Who's in charge? Not I, say Multinet directors

Internet solutions company Multinet, which unexpectedly shut down its Web site hosting service last month, appears to be running with nobody in charge. Both managing director Aaron Anderson and executive director Daniel Lee have deserted the company, although a receptionist was continuing to answer the phone.

Internet solutions company Multinet, which unexpectedly shut down its Web site hosting service last month, appears to be running with nobody in charge.

Both managing director Aaron Anderson and executive director Daniel Lee have deserted the company, although a receptionist was continuing to answer the phone and the Web site was up as this story went to press.

The receptionist told Computerworld that Anderson had left the company and that it had been taken over by Lee. However, when Computerworld spoke to Lee he said he had left Multinet to join Hamilton ISP the Lloyd Group several weeks ago and didn't know who was running the company now. He said the receptionist was using an out-of-date staff list.

Lee says it is possible that Multinet will close soon but he would not disclose whether the company was in financial strife, saying that only Anderson could answer such questions. Anderson was unable to be contacted. Lee says he sent emails to Multinet's customers telling them that the hosting service would be closing, although he says he was under no obligation because he has already left the company. He says he has acted professionally and feels he is being unfairly lumbered with the blame for "the Web hosting mess" which had nothing to do with him.

He says most of the customers have transferred "quite happily" to the ISP for which he is now working — the Lloyd Group — and says customers who were not up to date with payments or those with out-of-date contact details had not been. Lee says the Lloyd Group will honour any contracts which have been paid 12 months in advance.

Lloyd Group managing director Lloyd Gallagher told Computerworld that his company is now hosting about half of the former Multinet clients, 63 in all. He said Lloyd Group took Multinet's client database about a month ago as payment for an outstanding debt (for the supply of the MYOB accounting package and training) and then started approaching the customers about switching. He says customers were under no obligation to do so.

Meanwhile, Computerworld has been contacted by several customers not with the Lloyd Group who are not happy with the situation and who've applied to the small claims court for breach of contract — specifically, not giving 30 days' notice, not delivering 12 months' service and not giving compensation for shutting down the service.

Multinet, formed in 1995, announced plans earlier this year for rolling out ADSL in New Zealand. Lee says all such plans have been scrapped.

Multinet also runs NZSearch Engine and Safe Shopping. Lee says both will probably continue although they do not have any paying customers.

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