Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Bankrupt put up in Remuera home by employer

Bankrupt property developer Jamie Peters is fighting to be discharged. Photo / Chris Gorman
Bankrupt property developer Jamie Peters is fighting to be discharged. Photo / Chris Gorman

Jamie Peters was put up in a $1200-a-week Remuera house by a company that almost a year earlier had cancelled the bankrupt property developer's formal employment agreement, a court has heard.

Peters, a former rich-lister who was bankrupted in October 2009, is having his financial affairs probed in the High Court at Auckland. The proceedings, known as a public examination, are part of the Official Assignee opposing Peters' release from bankruptcy. While the OA is pushing for Peters to stay bankrupt for another three years, he is applying to be discharged.

Peters' associate Michael Webb-Speight has provided affidavit evidence to the High Court and was cross-examined by OA lawyer Kathleen Kuang this morning.

Kuang quizzed Webb-Speight on a property management company called Consent Management (or CMLP) which employed Peters between February 2011 and August 2011.

According to his contract, Peters would receive $100,000 a year for working at CMLP.

However this employment agreement was cancelled months later because of an issue with the Real Estate Act, the witness said.

Peters then started working for another company called MHL Ltd, but under this contract he was only receiving an advance of $24,000 a year. Under the agreement, Peters was then entitled to a bonus from MHL of $4000 for every property was sold from residential development, believed to be in Warkworth.

Webb-Speight was a director of MHL until earlier this year and is associated with CMLP.

In 2010, before Peters had a formal employment agreement with CMLP, he had signed off an email saying he was an advisor to the company.

Kuang took the witness to some documents which showed CMLP transferred $16,000 in 2010 to Rebecca Burton, who is Peters' wife.

Kuang asked if it was remuneration for Peters services but Webb-Speight said it was a personal loan from him so Burton could pay a credit card bill.

It also revealed this morning that CMLP had paid $1200 a week rent on a Remuera home Peters lived between July 2012 and April of this year.

During this morning's exchange with Kuang, Webb-Speight also said Peters was still employed by CMLP but there was no formal or written agreement between the parties.

As part of this, Peters was receiving about $6000-net a month, Webb-Speight said.

Kuang said this employment wasn't disclosed in a letter Webb-Speight wrote to the OA last year and the witness could not confirm when the $6000 payments began.

The OA lawyer put it to Webb-Speight that the employment agreements did not reflect the nature of what as actually going on.

"You and Mr Peters are simply in business together" Kuang said.

"He works for me," the witness responded.

Kuang said Peters went from earning a $100,000 salary at CMLP to "almost nothing" at MHL and then was "back to being employed by CMLP again".

The court heard during the first part of Peters' examination last month that he was now living for part of the week in an apartment in Princes Wharf that was paid for by MHL.

- NZ Herald

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