Sir Ngatata Love’s former lawyers, QC Colin Carruthers and instruction solicitors Bisson Moss, have issued bankruptcy proceedings against their former client to recover unpaid fees.
The former Maori leader is currently serving a term of imprisonment and the Prime Minister is seeking advice from the Cabinet Office regarding whether he should be stripped of his knighthood.
Love, 79, former head of the Maori landowning Wellington Tenths Trust, is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence for obtaining by deception.
Bisson Moss’s lawyer Bruce Farquar had acted for Sir Ngatata for around a quarter of a century but has not been paid for substantial legal fees promised in respect of the trial. Mr Farquar has a substantial practice handling property, leasing and Maori work and has represented Maori interests in Wellington and elsewhere for many years.
Colin Carruthers has also issued bankruptcy proceedings, LawFuel is advised.
The Police have also received approval to proceed with the sale of the house previously occupied by Love and partner Lorraine Skiffington in Plimmerton.
The mortgage on the property is about $1m, with a further $96,000 in arrears. The net proceeds of its sale are to be held in the control of an official assignee in an interest-bearing trust account, Justice Karen Clark ruled in a decision 10 days ago.
“The question for my determination is whether, in the face of mounting mortgage arrears, a sale order is necessary to preserve the equity in the house. I have been persuaded that it is necessary.
“Since the verdict and findings of the High Court, not impeached on appeal, the Plimmerton property is correctly viewed as tainted by the proceeds of crime.
“The [police] commissioner has a proper interest in preservation of its value. The value is being eroded by the steadily increasing arrears. A sale order is the means by which to preserve value.”