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A dispute over the sale for $750,000 of an estate agency in Wellington led to the court ruling that the buyer should pay just over $500,000.
Associate Justice Dale Lester of the Wellington High Court
ruled in the case brought by trade seller Gareth Robins against buyer Benjamin Edward Cartwright.
Cartwright was ordered to pay Robins $430,000 and interest of $87,000, but said Friday after the ruling was released that the issues were not yet resolved.
The Real Estate Authority lists Robins as being of Mills Gibbon and Co, as First National Collective Johnsonville.
The authority lists Cartwright as a licensee who works for Leaders Real Estate Johnsonville, under the name Ray White Johnsonville.
The ruling did not name the agency firm over which the dispute was over and Cartwright also declined to do so when asked today.
In the court case, Robins sought summary judgment after closing the deal with Cartwright in 2016.
It was agreed that the $750,000 would be paid in monthly installments.
Cartwright paid installments of up to $226,000, albeit intermittently, according to the ruling.
Payments were made until mid-2018 “and [Cartwright] has since made no further payments,” the decision reads.
A balance of $523,000 was outstanding under the agreements, but Cartwright provided no direct explanation to Robins as to why he stopped making payments, according to the ruling.
So Robins demanded the rest of the money via the legal claim in court.
But Cartwright filed a counterclaim alleging breach of contract, asking Robbins to pay him damages. The amounts had to be quantified during the trial.
The couple had agreed to jointly operate the real estate business, with Robin’s involvement gradually waning.
But Cartwright argued in court through his lawyer Costas Matsis that he was “coaxed” into making the deal and that Robins made false statements.
His claim was that due to pre-contract misrepresentations Robins made about the real estate business, it was only worth about $30,000.
Based on this, Cartwright argued that he overpaid for the business by almost $200,000.
Cartwright also complained that Robbins left the business premises shortly after signing the sale agreement.
The company’s only value was the database “which ended up being mostly filled with low-value cold calling leads not exceeding $30,000,” Cartwright argued.
But Robins argued the case was a straightforward case of a monthly payment due under an unpaid business sale and purchase agreement.
There was no dispute over contract terms, no dispute over payments not having been made and Robins said he was therefore entitled to judgment.
When asked to comment on the outcome of the case on Friday, Cartwright asked, “Why is this news? It’s a trade deal. Why would this have anything to do with someone else? “other? We’re still in a legal situation here. The court ruling is only part of it.”
Cartwright declined to name the company he purchased, would not say whether a Court of Appeals case was planned, and objected to being asked about the case. Attempts to reach Robins were unsuccessful.
The judge said a central part of the arguments put forward by Robins’ attorney was that while Cartwright had the concerns he now claims to have — including believing the business was only worth $30,000 — he had no previously raised none of these issues with Robins.
“Accordingly, summary judgment is entered against the defendant for the sum of $430,650 plus interest payable under the settlement of $87,531.58,” the judge said.
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