Gerry and Chris Apostolatos, banned from the poultry industry for a total of 17 years after starving more than a million chickens, were involved in the acquisition of two aged care homes in Melbourne, despite being bankrupt at the time and having no experience.
This news is according to The Sunday Age, which also reports that the Apostolatos brothers used aliases, dummy directors and a family trust to conceal their roles with Chronos Care, which owns aged care facilities in Alphington and Mount Eliza, and has received millions of dollars in Commonwealth funding.
Mr Peter Arvanitis, co-owner of Epping Gardens aged care home where 38 residents died from COVID-19 last year, also provided advice to Chronos Care when it was first established in 2014, according to emails obtained by The Sunday Age.
Timeline of events:
In 2014, the Apostolatos brothers did not appear on any corporate documents related to the purchase of Chronos Care homes in Alphington and Mount Eliza.
They based themselves in offices near Camberwell Junction and appointed Gerry Apostolatos’ step-daughter, Rita Kohu, as the director of a company called Mali Nominees, which was approved by the federal government as an aged care provider.
Despite this, four senior former employees of Chronos Care, who were unable to speak on the record because they had signed confidentiality contracts when leaving the company, told The Sunday Age that the Apostolatos brothers were “pulling all the strings.”
They did this by concealing their real identities with the use of aliases – ‘Andrian Gorman’ for Gerry and ‘Ross Epson’ for Chris – in all internal communication with Chronos Care staff, the company’s laywer and also a NAB business banker.
At the time of purchasing the homes, both men were bankrupt after their company Tip Top Livestock and several other subsidiary companies were placed into liquidation in 2012.
Chris Apostolatos was declared bankrupt in November 2012 with debts of more than $2.46 million and just $600 in the bank. Gerry Apostolatos owed $2.55 million to creditors when he was declared bankrupt in August 2013.
The pair were also facing serious animal cruelty charges and eventually pleaded guilty in March 2015 – about five months after they purchased the Mount Eliza aged care home known as Ranelagh.
Gerry Apostolatos admitted in the Melbourne Magistrates Court that he was responsible for the deaths of more than 86,000 chickens at six commercial farms, and was banned from the poultry industry for 10 years.
Chris Apostolatos was found to have caused the deaths of more than 63,000 chickens, which had starved at three of their farms, and was disqualified from the industry for seven years.
According to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act, a person is prohibited from being an approved provider if they have been convicted of an indictable offence or insolvent.
Gerry Apostolatos recently stepped out of the shadows and became a director of Mali Nominees and another company called Mt Eliza Aged Care Pty Ltd in 2019.
According to The Sunday Age, Chris Apostolatos and Chronos Care did not respond to requests for comment. Gerry Apostolatos initially denied any involvement with Chronos Care, before claiming he was a consultant. He then hung up.
Source: The Sunday Age.