Ridge fails in bid for half of ex-partner's business

Sally Ridge.
Sally Ridge.

Sally Ridge's claim to 50 per cent of her former partner's business "failed at the first hurdle", says a High Court judge.

The Auckland socialite and her daughter, Jaime, took Ms Ridge's former partner Adam Parore to the High Court at Auckland last September seeking a 50 per cent shareholding in the former international cricketer's Small Business Accounting 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.

The couple's family home was held in the names of their two trusts - the Parore Trust and the Ridge Trust - each with a 50 per cent share. Later, in 2007, they both agreed to a restructure of the trusts and their assets, the High Court judgment read.

Family assets, including the property, were to be transferred to the Ridge Trust, while all business-related assets and liabilities were to be held by the Parore Trust, which would service loans and also provide the sole source of income for both parties, the judgment read.

Justice Murray Gilbert said in his judgment that there was no doubt Mr Parore understood the legal implications of the restructure and was the prime initiator of it.

"However, it is also clear that he took some care to ensure that Ms Ridge understood what was proposed and was content with it."

When they separated and sold their home, they were unable to reach an agreement on how to deal with the assets of the two trusts - each claiming that the other had received more than they were entitled to, the judgment read.

In his judgment Justice Gilbert said "Ms Ridge's claim fails at the first hurdle"

Adam Parore at Auckland High Court. Photo / Dean Purcell
Adam Parore at Auckland High Court. Photo / Dean Purcell

"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."

Ms Ridge said she was "obviously disappointed" with the result, and was considering appealing against the judgment. Mr Parore could not be reached for comment.

- APNZ

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