Lenders call up mogul's bad debts

By john.maslin@wanganuichronicle.co.nz, John Maslin

A number of mortgagee sales have been flagged as finance houses move to recover outstanding debt racked up by Wanganui woman Natasha May.

In recent weeks a series of public notices have appeared in the Chronicle notifying a number of mortgage defaults in the name of Torkan Afshar May, also known as Natasha May, "formerly of 7 Somme Pde but now of unknown address".

They include properties at 5 and 7 Somme Pde, 2a and 2b Portal St, 9 Hipango Tce, 180 Anzac Pde, 49 Taupo Quay, 42 Victoria Ave and 99 Great North Rd.

The mortgagees named so far include FM Custodians, Westpac NZ Ltd, Pepper New Zealand (Custodians) Ltd and Cressida Capital One Ltd.

Westpac is claiming default payments totalling $49,797 in the name of Stallion Corp Ltd, Torkan Takesh Family Trust and Torkan Afshar May.

Pepper NZ has served its notice to Torkan May and Christopher Robert Strongman, again involving non-payment of mortgage debt.

FM Custodians has laid its claim against Torkan Afshar May, while Cressida Capital One has named the defendants as Torkan Afshar May and Stallion Corp Ltd, again for default of loan repayments.

Local real estate companies have notified a series of mortgagee sales either by tender or at auction.

The mortgagee sales have prompted the Wanganui District Council's strategy and finance committee to ask if any debt it is owed will be recovered.

Currently council is owed almost $35,000 on properties across the city under the names of Torkan May, Salaheddin Takesh and The 3 Musketeers Ltd.

The bulk of that ($31,500) is unpaid rates and the rest is in lease costs associated with a property at 49 Taupo Quay.

Mrs May arrived in Wanganui in 2006 and was not slow in promoting her profile.

In earlier interviews with the Chronicle, she said she was a property developer, as well as a former belt designer for Gucci, and was keen to invest heavily in Wanganui and make it her home.

She said she was an American of Persian and Russian descent and, at various stages, she had up to three relatives living in Wanganui, named Jalaleddin, Salah and Farid Takesh.

Between them, they had invested $25 million in the city and owned 40 character homes and five commercial buildings, she said.

In 2009, she told the Chronicle she was going to help art students by showing and auctioning their work and paying to have it exhibited overseas.

Mrs May said she was enthusiastic for art and for Wanganui and "we are going to be the Montmartre of New Zealand".

Among those central city commercial buildings are those currently tenanted by Andersons and Victoria's Treasures in Victoria Ave's Bridge Block, 38 Taupo Quay next to the new DoC offices, the now vacant former Al Ponte restaurant building beside the City Bridge.

At the strategy and finance committee, chairman Councillor Rob Vinsen asked what exposure council had to the current spate of mortgagee sales.

Mr Vinsen said he was worried about the debt because there was a suggestion that the debt would increase significantly.

"Does this mean that we have to wait for mortgagee sales before we can get our money back?"

He said Mrs May had not borrowed from what he called mainstream lenders and thought that may compromise council's ability to recover money it was owed.

Julian Harkness, council's finance and corporate services manager, said officers had already written to companies behind the mortgagee sales with council's claims and said he was sure the outstanding amounts would be recovered.

After extensive efforts the Chronicle has tried unsuccessfully to contact Mrs May.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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