Ridge/Parore split: 'I trusted him 100 per cent'

By Brendan Manning

Sally Ridge, seen during filming of the reality TV show 'The Ridges'. Photo / NZ Herald
Sally Ridge, seen during filming of the reality TV show 'The Ridges'. Photo / NZ Herald

Auckland socialite Sally Ridge's former fiance Adam Parore kicked her business partner out of an underwear company she had established because Mr Parore believed he could run it better, a court has heard.

Ms Ridge, 42, made the claim at the High Court at Auckland today as her lengthy legal battle with former international cricketer Mr Parore continues.

Mr Parore believed he could turn her underwear and sleepwear company James & August around, Ms Ridge said.

The court heard the company was $1.05 million in deficit at the time.

"Adam kicked Nikki Blackley out of the company because he believed he could run it better.

"He had this big pitch that he was going to turn it around and make it a really successful business."

James & August went into voluntary liquidation in May 2010.

Ms Ridge told the court today the company could still be in operation if the right person with the right business acumen had stepped in.

She is also claiming back pay and unpaid dividends from Small Business Accounting - which she believed she and Mr Parore co-owned.

Ms Ridge said she hadn't received dividends from the business since September 2011 and wants a return to her relationship with the firm as it was in August 2011.

She was essentially a silent partner and received regular dividend payments, she said.

However, "one day he woke up and decided he didn't want to pay me dividends anymore and tripled his salary".

"I was absolutely floored," Ms Ridge told the court. "I mean, who does that?"

There was also an agreement to split the proceeds of franchisee sales 50/50, she said.

Earlier in the day Ms Ridge said the settlement battle wouldn't have made it to the High Court if she had a better understanding of trusts.

"Mate, if I had have been knowledgeable of trusts and knowledgeable of what Adam was doing, I wouldn't be in this position," she told Mr Parore's lawyer Zane Kennedy from the witness box.

"There's no way Adam could sit up here and say I knew what was going on and that I understand trusts."

Ms Ridge was supported in court by her partner Warren Fenning and her daughter Jaime Ridge.

Mr Parore sat alone on the other side of the public gallery.

The court today heard the former couple's assets were separated into two trusts; their property on Ponsonby's Arthur St was in the Sally Ridge Family Trust and their business interests were in the Parore Family Trust.

Ms Ridge said her trust was set up on the recommendation of her mother and her former husband Matthew Ridge.

Following the sale of the Arthur St property and her separation from Mr Parore, Ms Ridge said he walked away with $930,000 and 100 per cent of the accountancy business, while she received $1.1 million.

When he gave her documents relating to a trust in her name she invariably didn't read them and signed them because she trusted him, she said in court yesterday.

"I would listen to my partner. Adam had a law degree, he had an accountancy background ... I trusted him 100 per cent."

Ms Ridge estimated she lost $900,000 following the sale of the Arthur St property after a renovation project turned into a significant rebuild.

The hearing, before Justice Murray Gilbert, continues tomorrow.

Mr Parore is yet to give evidence.

- APNZ

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