The battle being waged in the High Court over the property which once housed popular mas band Legends will play out on April 17, when the case goes to trial.
Former business partners Ian McKenzie and Michael “Big Mike” Antoine, who were co-bandleaders for the five-time Band of the Year, parted ways in 2004 and are now on opposite sides of the court.
Justice Frank Seepersad yesterday set the trial date for the hearing of the lawsuit which McKenzie has filed against Antoine.
After their split, McKenzie and his wife Nina carried on the mas-making business under the name Genesis, while Antoine continued under the Legacy banner.
McKenzie wants the former Legends bandroom at Roberts Street, Woodbrook, sold and to be given half the proceeds. He says he and Antoine were partners and acquired the lease, the unexpired residue of which is valued at $2.5 million.
Antoine has filed a counter-application seeking to strike out the claim.
McKenzie said after he and his wife returned from their honeymoon in March 2004, he was met with locks on the property, and a security guard refused him entry. He said he sought the intervention of the police, who advised him to seek legal advice.
“I paid my share of the purchase price of the leasehold premises in December 2006 and Mr Antoine completed paying his share on February 2007,” he said in his claim.
He said Antoine had remained in exclusive possession of the property since April 2004 when he was forcibly excluded under a purported rental agreement.
McKenzie said after the property was purchased by the two of them in full, he again attempted to enter the property, but Antoine would not let him in.
He alleged that Antoine had been using the property as the headquarters of his new band, Legacy, and converted the entire premises to his exclusive use and possession.
He also said in 2007, Antoine agreed to purchase all McKenzie’s shares in the property for half of the valuation price of $16,000 a month. He said despite the agreement, which was conveyed to Antoine through his then attorney, now Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Antoine had been unwilling to complete the purchase of his half of the premises.
“...And yet he continues to enjoy dominion over all of the premises.” McKenzie added that he did not think partitioning the premises was possible for either of them, adding that in September last year, he received an agreement for sale for $2.8 million.
“I am complaining that his continued sole possession of the premises is not conducive to the smooth sales,” he said, placing the blame for the inability to sell the property squarely on Antoine’s shoulders.
McKenzie is seeking to have the sale conducted by public auction and also to be given an opportunity to bid for the property if the court grants his application.
He is represented by attorney Farid Scoon. Simon de La Bastide represents Antoine.