It pays to be a crooked developer in Melbourne

By Leith van Onselen

In September 2016, Developers Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski illegally demolished the two-story 1859 Corkman Irish Hotel in inner-city Carlton. The building was under heritage protection, and yet these cowboy developers bulldozed the hotel under the cover of darkness without planning permission.

Last year, the same developers pleaded guilty to dumping asbestos from the illegally demolished historic pub near homes and a childcare centre, and were each fined $120,000:

In sentencing, magistrate Richard Pithouse told the Sunshine Magistrate Court the men’s “cavalier disregard for the law” meant they should go to jail, but the legislation did not allow it…

“If jail were available, I would impose imprisonment for such a blatant breach.”

Despite these crimes, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski are still likely to make a healthy profit from developing the Corkman Irish Hotel site into high-rise apartments. From The Age:

The developers, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski, have pulled off the deal of the century with the Andrews government and the City of Melbourne. This deal will allow the partners to develop the former site of the Corkman to the height of 40 metres, or 12 storeys. Despite the significant fines these men have received, almost $2 million, they are still likely to make substantial profits when construction is concluded on such a sought-after location; so close to the University of Melbourne, the CBD, and public transport…

The developers took a punt on the weakness of the system and those who lead it. It seems their punt may have paid off, handsomely.

It sure does pay to be a crooked developer in corrupt Australia.

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Leith van Onselen
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    • please, MB is barely seeing the tip of the iceberg. Said developers will probably take structural shortcuts that make your kids lego model look like opal tower. Add to boot flammable cladding is also on discount I hear.

      • Its all good that is why the government is there… to find buyers by the planeload or boatload, arrrggh!

        Seriously I thought dumping asbestos was a crime? Maybe if the government were not so busy implementing laws to protect their own & their mates crimes from whistle blowers and dodgy behavior they would have had time to deal with asbestos dumping.

        Should have asked BlackBeard to dump at sea, arrgh!

  1. HadronCollisionMEMBER

    how were they not stripped of the rights/porofits as proceeds of crime?

  2. Macedonian and Albanian as partners.. I think Salim Mehajer would be perfect fit form consortium to bid on larger projects along eastern seaboard.

  3. It makes me sick that you can destroy our history like this and face nothing serious. As the Judge said they should have been sent to jail, but also forced to pay to have the thing replicated and restored to it’s original glory.

    I will never understand people’s ability to simply destroy old items of historical significance without a second thought. I was lucky enough to see Palmyra in Syria before it was destroyed by ISIS. It makes me sick to my stomach that it was destroyed after being there for centuries.

    Likewise with the Castle Krak des Chevaliers what an amazing part of history.

    • StephenMEMBER

      They should at least have had to forfeit the property. It’s insane that they keep it and are actually allowed to build on it!

      • Im gobsmacked why these kinds of fines dont track land/house prices or inflation, I bet they even get to claim the fine as a tax deduction of doing business.

      • I’ve never been there, but my sister has. I can’t stand the destruction of history. Some things can never be truly replaced. They hold more value than the sum of their parts.

      • What a perfect axiom for modern Australia – The Great Replacement.

        Not so great if you ask the citizens. A silent and cunning genocide of a nation.

  4. When crime and corruption becomes a logical part of a business model (because any potential sanction is easily outweighed by the likely benefits), regulators/legislators must act retrospectively.

    Throw these pricks in jail, liquidate their entire estates. We’d quickly see that contempt of our legal frameworks vanish overnight.

  5. Why would you buy into their development if this is how they do business. If they have no respect for anything do you think their building workmanship will be of and quality. They will use the cheapest nasty bits in their development which probably make Opal Tower look good. People who buy the units will deserve their fate.

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      Do you think that will put off the Chinese and Indian buyers? You’re in fantasy land, no one cares when they want to get into the market or miss out forever…

      • Ha, yes you prob are right there john holmes’s bowling coach….they wont care until the place starts falling apart….

      • THIS!
        The location is across the road from the University of Melbourne Law School building and a few hundred meters from the main University campus and the new underground train station that is being built on Grattan St adjacent to the Uni.
        I’m guessing that the building will be student accommodation. International students will only live there for 3-5 years (at most) at a time and will tolerate sub standard quality and sub 30m
        It will sell alright.

    • Such beautiful architecture….so nice to see these developers who employ architects with so much vision…

  6. It pays even more to be big developer because indirect bribes make sure none of these issues ever arise while you get by far the largest profit of any construction business anywhere in the world including those run by official mafia.
    In 2017 Meriton had net profit margin of 50% (yes you read it corectly five zero percent). MIRVAC had 34%
    At the peak of USA bubble large developers had 15% at most.
    This means that units in Sydney are expensive not because it cost alot to buy land, get approval or build them but because 60% to 70% of the price you pay is Harry’s profit. A million dollar unit could cost 400k while giving Harry healthy 15% profit

    • And that, my friend, is why the housing bust has further to run.
      Meanwhile countless historic homes are being left to carefully planned ruin because the opportunity cost of the heritage listings literally go into the millions of dollars. this is one – chinese guy bought it for $5.8M for redevelpoment then got told it was heritage after the neighbours whinged – fat chance in **** of that heritage being respected

    • Thanks to the Liberals you can still negatively gear existing property though.. 😀 So technically you can.

  7. John Howards Bowling Coach

    The problem with having an open door immigration policy and a massive percentage of the population with no national identity, is that not enough people take issue with this. In a more cohesive society some people would be so pissed off about destruction of our heritage that these 2 would have been fitted with cement gumboots. It seems those days are gone, not necessarily for the better of the nation.

  8. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Meh. Just doing their bit to make profits. The building was old anyway.

    • Bankruptcy is a genuine scenario. Leaving emotions aside, a business is a legal entity with commercial arrangements, removed from its officers (i.e. directors, employees etc). If the arrangements prove to be uneconomical, expenses outstrip revenue, liabilities exceed assets, then that business/arrangements are bankrupt. Time to move on and create a new entity.

  9. Precedent for the sums required to make profits from illegal demolition…

    These guys knew what they were doing; this was calculated.

    They need to lose the property and face criminal charges.

    Change the laws.

  10. gballardMEMBER

    Its just regarded as a cost of doing business – they couldn’t give a FCUK. After all where they come from it is par for the course to destroy buildings. They should have been forced to rebuild and if in the process it bankrupted them so what?!