Published 10 September 2012
Woodhill Black Sand Ltd (David & Joy Steele, Woodhill) won a court order today to enforce possession of the property it bought in a mortgagee sale from barrister Barry Hart.
ANZ National Bank Ltd said in an injunction hearing in May it was owed $30 million, with interest accruing at more than $200,000/month, but the combined capital value of the properties was put at $26 million.
Mr Hart withdrew his second injunction application against the sale of his 965ha at Waimauku in July, and undertook not to lodge further caveats.
However, when Mr Steele, a former deputy mayor of Rodney, went to take possession of the 39ha adjoining his family property that he bought for $800,000, his way was blocked.
In the Auckland High Court this morning, Justice Geoffrey Venning said Mr Steele’s company was originally to have settled its purchase on 25 June, but this was delayed until 9 August because of Mr Hart’s caveats.
The Steele company was now the registered owner but, although the caveats had been lifted by court order, the judge said Mr Hart “moved stock on to the property and asserted a right as to a lease, the same right which this court ordered did not support the caveat”.
Justice Venning said there was no basis for opposition to the sale by Mr Hart, who didn’t appear at today’s hearing, and Mr Steele had also had difficulty serving documents on him.
The judge ordered Mr Hart & agents to immediately vacate the property, immediately remove stock and not to re-enter the property. He also ordered that personal service could be dispensed with and service of the orders could be via Mr Hart’s email address.
Under an earlier ex parte order, Mr Hart was told not to remove certain items, including fixtures such as the water supply system, fences & gates.
Mr Hart’s law chambers on Jervois Rd, Ponsonby, held by a trust company, were sold in a separate Bayleys tender at the end of May and one of his companies, BJ Hart Ltd, was wound up in June on Inland Revenue’s application.
He’s also been found guilty on allegations of professional misconduct for overcharging clients. The Lawyers & Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal hasn’t made its decision on that matter yet but, at the age of 75, he could be struck off the register.
U: The names behind the action, the week to 10 June 2012, part 2, Barrister Barry Hart vacates application to recall BJ Hart liquidation order
U: The names behind the action, the week to 10 June 2012, part 1, Barrister Barry Hart’s BJ Hart wound up, but recall of order sought
1 June 2012: Hart’s Jervois Rd chambers sold
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Attribution: Court hearing, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.