CBD Sydney Morning Herald Business Day June 20 3013
It involved legal shootouts, media cannonfire and plenty of hurt feelings, but one of the wild west's most colourful sagas looks close to an end after KordaMentha flogged off Luke Saraceni's Raine Square development in the Perth CBD.
KordaMentha was acting on behalf of the lenders, Bank of Scotland International and BankWest - the latter being awkwardly situated as both financier and anchor tenant of the mixed-use development.
While often spoken of as a $500 million development, the listed property group Charter Hall paid $458 million for the building on Wednesday. BankWest appointed KordaMentha as receivers of Saraceni's development group Westgem in 2011 after it missed a $50 million payment, sparking a bonanza for m'learned friends.
In one case, Saraceni alleged that KordaMentha had not been validly appointed. In another, he claimed $200 million in damages from BankWest's owner, CBA, claiming the bank deliberately tried to seize control of the building. He also challenged the validity of a bid by the corporate watchdog to grill him under oath and sued two KordaMentha partners, Scott Langdon and celebrity accountant Mark Mentha, for defamation. Despite the sale, the western serial looks set to continue in the courts.
While Saraceni lost the validity-of-appointment case and the ASIC case, the claim for damages and the defamation case continue - as does a case in which BankWest alleges misleading and deceptive conduct over $7 million raised from investors.
A new record?
Nigel Austin, the founder of clothing chain Cotton On, has emerged as the buyer of a pricey mansion once owned by former bankrupt John Elliott. Austin slapped a caveat over the property on Friday protecting his rights as purchaser. There is some dispute about how much the rag trader paid former JP Morgan Australia chairman Brian Watson for the lavish estate in exclusive Toorak.
Some sources claim it set a new M-Town record of $25 million, busting through the $24 million mark set by property developer Harry Stamoulis in 2010. But others claim it fetched closer to $21 million, a figure both more plausible and far shy of the $26 million for which agents Kay and Burton had hoped.
On a ginormous block, the Towers Road spread features all the mansion essentials, including a pool, tennis court, four-car garage, gym, walk-in cellar, six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a partridge in a pear tree.
Big mansions are becoming an Austin trademark: last year he was revealed to be building a vast pile on a $10 million Hamilton Island block of land, next door to the late Beatle George Harrison's holiday house.
Footy frenzy has engulfed the property world, with the 2012 AFL premiers, the Sydney Swans, appointing as chairman long-time fan and director Andrew Pridham.
Pridham, known as Mr Property, and is the chief executive of Moelis & Co, will replace another property director, Richard Colless, when he steps down in February 2014.
And there's more to come, with the Ray White EJ Whitten Legends Game looming next month.
For the 10th year in a row Ray White - the largest property group in Australasia - will sponsor the showdown. It pits recently (and not so recently) retired AFL types against each other in a battle of the states. Last year's line-up included Anthony ''Kouta'' Koutoufides, Wayne Carey, Matthew Lloyd, Anthony Rocca, 2005 Swans premiership player Tadhg Kennelly, Mal Michael and man of the match Brendan Fevola. Fev's nine-goal haul handed the Vics back-to-back wins in front of a record crowd (for the event) of 26,221 fans.