Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Trust seeks hold on sale assets

Cornwall Park. Photo / Richard Robinson
Cornwall Park. Photo / Richard Robinson

The Cornwall Park Trust board, which owns a slew of Greenlane and One Tree Hill properties, wants to freeze the assets of a woman it is suing after she abandoned her house.

Queen's Counsel Matt Casey, for the board, told Justice Kit Toogood yesterday in the High Court at Auckland how it feared Yong Xin Chen was selling assets, which could defeat action against her due to be heard in May.

An earlier hearing before Associate Judge John Faire was told that in 2005, Chen bought 21 Maungakiekie Ave on leasehold board land, paying only $8300 a year. But that shot to $73,750 after her 21-year lease came up for renewal and the ground rent reflected the new valuation.

Chen left and the board now wants $348,284 in unpaid leasehold fees, renovation costs and expenses.

Yesterday, Jenny Wickes for Chen opposed an extension of freezing orders, saying her client was selling an family house in Titai St, Orakei, in one case and an investment property in Judges Bay in another. She and her husband had subdivided that place, ready for sale, Ms Wickes said.

But Mr Casey said there had been a change of solicitor for the sale of the Titai St property, a company Chen was involved in had been struck off and the wrong address was given. A prudent, sensible party would consider a danger of asset disposal, he said, and Chen gave only "perfunctory" information in her affidavit.

Chen did not offer enough information to give a level of comfort to alleviate fears of risk, he said.

But Ms Wickes said the fact that assets were being disposed of did not justify extending the freezing orders. If the board won the action it was taking soon, it would have the full range of enforcement capability available to it.

It was only when Chen came to sell the Titai St property that she discovered the board had a charging order on that place. Justice Toogood said an existing freezing order was due to expire shortly, so he would return with a decision soon.

- NZ Herald

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