April 09, 2015
$14m Adlam case to be reheard
The Maori Appellate Court has struck down a judgment that would have seen former Maori business high flyer Bev Adlam pay back $14 million to a Bay of Plenty land trust.
Instead the Maori Land Court must rehear to case to determine whether Ms Adlam can get some of the money back as a fee for developing two geothermal power stations at Kawerau.
Both stations are on Maori freehold land known as the Bath block, and the second station draws steam from the neighbouring Farm block owned by the same whanau.
In the lower court, Ms Adlam admitted she acted in breach of her duties as a trustee of the Bath block, but denied she had any liability towards the Farm block trust.
Judge Craig Coxhead denied her claim for developer’s fees, and ordered she pay the Bath Trust the $2.4 million in royalties she collected from the first power station plus more than $800,000 in interest, as well as the $11.2 million profit she made selling her shares in the second station to Eastland Power.
In a reserved judgment the Appellate Court found Judge Coxhead let Ms Adlam off some of the interest she owed, and the sum must be recalculated.
It also found that because the lawyer for the Farm Trust failed to plead its case, the judge could not determine how the profit from the second power station should be shared out.
It ordered the case back to the lower court to give the Farm Trust a chance to make its case, and to determine whether Ms Adlam is entitled to a development fee.
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