Developer has ‘leaky’ mansion win

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Embattled Queenstown developer Chris James’ trust has had a victory - of sorts - over leaks in his $3.5 million Jack’s Point mansion.

Trustees of James’ Frongopoulos Trust have successfully appealed to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal to overturn a decision by the Business Ministry.

In its decision released last week, the tribunal says the ministry was “wrong” in earlier ruling the James trust’s claim “ineligible”.

The pivotal point, according to the tribunal verdict, was whether the three-bedroom, five-bathroom James residence was built before January 1, 2012.

The tribunal found the home’s “external envelope was complete by the end of 2011″ - supporting the James trust’s contention construction causing the leaks had been finished before the cut-off date.

James didn’t return the Scene’s call for comment.

Leaky home aside, the long-time Queenstown developer is also enmeshed in a lengthy legal bunfight over a $740,000 advance from his now-defunct James Development Ltd to his trust to finance the 8925sq m Jack’s Point block on which the mansion is built.

Auckland liquidator Grant Reynolds is pursuing the Frongopoulos Trust over a soured 2007 property deal, in the hope of clawing back the $740,000 for the development company’s creditors.

Frongopoulos trustees deny they’re liable to repay any money.

Liquidator Reynolds, who holds a caveat over the Jack’s Point property, tells the Scene a verdict on this court battle is imminent.

James, originally from the United States, has had a long development career in the Wakatipu.

In Queenstown, his landmark land-banking property is Bungy Backpackers on Stanley Street.

In Arrowtown, he owns The Stables and Postmasters restaurants and has developed a two-level commercial
precinct.