The Orakei Residents' Society is calling for a meeting to discuss a revised masterplan for a development in Orakei that is being promoted by Auckland City Mayor John Banks, following the replacement of the original architect with Colin Leuschke.
Last night, Mr Banks and council chief executive David Rankin refused to give details of Colin Leuschke's leaky building history, which includes a $101,010 payment (with a denial of liability) for an 18-unit apartment block in Eden Tce in 2007.
Leuschke Group Architects was also named in a claim for the Waterford Apartments in Parnell and has six other previous, current and pending claims against it.
Mr Leuschke, who placed Leuschke Group Architects into voluntary liquidation while facing leaky building claims, has taken over the design work from architect Andrew Patterson.
Prime Minister John Key was criticised in 2007 for being a director of a commercial property company, Earl of Auckland, with Mr Leuschke and two other men.
In 2007, Buildings Minister Clayton Cosgrove accused the directors of Leuschke Group Architects of "trying to cut and run and leave their leaky home victims with the mess and repair bill".
After putting Leuschke Group Architects into liquidation in July 2007, Mr Leuschke was practising under a new business, Leuschke Architects, the following month.
Mr Banks has said he wants to expose builders, developers and contractors who have shirked their responsibilities for leaky homes.
He said he learned only two weeks ago about Mr Leuschke's appointment to finish the Orakei masterplan.
But documents obtained by the Herald show Mr Banks was alerted by the Orakei Residents' Society in May to Mr Patterson's dismissal and knew about Mr Leuschke's involvement on August 5.
Days after Andrew Patterson came up with a masterplan for the Orakei development in April this year that won conditional support from opponents, his firm was replaced by Leuschke Architects.
The decision was made by the private property investment company Equinox, which is working with the council on a public-private masterplan for the sensitive coastal headland.
In a short email to Orakei Residents' Society president Warren Tuohey on May 1, Equinox boss Kerry Knight said: "We have come to the end of the road with our relationship with him [Andrew Patterson]. Don't worry, we can still satisfy you with quality!!!"
Mr Tuohey said yesterday he did not know enough of Mr Leuschke's background to comment on his suitability to design the Orakei masterplan, which includes plans for about 700 apartments.
But in a letter to Mr Banks on May 4, Mr Tuohey said the society's support was based on Mr Patterson staying on as lead architect "to ensure that the concept and preliminary drawings will be translated into a final development of equal quality".
Since then the society has met Mr Leuschke and Mr Knight to discuss the revised plans for Orakei.
Buit it is still uncomfortable with the change of architect and demanded a meeting for the public to see the Leuschke plan.
Mr Knight said Mr Leuschke had not designed a single building at Orakei. He was merely working on the bulk and location of buildings. Asked if he could get to design some of the buildings, Mr Knight said he could design some of the site, but not the majority.
Mr Leuschke said questions about his history were "so cruel"
"There are 1600 architects in this country and more than 1000 are being sued as we speak ... if you want to find an experienced architect in New Zealand that isn't being sued you are wasting your time."
Among them, Mr Leuschke said, was Andrew Patterson, whose company has been named in a building claim at a Takapuna waterfront house that cost $1.47 million to fix.