Sunday, 16 September 2007

Going to Court: Phoenix Court Sale Put On Hold

This will be 'old' news by now, but still, in attempting to be comprehensive in the "Going to Court" (or STB in some cases) series, better to have this included :)

Details are below as usual. But before that, a few points - the article by Today paper is an interim report, as the judge has not given his decision on the case yet. You can read the Today paper article here or reproduced here (along with discussion). Also, SC Michael Hwang who raised these points to the judge is not some flaky lawyer firing a legal shotgun (metaphorically speaking) and hoping that a target will be hit. Senior Counsel Michael Hwang, aged 63+, was formerly with Allen & Gledhill, and one of their prized litigators (along with SC K Shanmugam). Trained in law at Oxford U, he joined A&G in 1968 after he was called to the English bar at Gray's Inn (a prestigious thing). He left A&G in 2003 to develop his arbitration practice, and his portfolio included being a Specialist Judge in the Subordinate Court, an ambassador to Switzerland, a deputy chief justice in Dubai International Financial Centre Court (2004), chairman of Singapore Dance Theatre, High Court judicial commissioner, SMY's law school advisory board, and the first batch of 12 lawyers appointed as Senior Counsels in 1997. What this means is that when he raises certain points of law, it is not a frivolous or nonsensical gesture. So bear this in mind before making any judgments about his objections to the Phoenix Court sale.

Estate: Phoenix Court, St Thomas Walk/Killiney Road
Stage: Sold at $88.1 million Oct 2007. STB rejected minority owners' case. Appeal to High Court.
Source: Today 8 Sep 2007, Today 6 July 2007, BT 8 June 2006
Party: 1 elderly couple as sole minority owner.
Minority Owners' Lawyer: Senior Counsel Michael Hwang
Agent: Dennis Wee Realty
Collective Sale Lawyer: Mr Christopher Yong, Legal21 LLC
Developer: Hiap Hoe
Reason: Appeal to High Court for sale to be dismissed due to 'defective' procedures.
Details: (Today 6/7/06) "some majority residents were also against an extension to their CSA.. but to no avail. The STB las week approved the sale to Hiap Hoe for $88.1m". (Weekend 8/9/07) (1) SC Hwang argued that 2 of the 3 majority owners who had applied to STB were not authorised to do so. (2) CSA signed Apr 06, 6 weeks later valuation done (approx Jun 06), STB application Jan 07, SC Hwang took issue with valuation report (possibly due to it being completed more than 3 mths prior to STB application) (3) method of distribution omitted from the SPA. SC Hwang: "the S&P agreement must define the contractual obligations between a buyer and the individual owners — since members of sale committee "lose interest very quickly, especially if they have gotten their money""; "This is in effect a compulsory acquisition. The onus is on those who acquire my clients' properties to adhere strictly to the requirements set out by the law."

No comments: