The bankrupt former director of a company embroiled in a controversial multi-million-dollar property development, where the current director Elizabeth O'Neil was arrested for allegedly biting a lineman disconnecting electricity last month, has again been given leave by the Official Trustee in Australia to travel to New Zealand.
Garth Paterson was director of GLW Group, which has its name on the title of a 24.3ha subdivision on the Tukituki River's Horseshoe Bend near Havelock North.
Court documents show Charlie's Juice Company co-founder Stefan Lepionka agreed to purchase four lots from the proposed subdivision and a deposit of $463,000 was paid. GLW ran into financial difficulty and defaulted on its mortgage.
Mr Lepionka was worried he would lose his deposit, so formed a company which bought the mortgage from Westpac and in April became mortgagee in possession of the property under the Property Law Act.
As a bankrupt, Mr Paterson is forbidden to be a company director and leave Australia without special permission, which was granted for his December visit. His ex-wife, Ms O'Neil, replaced him as the sole director of GLW.
Mr Lepionka told Hawke's Bay Today that on December 23 a burglar alarm was activated at one of two houses on the property and the responding security firm found Mr Paterson and Ms O'Neil present.
Mr Paterson told the security firm they were there legally but they received a trespass notice, which police declined to act upon saying it was a civil matter.
Lines company Unison was asked by Mr Lepionka to disconnect the electricity at the Kahuranaki Rd house and on January 2 a Unison linesman was confronted by Ms O'Neil after fuses were taken from a transformer.
An altercation allegedly took place and the linesman claimed his hand was bitten.
Police arrested Ms O'Neil and charged her with assault with intent to injure, to which she entered a not guilty plea. She next appears in Hastings District Court on March 7 for a case review hearing.
Mr Paterson could not be contacted for comment, but his permission to travel to New Zealand until February 20 is likely related to a Thursday hearing at the High Court in Napier, where applications to place GLW into liquidation will be heard. The Court of Appeal will next month hear a case brought by the occupant of the second house on the property.
Architect and Black Barn co-founder Andy Coltart is appealing the removal of caveats from the subdivision title.
Mr Coltart worked with Mr Paterson on the subdivision in its early stages but the pair had a falling out.
Mr Coltart has lived with his wife in the property's original homestead since 2010 and they face losing their home if the caveats are removed.