‘No leaks’ in liquidation

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Queenstown construction group Rilean has collapsed one of its companies in the face of a leaky-building lawsuit.

Rilean Construction (South Island) Ltd was put into liquidation on March 2 by directors and majority shareholders Steve McLean and Gary Dent.

McLean denies the liquidation is related to the leaks claim.

Dunedin insolvency specialist Trevor Laing is liquidating the folded company.

Laing’s interim report says the company “ceased trading approximately four years ago and has no remaining assets”.

“Hardly any” creditors are owed money, Laing tells Mountain Scene.

In a statement, McLean says his building group now operates as Rilean Construction (Central Otago) in Queenstown and Rilean Construction (Canterbury) in Christchurch.

McLean: “The decision to liquidate the old trading company was made to complete a restructuring process, based around new shareholding, started more than five years ago.”

However, the liquidator’s report reveals the folded Rilean firm is second defendant - Queenstown’s council is first defendant - in High Court proceedings over “a weathertight homes issue”.

Mountain Scene has learned the now-defunct Rilean company is being sued by the body corporate and individual owners of the 11-unit 4.5 star Alta Apartments in Thompson Street, overlooking Queenstown Bay.

A law suit was filed in December last year.

The law firm acting for Alta owners, Auckland leaky-home legal eagles Grimshaw & Co., filed proceedings in December last year.

Philip Bremer, an Auckland partner at leaky-home specialists Grimshaw & Co, says he’s unable to reveal how much his clients are claiming.

The sum sought is probably immaterial - Laing says there’s little money in the folded company’s kitty to defend a claim.

Rilean’s McLean says he can’t discuss Alta: “Other people in our company are looking after it. I’ve had nothing to do with that case at all.”

Rilean is arguably Queenstown’s biggest builder - local projects of note include the Queenstown Motor Group showroom, Novotel Lakeside hotel extensions, Queenstown Airport’s departure lounge, and Hilton apartments.

The Alta claim isn’t the first leaky-building allegation Rilean has faced.

In late 2013, the now-defunct Rilean Construction (South Island) settled a $4.1 million lawsuit by owners of The Mountaineer building in Queenstown’s CBD - no details were released.

Last year, Rilean was also spotlighted over leaky buildings at Arrowtown School constructed in 1996-97.

The Ministry of Education didn’t pursue legal action - considering it signed off the plans, as did Queenstown’s council.

frank@scene.co.nz