Posted on April 20, 2017
By Renato Castello, The Advertiser
BERTH owners at the Wirrina Cove marina have launched a class action against its operator questioning the expenditure of more than $1 million and accusing its owner of using their money for “its own benefit”.
The District Court last week ordered the owner of the Marina St Vincent to submit new audited financial statements after about 30 berth owners lodged civil action claiming a breach of contract over alleged failings of the company to account for its spending.
At the centre of their concerns — lodged in a March 17 statement of claim sighted by The Advertiser — is that controlling company New Wave Aerospace has used money for purposes “other than” operating and maintaining the marina as per the lease agreements.
They also claim that it had not provided audited statements of its expenditure.
Their claim catalogues $1.08 million in disputed expenditure, including $280,000 on marina dredging, $240,000 for “major works”, $91,500 for landscaping, and $225,000 in management fees.
“The defendant has had and received to its own use and benefit amounts paid by the plaintiffs as outgoings,” the claim says.
“The amounts were paid by the plaintiffs in the mistaken belief that the defendant would apply them to outgoings in accordance with the provisions of the underleases.
“The outgoings collected by the defendant must be used for the purposes of the operation and maintenance of the marina and not for any other purpose.
“The defendant has and continues to be in breach of its underleases and has evinced an unequivocal intention not to be bound by the underleases.”
The berth owners have long-term leases and pay a proportion of expenses based on the size of the berths.
New Wave Aerospace took over management of the marina in September 2014 after the collapse of previous operator ICA (SA).
It has no connection with the Wirrina Cove Resort, which is independently operated.
Berth owners state that New Wave Aerospace “has not at any time” produced financial statements for the marina expenditure “which comply with accounting standards”.
Among remedies sought are an order for the release of all documents relating to Marina’s operation for the past three financial years not including 2016/17, for New Wave Aerospace to pay back money it “wrongly received”, damages for breach of contract and court costs.
Head plaintiff Trevor Gadd and New Wave Aerospace director Steve Marks declined to comment.
Source: The Advertiser