Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Horizon Towers Update - Appeal Hearing

It's been a while since the last update on Horizon Towers. A lot has happened and it's all over the news (almost daily) by now, but for the benefit of the overseas readers and those who have not kept up, here's a quick summary below (in chronological order). I'll be providing links to condosingapore's forum which has a dedicated HT Saga sub-forum, but a warning first - there are 'trolls' on the forum who seek only to incite readers through their inflammatory comments, so ignore their postings and don't 'feed' them (ie don't respond back to them). Click on the date to jump to the condosingapore's reproduced articles.

11 Sep - Majority sellers trying to find volunteers to form new SC. Sellers ignored 11 Sep deadline by buyer to extend the sale completion date.
19 Sep - A group of majority sellers wrote to HPL saying they are willing to sell their units to the consortium at original sale price.
20 Sep - Ong Beng Seng, HPL chief, met with group of sellers to talk about extension. He urged the group to convince other sellers to have integrity, honour the contract and set a good example for their children.
21 Sep - New SC formed. HT has 210 units, 135 sellers out of 177 majority sellers attended meeting to vote on extension of sale deadline. Only 1 unit did not vote in favour. 80 owners represented by Wong & Leow engaged a public relations consultant.
25 Sep - With extension of sale deadline, HPL agreed to adjourn legal proceedings against sellers. Deadline pushed back by 4 mths to 11 Dec.
28 Sep - HPL adjourns High Court hearing of the lawsuit. Sellers begin High Court appeal hearing to overturn STB ruling. Consortium files affidavit to participate in appeal hearing. If appeal succeeds, STB may have to reassess HT deal.
29 Sep - 4 Senior Counsels, 6 law firms turned up at start of appeal hearing, with 2 groups wanting to be included in hearing so they can have their say - (1) Group of 13 sellers including pop star Ho Yeow Sun and husband Kong Hee represented by Rajah & Tann; (2) The Consortium represented by K Shanmugam.
2 Oct - Justice Choo Han Teck allowed the additional groups to participate in appeal hearing. Dragon Court sale in 2003 brought up as it related to issue of missing disclosure. In the hearing, SC Shanmugam challenged the other lawyers to argue before Justice Choo the validity of the contract between HPPL and the owners. He "hopes to preempt what he believes would be the owners' game plan — to "get rid" of HPPL and succeed in the appeal as well" (Today Online). The rest of the Today article highlights the ongoing legal debates between the SCs. What was interesting was the "investigative work" from the HPL lawyers, especially in obtaining information distributed or shared among owners. I can only assume a whistle blower among the majority owners, and as they say, "all's fair in love, war and enbloc".

The parties involved so far -
  • Hotel Properties, Qatar Investment Authority, funds managed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate. Represented by Allen & Gledhill, Senior Counsel K Shanmugam
Majority Sellers:
  • Directed by new SC. Represented by Tan, Rajah & Cheah, Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah
  • 13 Sellers, including 3 members of original SC. Represented by Rajah & Tann, Senior Counsel Andre Yeap
Minority Owners:
  • 1 group of 3 represented by Tan Kok Quan - Mr Ramesh Kannan
  • 1 group of 4 represented by Harry Elias Partnership - Senior Counsel K.S. Rajah and Mr Philip Fong.
  • 1 owner represented by Phang & Co, with instructions given to Senior Counsel Michael Hwang.


Anonymous said...

The fact that we have to spend a fortune on legal court cases for senior counselors to parade their intellectual skills at dissecting minutiae legal procedure and facts, show how ridiculous we have become as a nation.

This case bares the very weakness of this particular legislation. Underpinning this legislation is total greed disguised as lip-servicing urban renewal.

Greed on the part of developers who work hand in hand with foreign private equity groups who would devour anything that gives them phenomenal returns tax exempt or at least tax efficient in the name of injecting health into global economies.Ong Beng Seng could well teach our Singapore sons and daughters a wonderful lesson here..honour the mighty dollar.

Greed on the part of speculator-owners who buy up units which they think are ripe for raiding.

Greed on the part of agents, professional legal and consultant teams who would share the spoils of this grand scheme, whether the deal goes through or collapse , they still earn their fees.

Greed (perhaps more forgivable) on the part of short-sighted owners who think they are ready to downsize and liquidate to enjoy their nest-egg without realising that they are depreciating it unless they find alternative housing or schemes to grow their nest egg which they hope to get.

Greed on the part of a government which thinks that making handsome developer's fees and other sundry taxes, bringing in foreign capital is the way forward to boosting the country's economy when in fact we are selling our family silver to unknown elements whose only aim is to pawn our tiny island and our homes to richer immigrants who could afford to buy our exorbitant condo airspace. But then we are historically an immigrant society , so be it, new wave after wave of immigrants could easily replace all who are dispensable and fallible.

That leaves all the minority anti-enbloccers, romantic diehards who dream of holding onto our idyllic homes till death do we part..but looks like we will just have to get use to living a global nomadic life till we reach our final resting place wherever it maybe.

If greed underpins the whole economy and our skyline, the spin-off would indeed be very interesting to watch for all of us who thought we could come home again...just gold dust and lust for it fills the air.

arrielle_p said...

I can see that you are putting a lot of time and effort into your blog and detailed articles! Will be back often to read more updates!

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