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Thursday 21 June 2018
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Judge rejects two property developers

$40M loan outstanding

A High Court judge has dismissed the application of two property developers for an extension of time preventing the sale of their family home by an investment company which is seeking to recover a $40 million loan to develop an upscale real estate project in Champs Fleurs.

David and Leonara Deslauriers sought an extension of time for the sale of their family home at Victoria Square in Port of Spain by Guardian Asset Management (GAM), which lent the couple money to complete the Hevron Heights Towers property at Mendez Drive, Champs Fleurs, in 2009.The loan, with interest, owed by the couple to GAM stood in excess of $40 million at the beginning of this year. The couple lost two appeals in the Privy Council, last year, one of which challenged the local courts decision to allow GAM to sell their property at Victoria Square to repay the outstanding money.

They claimed they could not sell the property as it was put in a trust for their two children.

The London judges ruled that this was not a defence as the couple took no steps to transfer legal title to the property to the children to be held in trust.

They suggested, instead, selling the unfinished development at Champs Fleurs which was held on mortgage for the loan, as it was more valuable than the Victoria Square property.

This contention was rejected by the Privy Council judges who said the couple’s $77 million valuation for the unfinished development was inflated as it did not consider that the potential buyers who made deposits on units would have to be repaid.

In his ruling refusing the extension of time to sell the Victoria Square property, Justice Ricky Rahim said the arguments of the couple did not amount to good or sufficient reason to deprive GAM of its entitlement to sell the property.

“Nothing stands in the way of an offer being made by the unknown persons even though the process of sale is put in train.

A judgment creditor is entitled to the fruits of his judgment immediately.

To successfully deprive him of such fruits would require a demonstration of such a change of circumstances that it would make it manifestly unfair to permit him to recover the fruits of his judgment immediately.”

In affidavit evidence in support of its application for the extension, the Deslauriers said she surrendered the keys to the Hevron Heights property to GAM in January.

She also indicated that certain people, who had purchased units in the development, had expressed interest in taking over the site and completing the development.

Newsday understands that the property is to be auctioned off soon.

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