A court in Maroochydore has ruled that “it defies commonsense” that residential agency owner Ken Guy would appoint his manager as equal partner of his long standing Noosa real estate office when he remained its sole financial backer and sole guarantor on leases etc.

Guy contended in a dispute with former manager Robert Midgley, that the latter was appointed on a salary – with a bonus 50% profit share – according to a detailed letter of appointment issued in 2000, that Midgley denied ever having received.

In April 2007 – unknown to Guy, Midgley also registered a business name ‘Ken Guy Real Estate Bli Bli’ and operated another agency under that name from a site there, keeping all but a few commissions from the sales it generated.

Notwithstanding Guy discovered the arrangement in August 2007, he waited until April 2013 before filing a lawsuit to recover lucrative profits – what he said should have been his – from Midgley’s sales of local land subdivisions.

The court decided – despite his barrister’s attempt to “manufacture a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” – the terms of the manager’s appointment letter prevailed thru to 2007 and there was no partnership.

“I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr. Midgley did in fact receive a copy of that letter in 2000,” ruled District Court judge John Robertson in a judgment published today.

Midgley – so said the judge – “acted deliberately to deceive Guy” during the brief period between April and September during which he retained commission income from the Bli Bli office “that would have flowed through Noosa”.

Of the $736k  earned from the Bli Bli operation, Midgely must pay Guy roughly half, ie $379k plus interest accumulated over the intervening 7 years of $254k, total $633k.

Ken Guy Real Estate Pty Ltd v Midgley [2015] QDC 001 Robertson DCJ published 3/02/2015


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