Ridge/Parore split: Ridge seeks to buy out Parore

By Heather McCracken

Sally Ridge and Adam Parore. Photo / File / Jason Dorday
Sally Ridge and Adam Parore. Photo / File / Jason Dorday

Sally Ridge wants to buy her former partner Adam Parore out of the accounting business in which she is claiming a half-share.

The pair are in a legal battle over the company, Small Business Accounting (SBA), owned by the Parore Family Trust, of which Ms Ridge is a beneficiary.

The couple split in 2010 after nine years together. Ms Ridge has said she continued receiving regular dividend payments from the company until September 2011. When they stopped she was forced to take a mortgage holiday and borrow money, the High Court at Auckland has been told.

In court this morning, Ms Ridge's lawyer Daniel Grove filed an amended statement of claim in which Ms Ridge's family trust is seeking a 50 per cent shareholding in SBA and back payment of unpaid dividends.

A $830,000 claim in relation to the sale of their property in Ponsonby has been dropped.

Mr Grove said if the court found in her favour, Ms Ridge would also seek a judgement as to which party could buy the other's shares, as Ms Ridge wanted to buy out Mr Parore.

"The parties can't work together, because Mr Parore has said he will not, therefore we're in a stalemate."

He said Ms Ridge had more need of the income from the company, and if she was bought out, would have to sink all the money into repaying debt.

"She needs that money to support four children and house them. Mr Parore on the other hand is a businessman, has already purchased another business and has said 'if I have to pay her I'll just go out and start another business'."

The couple split their assets into two family trusts in 2007, with business interests held by the Parore Family Trust and property assets held by the Sally Ridge Family Trust. Both were beneficiaries and trustees of the two trusts.

Mr Grove said after the split it was agreed between the parties that distributions from the company would be split 50-50 between them, and would be used to pay off their two remaining debts, which would reduce dividend payments.

Ms Ridge's income at the time was only $54,000 a year, he said.

"That was all she had to live on, fund a mortgage," he said.

"Since the payments were cut off she's had to take a mortgage holiday, she's had to borrow money from her family."

He said the pair were in "constant discussion" with each other about the financial arrangements until the payments stopped. "Ms Ridge says they were best mates."

In response to Mr Grove's closing, Mr Parore's lawyer Zane Kennedy disputed that Ms Ridge had greater need for the business income than Mr Parore. He said after the split his client had taken a share of the assets that was significantly less than what Ms Ridge had received.

"She has simply chosen to put plough it into real estate. Mr Parore, he rents."

He said Ms Ridge also had a significant quantity of art worth more than $400,000.

In his closing on Friday, Mr Kennedy said Ms Ridge's lack of attention to detail led to her mistaken belief that she was personally a 50 per cent owner in the business.

Justice Murray Gilbert reserved his decision.


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