Disgraced businessman Rodney Adler is at the centre of a shareholder revolt at a Queensland animal food producer. A former employee and a collection of disgruntled shareholders are furious at Adler, with the banned former FAI boss allegedly acting as a shadow director of the company as it slides deep into debt.
Shareholders claim the former One.Tel, FAI and HIH director orchestrated the takeover of Almighty Fodder Ltd, a Queensland company described on their website as “supplying feed for a range of animals including cattle, dairy herds, camels, zebras, gazelles, llamas, poultry, sheep and pigs.”
The upheaval comes as Almighty Fodder’s former chief operating officer Leanne Sutherland was this week awarded $188,000 in unpaid salary in the Southport District Court.
Mr Adler was subpoenaed to appear in the Queensland court, but did not appear.
Shareholder Gavan Farley, who is also a director of stock-broker, Empire Resources, claimed that Almighty Fodder appeared to have ceased trading while its technology and real assets were transferred to another entity, Dynamic Fodder, after Adler assumed control of Almighty in 2008.
Almighty Fodder shareholder Zali Burrows told Crikey that she has initiated a complaint with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, alleging that Almighty Fodder shareholders have never seen the shares in Dynamic Fodder Ltd they were promised by Adler.
Mr Adler declined to comment when contacted by Crikey.
Former Almighty Fodder managing director, Kevin Murphy, told Crikey that Almighty had developed a system for growing enhanced animal fodder in any weather conditions.
“We developed a system for growing animal fodder in a shipping container — a 40-foot shipping container, in controlled conditions,” he said.
“You take the barley seed, and in six days, you get wheatgrass. So, one tonne of seed becomes eight tonnes of animal fodder.”
Murphy claimed that Almighty Fodder’s product was met with great interest at a trade show in Dubai in April 2008, but needed investors to get the fodder-growing technology into production.
“A friend put me on to Rodney Adler, who invested $300,000 for 60% of the company,” he said.
Murphy says Almighty Fodder Ltd has been racking up a string of debts since Adler obtained control.
He said he personally received phone calls from several unpaid creditors, and resigned from the company in January 2009 following several heated discussions with the new management, and “a few differences of opinion as to how things should be done.”
Crikey spoke to one supplier who preferred to remain anonymous, noting that the issue is currently with debt collectors.
Crikey can confirm that Adler worked as a consultant with Almighty Fodder in December, 2008, shortly after the takeover, although Farley alleges Adler’s involvement in the animal feed company goes much further than that.
“I hate the way Adler pretends he’s got nothing to do with it,” he said. “He’s the guy who [engineered] the original deal.”
A company search revealed that Nigel Purves, Maurice Manasseh and Gary Lissa are listed as directors of both Almighty Fodder and Dynamic Fodder.
Dynamic Fodder CEO, Nigel Purves, was unavailable for comment when contacted by Crikey.