Stump up with my cash

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A Queenstown apartment owner angry at a developer over unpaid guaranteed rental returns is in turn being accused of “blackmail”.

Retired Englishman Alan Roebuck alleges Wensley Dev­elopments has failed since last October to pay him $23,000 in rental returns for a four-bedroom apartment at the Oaks Shores complex in Frankton Road.

He says a “guaranteed” six per cent rental return for the first three years had been an “incentive” to buy his million-dollar unit.

Roebuck claims after company boss Ross Wensley paid him only $3000 on February 4, he gave him notice at a February 11 meeting that if he wasn’t paid the remain­ing $23,000 by last Friday, he’d go public with his complaint and issue legal proceedings.

“I find that Wensleys are still advertising apartments for sale with this ‘guaranteed rental’ in place and I don’t want other unsuspecting people to fall into this trap.”

Ross Wensley doesn’t dispute that some money is due and promises he’ll still pay up.

At their February 11 meeting, Roebuck says he proposed Wensley also pay another $100,000 – a “discounted” balance of his rental guarantee that expires next February.

Wensley refused.

Roebuck: “I suggested the offer … was a side issue for [Wensley] to consider but it would at least terminate our involvement and eliminate the need for me to keep reminding him of his obligation over the next 12 months.”

Roebuck claims the developer admitted he couldn’t pay up be­­­cause apartment buyers at Wensley Developments’ newly-completed Marina Baches – also on Frankton Rd – had failed to settle.

In response, Ross Wensley claims Roebuck is using the media to strong-arm him for $100,000.

He alleges Roebuck was behind time invoicing his October and November accounts but “probably” would have received $10,400 in pre-Christmas payments “had he not tried to blackmail us”.

“He has spent all his time going round town, trying to find out gossip about us, some of which is true, some of which won’t be true.”

Until settlements take place at The Marina Baches – delays had “severely affected” cashflow – Wensley says his bank has put a facility in place to cover guarantee returns.

“Our outstanding payments will be caught up.

“The last two months of payments to Alan Roebuck have been unpaid while we put this facility in place.

“As everybody is aware, credit is tight, and this process has taken longer than usual.

“This was communicated very clearly to Alan.

“Alan Roebuck is trying to use the media to blackmail us into paying the balance of his return immediately and not the contractual arrangement which is month­­­­ly over the next 11 months.”

Wensley also says Roebuck’s projection as to what he’s owed over the next year “might be entirely wrong”.

Roebuck, who comes to Queens­town with his wife each summer, stresses he’s got no beef with the Oaks Shores letting company.

He dismisses the blackmail allegation: “It is not blackmail to insist that a long overdue and acknowledged debt is paid, otherwise legal action will be taken and the matter made public.

“It is a legitimate ultimatum.”