Two years after winning $17 million in Lotto, Mark Lipsham met a new woman.
Within eight weeks he had given her nearly $3m of his winnings - money he says was to buy properties for him. Instead, Kim Helmbright spent it on two properties for herself.
Lipsham claims he engaged Helmbright in October 2019 to provide him with a range of services - financial, property, personal and spiritual.
He paid her about $70,000 over two months for those services. Then, on December 2, 2019, he gave her $2.8m, which he believed was needed by her to settle property purchases in his name.
But instead, she used the money to buy real estate in her name - a property at Waipapa near Kerikeri, for $1,675,000 in January 2020, and a property at Okaihau near Kaikohe for which she paid $660,000, in March 2020.
The couple's relationship ended in May 2020, and now the spat has ended up in the civil court.
Helmbright claims the pair had a formal Freelancing Agreement for the services she provided him and all the money he gave her was payment for those. She could do with that money whatever she wished.
Lipsham accepts signing the agreement, but says he did so after paying the $2.8 million - not on the date written on the document - October 4, 2019. He claimed Helmbright backdated it.
Lipsham said if he had entered into the agreement on the date purported (which he denied) then it would have been either an "unconscionable bargain" for Helmbright; as a result of her having an undue influence over him; rejected by her and subsequently cancelled by him; or mistakenly entered into by him.
The key issues for the court to decide at trial will be whether the payment was made to Helmbright for the purpose of buying properties in Lipsham's name or pursuant to the so-called Freelancing Agreement, how Helmbright applied the payment and whether it could be traced to her assets.
The case is in its early stages but, in a recently released decision, Associate Judge Dani Gardiner granted Lipsham's application for Helmbright to produce a range of documents: information relating to the negotiation of the Freelancing Agreement; GST returns and income tax information; sale and purchase agreements and other information related to the properties purchased by Helmbright; bank statements; and information about the services she's alleged to provide.
Lipsham believed the documents would prove what the $2.8 million payment was for.
Helmbright objected to providing most of them, claiming she lost some when she threw out her laptop in February 2020, that some were with her former lawyers, and that others were confidential or privileged information.
Judge Gardiner rejected those reasons and ordered Helmbright to provide Lipsham with all the information as requested, with the exception of bank statements. The judge agreed those should be viewed only by Lipsham's counsel for privacy reasons.