Detour: we’ll fight

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Retail boss Mike Collins plans to come out swinging after his clothing store was evicted from a prime Queenstown spot.

Detour Clothing Ltd, of which Collins is a director, had its lease for 17 Rees Street cancelled by landlord Star Five Limited in early October.

Star Five’s co-owned by resort hospo baron Al Spary.

It slapped an eviction notice on the door and changed the locks, alleging breaches of the lease including a change of share interest in the company.

It then leased the premises to booking agent Happy Travels.

Collins applied to the High Court for an interim injunction in December, seeking to resume trading from the store until a full case can be heard.

It also wants to protect its whopping $240,000 investment in a fit-out of the store, in 2014.

The lease had 12 years left to run.

Justice Nicholas Davidson refused to make an interim order allowing Detour back in, saying Happy Travels has legal occupation.

But he did order Star Five to take all reasonable and practical steps to allow the recovery of Detour’s fit-out cost.

Collins says that’s not the end of the matter.

“We are continuing on with our main substantive case.”

Collins says the fit-out has been removed by Star Five.

“He changed the locks, that was a pretty shitty thing to do, but that’s why we’ve taken him to court, we’re still very aggrieved as you can imagine.”

Spary says he has “no major comment” to make as the matter is still before the courts.

“However, the judge’s decision clearly validates our actions so far on this matter,” Spary says.

Detour has since reopened in O’Connell’s Shopping Centre.

Collins says: “We’re back up and running. We’re not leaving town – we’re not going to let him knock us over.

“We’re not going to lie down, we’re going to fight.”

Happy Travels, unaware of the dispute when it signed the lease, began trading from the Rees St premises in December.

The landlord had not informed them about the existence of a tenancy dispute.

Davidson, in December, stated there is a serious issue to be heard, but it was not a strong case for Detour and the position overall favours Star Five.

The judge’s final determination was: “The balance of convenience and justice of the case favours the status quo being the arrangements entered between Star Five and Happy Travels which has the undoubted right to occupation.”

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz