SMH read more
MKR's Adam Anderson is a bankrupt who has left a string of creditors more than $200,000 out-of-pocket - and could have his winnings from the show seized by authorities.
Fairfax Media has obtained documents showing Anderson - who is being chased by his ex-wife, Cindy, for unpaid child support of $36,000 - became bankrupt in February, 2014.
Two months later, auditions for My Kitchen Rules opened. Anderson and his new wife, Carol Molloy, were accepted, and are now competing for the grand prize of $250,000.
Among Anderson's 15 creditors are several banks and money lenders, the tax office, a private girls school and a sports club.
Fairfax Media has been told the 45-year-old tennis coach worked at the Neutral Bay Club for several years. Around one year ago, he allegedly left owing $17,500, much of it in unpaid rent.
Fairfax Media understands Anderson ran his own coaching business from a shed on the premises. It is also believed he leased one court on a near-permanent basis, and used other courts occasionally.
Club Manager, Sam Knox, a manager at the 133-year-old community institution saidIt hurt us like buggery because we're a little club
It was the difference between profit and loss for us last year.
He fell into arrears some time ago, then began making irregular payments. Concerned by his growing debts, the board is believed to have refused his request to renew his lease. Instead, they allowed him to continue on a month-by-month basis.
Because Anderson is bankrupt, his unsecured creditors have been ordered to cease their recovery actions.
It is now the job of Anderson's trustee to determine when - or if - any of the 15 creditors will get any money from the estate. As of May 2014, none was expected to receive a dividend, according to a report from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA).
But these creditors have probably become keen viewers of MKR.
As the AFSA website makes clear, a bankrupt must relinquish any "lottery winnings" or "competition prizes" to the trustee which may then opt to distribute some of this money to creditors.
It is also possible that a portion of the money Anderson gets from MKR's producers - around $1000 a week, according to one former contestant - may be seized by the trustee. Less than three months after Anderson became bankrupt, the trustee lodged an objection on the grounds he "failed to provide information about property [or] income". This objection was successful, causing Anderson's bankruptcy to be extended by five years to 2022.
Anderson's lawyer, Brendan Manning, said he does not know the reason for this objection, but that it was not prompted by Anderson transferring his property - a four-bedroom home in Sydney - to Cindy in 2012.
Among the assets Anderson declared are a Mazda hatchback and a Honda people mover.
Most media outlets spell Anderson's surname as "Andersen", but Manning alleges this is a mistake by Channel Seven.
It is standard practice for reality shows to conduct background checks on potential contestants. It is not clear if Seven knew of Anderson's bankruptcy or child support debts before casting him on its flagship program. Nor is it known if Seven's alleged misspelling hampered its checking process. Seven has been approached for comment.
It also unclear if the trustee has made any payments to the creditors since last year.
Anderson has been in the headlines since Cindy told A Current Affair he owes her $36,000 in child support.
Manning said: "Yes he does, and he has to continue paying that."
Australian law states that bankrupts are not exempt from paying child support.
Controversially, she also asserted that her ex-husband has two personal ties with MKR judge Pete Evans.
She claimed Anderson worked at Evans' former restaurant, Hugo's in Kings Cross, and "openly told the children he coaches Pete Evans … it's such a conflict of interest".
A Seven spokesperson flatly denied Evans took lessons from Anderson, saying: "They met for the first time on the program."
While Pete Evans gave up his role as a "working partner" of the Hugo's Group in 2012, his brother Dave is still a co-owner. Sources close to the business say Anderson's name does not appear in their employment records. They acknowledge that if Anderson was employed through an external company, such as a security agency, they would not have these records. But they say no one at the restaurant recalls him working there and believe this claim to be untrue. They also maintain that neither Pete nor Dave received any tennis coaching from Anderson.
Manning said: "The answer to all those questions [about Anderson's alleged pre-existing relationship with Pete] is no. No, no, no, no, no."
Manning said that while the breakdown of Anderson's marriage to Cindy was acrimonious, he is working hard to get back on his feet and support his children.
"We're not talking Kerry Packer or John Singleton; we're talking a one-man-band tennis coach," he said. "At the time he declared bankruptcy, he was paying … child support to [his ex-wife], he was then trying to run his business, pay his rent and all the rest of it. There just simply wasn't enough money. And then there was the downturn in tennis coaching.
"At the end of the day, he couldn't pay it. There is no hidden bank account. It's just not like that." "Adam - when he was paying all this money - was working seven days a week … running around, teaching tennis. Running up and down, in the blazing sun, the whole box and dice, to pay this."
When asked to respond to suggestions that Anderson was working undeclared cash jobs, Manning said: "Let me tell you what happens in the Mosman eastern suburbs tennis world. All those mums pay with credit cards because their husbands have all the money … everything is on credit card. Everything goes through the bank."
It is believed Cindy is contracted to Channel Nine.