Maverick to be blocked from using Dark Horse kit

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EXCLUSIVE: Controversial new Melbourne outfit Maverick Print Group is to be blocked from using much of its print production kit, as Dark Horse creditor Fuji Xerox has a charge over it and will move to stop it being used by any third party, including Maverick.

Print21 understands Fuji Xerox will insist it is auctioned off in a bid to generate some funds for the creditors, of which it is the biggest.

Steve Roberts and Sorcha Hopmans
Steve Roberts and Sorcha Hopmans

Much of the digital and offset printing and finIshing equipment at Maverick allegedly came directly from Dark Horse, in the period between when Maverick was registered, June 19, and Dark Horse put into liquidation, at five minutes before 5pm on July 26.

However the major unsecured creditor at Dark Horse is Fuji Xerox, which is owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and took a charge over much of the Dark Horse equipment as security. This was not just over its own digital colour printers, but also included the unecumbered offset presses, other printing and finishing kit, and much else that is not on a separate current lease.

Maverick is registered to Sorcha Hopmans. She is engaged to the Dark Horse owner Steve Roberts, and is the mother of his children. She was the person who originally registered Dark Horse as a business, back in 2005. She registered the Dark Horse website, and worked for the company until at least April, according to documents seen by Print21.

The Dark Horse Maverick story has caused uproar in the Melbourne print community, with a flurry of condemnation following the story breaking exclusively on Print21. Printers in Melbourne are faced with a new competitor which has none of the debts of Dark Horse.

In addition to printing equipment being blocked from use, Maverick may struggle to get paper supply – with the big three merchants all owed money by Dark Horse, none is likely to supply Maverick.

Paper merchants may also consider their supply to Australian Trade Print (ATP), the company which shared Dark Horse premises and now shares the Maverick premises. Hopmans is a director of ATP. Whoever does supply ATP risks incurring the wrath – and cancellation of orders – of the rest of the Melbourne print community.

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