Corporate recovery specialist Rod Pardington is in a legal stoush over a 17-year-long statutory management.
The chartered accountant, who works for Deloitte, yesterday attempted to get the proceedings thrown out of the High Court at Auckland.
The civil action against Pardington is being brought in chief by Garry and Wendy Crawford, who were involved in the development of the Peninsula Club retirement village in Whangaparaoa.
In 1994, companies the Crawfords directed sold off property in the village but retained "buy-back" rights over 78 of the complex's units.
This obliged the companies to purchase units from departing residents, which could be sold again for a profit.
However, after an alleged "crisis" at the village and concerns that residents' positions were not secured Pardington was appointed as statutory manager, following a recommendation by the Securities Commission.
More than 17 years later, the Crawfords and two other parties have filed proceedings against Pardington claiming he has breached his statutory duties.
The three plaintiffs allege he failed to complete financial accounts and file some tax returns and had not conducted the statutory management in an "orderly" way.
According to court submissions, the plaintiffs are seeking damages "for the losses they have incurred and for the stress, anxiety and loss of enjoyment of life they have suffered".
They also ask for Pardington to "forthwith transfer to the plaintiffs all funds and documents regarding the statutory management" and want him to request his termination as statutory manager.
The court has no jurisdiction to remove or appoint managers such as Pardington from their roles. The only way a statutory manager can be removed from office is by an order from the Minister of Economic Development.
Pardington's lawyer Ralph Simpson said yesterday the relief sought by Crawford and the others was "legally untenable".
The defence applied to have the action struck out and said the plaintiff's claim was weak.
Simpson said Pardington had no private law duty to the plaintiffs in his capacity as statutory manager and, as such, the case was not arguable.
Another one of the defence lawyers, Jesse Wilson, applied for security of costs to ensure the plaintiffs have enough funds to pay the defence's costs if they won.
Justice Judith Potter reserved her decision on both applications.
While the statutory management has gone on for more than 17 years, the court heard yesterday that its end was in sight.
Simpson said yesterday that by October Pardington expected to have unravelled the companies' affairs - including an outstanding GST claim against the companies from Inland Revenue.By Hamish Fletcher @hamishfletcher Email Hamish