Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Former Councillor Failed to Act on Lingering $80,000 Debt; Jamie Mackenzie Was Stood Down from Public Office a Week after He Was Declared Bankrupt. Two Days Later, He Was Found Dead. Reporter Tara Miko Investigates His Lingering Bankruptcy Case

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Former Councillor Failed to Act on Lingering $80,000 Debt; Jamie Mackenzie Was Stood Down from Public Office a Week after He Was Declared Bankrupt. Two Days Later, He Was Found Dead. Reporter Tara Miko Investigates His Lingering Bankruptcy Case

Article excerpt

MUCH-RESPECTED JAMIE Mackenzie, who died in February, had months to settle an $80,000 debt that would eventually send him bankrupt, but he mysteriously failed to act.

The former Southern Downs councillor was declared bankrupt on February 2, dismissed from council on February 9, and was found dead on February 11 of an apparent suicide on his generational property at Killarney.

Anger at the passionate advocate's death has lingered throughout the community, and some residents want questions answered. Records publicly available through the court system start to do that.

The at-times outspoken councillor, who was first elected to council in April 2012, was farewelled by close friends and family at an intimate service earlier this week.

Those closest to him have closed ranks and kept their mourning private, in line with a note believed to have carried Mr Mackenzie's final wishes at the time of his death.

No death or funeral notice was ever published on his passing but a woman close to Mr Mackenzie said her final farewells on Monday.

"I would like to sincerely thank everyone for your support, messages and prayers that will help me to treasure the memories, keep my strong Christian faith and face the future with energy and commitment," she wrote on social media.

Court documents obtained by The Chronicle reveal the extent of Mr Mackenzie's financial woes, including the $80,000 he owed and his apparent failure to do anything about it.

A judgment was made against Mr Mackenzie in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on April 1, 2015, that ordered him to pay $79,833.59 plus interest to Sydney-based Complete Credit Acquisitions.

CCA is a debt purchasing firm that specialises in buying debt from businesses or corporations and recovering those funds through various means, including legal proceedings.

Who held the original debt, and what it represented, has not yet been uncovered.

The Australian Collectors and Debt Buyers Association defines a debt purchaser as a firm that buys "the outstanding receivables from the creditor which means the creditor ceases to have any association with the monies owed".

CCA refused to state who they bought the debt off or what it was originally for.

CCA's lawyers, Moisson Lawyers, wrote to Mr Mackenzie on June 22 detailing where the funds could be paid which, by that stage, had totalled $80,956.73.

Records show Mr Mackenzie was served those documents at 4.20pm on July 22, 2015, at his Ivy St home in Killarney.

He was given 21 days to act on the notice, either through making arrangements to settle the debt or arranging to pay it off. Any arrangement must be accepted by the creditor - in this case, CCA - which has the right to reject any arrangement other than immediate payment in full.

The process is strictly private and confidential and it is unclear if Mr Mackenzie made any moves to settle the debt, which could be considered unusual for a man who had a career as a quantity surveyor, and a family farm. …

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