Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Ridge/Parore split: 'At best she was deeply confused'

Adam Parore (right) at Auckland High Court. Photo / Dean Purcell
Adam Parore (right) at Auckland High Court. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland socialite Sally Ridge's "confusion" and lack of attention to legal details led her to mistakenly believe she personally owned half a business with her former partner Adam Parore, a court heard today.

The pair have been embroiled in a legal battle in the High Court at Auckland this week, with Ms Ridge claiming backpay and unpaid dividends from Small Business Accounting (SBA), a company they formed together.

The business' interests were held in the Parore Family Trust, while property belonging to the couple - who split in 2010 after nine years together - was held in the Sally Ridge Family Trust.

Ms Ridge believed because the trusts were in their names, and the couple had an "equal partnership agreement", that they co-owned the business personally and all profits would be split 50/50, lawyer for the former cricketer, Zane Kennedy said.

This mistaken belief that she was a legal owner of the company was "fatal" to her claims, he argued in closing submissions today.

Mr Kennedy said he believed Ms Ridge broadly understood the arrangement the couple had worked out for the distribution of their assets, but "wasn't interested in the detail".

"At best she was deeply confused as to what the position was, but it seems likely she did have a reasonable understanding of what was going on, although not having interest in the details," he said.

He also argued the claims submitted by Ms Ridge's legal teams about how the trusts worked "turns trust deeds on its head".

Ms Ridge, who Mr Kennedy described as "a difficult witness to cross examine", sat in the public gallery with her daughter Jaime and partner Warren Fenning.

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

Ms Ridge is claiming backpay and unpaid dividends from SBA from September 2011 and wants a return to her relationship with the firm as it was in August 2011.

Mr Parore has said he refused to pay her dividends because she did not contribute to the company's expenses or attend meetings.

Ms Ridge's trust is also claiming up to $830,000 from the sale of a "palatial" property in Ponsonby's Arthur St, which the former couple sold after their 2010 separation for more than $6 million.

The hearing, before Justice Murray Gilbert, will continue on Monday when Ms Ridge's lawyer Daniel Grove will give his closing submission.


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