Friday 9th December 2011 1 Comment
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Chow Group, the Wellington-based property developer better known for their sex industry empire, have copped Clearwater Construction’s legal bill in a stoush over an unpaid bill.
Judge Stephen Kos granted engineering company Clearwater’s claim for $23,000 in costs and some $3,300 in disbursements in the High Court in Wellington, according to a Dec. 2 judgement published on the Justice Ministry’s website this week.
Counsel for Chow Group Justin Toebes was pushing for $14,850 in costs and contested about $2,000 in travel disbursements.
In October, Chow Group agreed to pay an $875,000 unpaid bill to stave of liquidation after failing to convince the judge Clearwater should bear the credit risk of a negligence claim against the engineering firm’s work on the now-demolished Palace Hotel in Auckland.
“The fact that Chow contended it was solvent did not entitle it to refuse to pay an indisputable debt, simply because it did not wish to,” the judgement said. “Chow has to bear Clearwater’s credit risk against the prospect of a favourable judgement in the negligence proceedings some time down the track.”
Judge Kos said the costs claim was within 15 percent of his $20,250 scale calculation and was a “reasonable charge,” granting the order accordingly.
On the travel disbursements, “Clearwater was compelled to sue for liquidation in the Wellington High Court because of Chow’s principal place of business is there” and it was appropriate for counsel to attend all of the meetings, the judgement said.
In September, Chow Group unsuccessfully sought to throw out the building dispute adjudication that led to the liquidation proceeding. They had refused to pay the fifth instalment to Clearwater for work on Auckland’s Palace Hotel.
The building was torn down by order of the Auckland Council in November when it began to collapse during work to construct a high-rise brothel opposite SkyCity Casino.
Chow Group escaped prosecution when a city council report found there wasn't sufficient evidence to find the specific cause of the building's failure.
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