Property Observer | 24 January 2013

Rod Lambert's $17.5 million Gold Coast claim and other courtroom conflicts to await in 2013

Rod Lambert's $17.5 million Gold Coast claim and other courtroom conflicts to await in 2013

Given the large sums of money involved and often, the larger-than-life personalities, it is no surprise that every year the property market throws up a number of high-profile real estate disputes that end up in court. It's almost the Australian way to have a good property stoush.

Last year and indeed this year are no exceptions, with a number of residential and commercial disagreements set to unfold as courtroom dramas.

For starters, Property Observer presumes TMZ, Perez Hilton and the whole Hollywood celebrity-following roadshow could be on Macquarie Street mid-year when actress Toni Collette and her musician husband, David Galafassi, head to the courtroom in May over a property matter, while Rod Lambert's $17.5 million claim against former Ray White estate agent Michael Kollosche on the Gold Coast will be closely followed especially by those who think Hedges Avenue should be the next smash reality series on television.

Property Observer has assembled some serious court cases that you might have missed last year, or that you will be watching unfold in 2013. Ofcourse everyone is innocent until the judge's gavel comes down whichever way, and the Australian approach is often one of forgiveness, or allowable redemption, although some of us never forget.

Rod Lambert sues ex-Ray White Estate agent Michael Kollosche and other parties for $17.5 million

Mermaid Beach property scam whistle blower and Gold Coast estate agent Rod Lambert has launched a $17.5 million lawsuit in the Queensland Supreme Court against former Ray White estate agent Michael Kollosche, solicitor Damien Ingwersen and his firm, and Galacoast, the company that previously operated Ray White Broadbeach. Lambert’s claim includes negligence, breach of contract, negligent misstatement and fraud. The case involves the sale of a prime development site on Albatross Avenue at Mermaid Beach to Lambert and his wife in 2007 for $10.6 million. Lambert claims he was caught up in conspiracy, where he agreed to buy the property from since-jailed businessman Mario Girardo for $10.6 million based on a valuations he claims relied on “sham” documents and sales contracts. The Lamberts subsequently developed the site into luxury villas but lost millions, including their own home. Kollosche and the others have strongly denied all allegations.

GPT face class action over 2008 earnings downgrade

A class action is due to begin on March 4 this year against listed commercial property group GPT in relation to a 27% downgrade of its forecast earnings for the 2008 calendar year. Slater & Gordon are representing Melbourne-based Modtech Engineering, which alleges that GPT engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and breaches of continuous disclosure obligations in relation to and following the release of its 2007 full-year statutory accounts. The class action against GPT was filed in the Victoria District Registry of the Federal Court of Australia in December 2011, with GPT filing its defence in February last year. Registrations for the class action have closed.

Toni Collette and David Galafassi face $850,000+ claim over Paddington terrace settlement failure

A three-day court hearing has been scheduled for May 2013 when the actor Toni Collette and her musician husband, David Galafassi, are due in court to face a lawsuit relating to their failure to settle on an alleged $6.35 million Paddington terrace purchase. The May 13 to May 15 hearing date is scheduled in the NSW Supreme Court equity division. In October 2011 the couple reputedly signed a contract to buy a double-fronted Paddington terrace from Susie Kelly, the co-founder and owner of Industrie clothing with her husband, Nick. The Paddington terrace has since been resold for $5.5 million, so the entertainment industry couple face an $850,000-plus claim against them for the difference.


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