A high-profile former friend of embattled developer Dave Henderson appears to have won the latest round of a bitter dispute over a Gibbston house.
Ex-All Black Grahame Thorne has bought the Stone House on Henderson’s Anthem vineyard estate from the mortgagee after a successful tender bid late last month.
The house is one of the properties tied up with Anthem Holdings Ltd, which is in receivership.
But the battle isn’t over yet – Henderson has sent Thorne a letter from another of his surviving companies, Anthem Vineyards Ltd, saying the house breaches an estate covenant and must be “removed”.
Before buying the Stone House, Thorne had rented it from the receiver since late last year – but claims he was dogged by legal threats from Henderson companies throughout his tenancy.
In January, Henderson accused Thorne of stealing water from the developer’s Gibbston Water Services company.
In late April, Henderson’s solicitor allegedly emailed Thorne saying the receivers “had no authority to enter into any lease agreement with [Thorne]”, adding his occupation of the house was “unlawful” and giving him 24 hours to pack his bags.
Thorne won’t reveal what he paid for the 0.79ha property but says “the mortgagees had valuers in and we paid the price it was valued at”.
Thorne is now listed as registered owner. A July 2008 rating valuation puts the Stone House at $1.2 million.
Henderson’s latest letter alleges several “breaches” of the covenant, including claiming buildings were constructed with some materials “without written approval of the developer”, and “allowing the land for residential purposes other than in a building which has been substantially completed in terms of the covenants”.
The letter also says Thorne, as “registered proprietor”, must pay Henderson’s Anthem Vineyards company $100 for each day he “breaches” the “negative covenants”.
“In addition we require you to remove from the land the structures that contravene the … covenants.”
Asked if he’ll be pursuing the “requirements” in his letter, Henderson says: “Either there are breaches or there aren’t. If Mr Thorne believes there are breaches he should fix them.
“If he believes there aren’t then he needs to communicate that to us. It is all that simple. His habit of trying to argue these issues through the media is less than efficient, I would have thought.”