineville headquarters this morning, at one point fighting back tears as she explained the difficulty faced by the board in deciding on voluntary administration.
This has been an incredibly hard time. We’ve had a very fantastic, dedicated team and board who have been working hard to achieve a better outcome than this -¦ this is a personal blow to all of us -¦ very hard, an emotional Regan told the media.
According to Regan, a number of potential financiers approached Mardi Gras yesterday to offer assistance to the ailing organisation.
Unfortunately, because of the short amount of time [the potential lenders] couldn’t undertake due diligence and we were at a point late last night where we had to decide that this could not go any further.
However, the Mardi Gras president expressed optimism that today’s decision would not signal the end of Mardi Gras.
Regan’s optimism was matched by Pascoe, who reinforced the importance of further financial assistance in order to save the organisation.
It is obviously a very serious situation for an organisation to get to this point, but I have seen organisations in more trouble than Mardi Gras and I’m sure they have a strong chance of getting through this, Pascoe said.
We are confident that it will be possible to come up with a new financial package that will enable the company to recover from its current financial difficulties, fellow auditor Alan Topp said.
Paramount in the minds of both the Mardi Gras board and administrators on Friday was the development of a finance package that would ensure that October’s Sleaze Ball goes ahead.
Revenue generated from the event will play a crucial role in the potential financial salvation of Mardi Gras.
While Pride was tipped to take over Sleaze Ball this year, co-presidents Lou-Ann Lind and Chris Maynard on Thursday announced that Pride would not be producing the party for Mardi Gras.
Agreeing to produce this event would have meant exposing Pride to enormous risk and financial liability, their release stated.
Despite the bad news, Topp said that arrangements were now being made to ensure that Sleaze Ball goes ahead this year as planned.
Regan said that the suspension of all Mardi Gras activities during this month’s administration process means all Mardi Gras members who have already purchased Sleaze tickets will effectively become creditors to the organisation.
In another blow to Mardi Gras before Friday’s announcement of voluntary administration, Pride announced on Thursday that it had withdrawn its support as a guarantor for $50,000 of Mardi Gras’ $250,000 bank overdraft.
Pride cited concerns that they could not be guaranteed Mardi Gras would not use the funds to simply pay out past debt as reason for withdrawing their support.