Sally Ridge's $100,000 bill after legal bid fails

Socialite Sally Ridge told to pay costs after losing battle to gain half of ex-partner Adam Parore's business.

Sally Ridge with daughter Jaime.
Sally Ridge with daughter Jaime.

Sally Ridge turned down a settlement worth $500,000 before her High Court trial with former partner Adam Parore - but now she must pay costs of more than $100,000 after losing the legal battle.

The Auckland socialite and her daughter, Jaime, took Mr Parore to the High Court at Auckland last September seeking a 50 per cent shareholding in the former international cricketer's Small Business Accounting (SBA) company and the back-payment of unpaid dividends.

The couple split in 2010 after nine years together. Ms Ridge told the court last September 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.

In his judgment last month, Justice Murray Gilbert said "Ms Ridge's claim fails at the first hurdle".

"There was never any intention that the trustees of the Parore Trust would hold 50 per cent of the shares in SBA on trust for the beneficiaries of the Ridge Trust.

This finding is fatal to the plaintiff's claim."

In a costs judgment released yesterday, Justice Gilbert said the Ridges were offered a number of settlements before the High Court trial.

The first, on November 15, 2012, was for $240,000, to be paid in 24 monthly instalments of $10,000, which was rejected by the Ridges. The second offer, on April 16, last year, was calculated by the defendants to represent a cash benefit of $500,000, or a 75/25 allocation in Ms Ridge's favour of all assets at the date of their separation. The Ridges did not respond to the offer. A final offer was made on September 6 last year valued at around $250,000. It was rejected on September 9.


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

Justice Gilbert said at the beginning of the trial the Ridges had filed six causes of action. However, by the time closing submissions were delivered, they had abandoned all but one.

While the abandoned causes of action had no prospect of succeeding and inevitably would have failed, Mr Parore's legal team had to prepare responses, Justice Gilbert said.

"There is no doubt that the addition of these causes of action, all of which lacked merit, significantly increased the costs reasonably incurred by the defendants."

He awarded Mr Parore scaled costs of $73,232, plus disbursements of $31,610, and a 50 per cent increase for any costs incurred after January 1, 2013.

Yesterday Mr Parore said the decision spoke for itself.

Ms Ridge said they had yet to decide whether they would appeal Justice Gilbert's original decision.

- APNZ

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