The house at 2 Otway St, Holland Park
The house at 2 Otway St, Holland Park

Builder suing socialite over ‘unpaid’ bills

A WEALTHY doctor's wife is going head-to-head with a prominent luxury builder in court over a $650,000 bill.

Talk of the Town can reveal Louise Morton, 48, from Holland Park, is being sued in Brisbane District Court by Kelvin Grove high-end builder Thallon Mole Group Pty Ltd.

Ms Morton hired Thallon Mole to build her house for $4.8 million on December 20, 2016, and the contract price was later reduced to $4.4 million in March this year, and Mrs Morton now claims the contract price is now just $4 million.

The modern steel-framed two-storey home was designed by Fortitude Valley firm Tim Stewart Architects, according to court documents.

It was built on the site of a large old home Mrs Morton purchased for $1.8 million in 2012, then knocked down, property records show.

 

Louise Morton
Louise Morton

 

Thallon is claiming $637,108 under a building contract for work on Morton's three-storey house with pool on Otway St, plus a further $21,770 for late changes to wardrobe and ensuite cabinetry, court documents state.

Thallon claims that a 152-day delay was triggered by problems with high-end sliding doors - each 2.8m high - on the main kitchen level of the house, which were changed from one European designer brand worth $48,000 to another brand after the supplier could not supply them.

"The newly selected door was not readily available," court documents state.

"A dispute developed over the costing pursuant to the contract," Thallon says in its claim.

Thallon argues Mrs Morton is responsible for the 152-day delay for the sliding doors, and disputes her claim that it should have to deduct $15,000 damages from its invoices.

 

Louise Morton with husband James
Louise Morton with husband James

 

There was another dispute over the style of pool balustrade should be installed and over the waterproofing of the tiling in the garden terrace.

Mrs Morton claimed a $19,000 deduction from her bill for this, court documents state.

She also claimed a $10,000 fee reduction for "nonconforming pool decking" and $2000 for issues with the epoxy flooring.

In total, court documents state, the contracted cost for windows, external doors and blinds was $368,483.

And further changes were made with nine glass inserts installed in the overhead doors in the "butler's pantry", court documents state.

Mrs Morton is married to oncologist Anthony James Pye Morton.

She filed a defence and counter-claim on September 13, denying she is responsible for the building delays and claiming Thallon owes her $344,134 in "recourse to the retention monies" or damages in the same amount, plus $17,710 in liquidated damages.

She accuses Thallon of breaching the construction contract by failing to carry out work in a skilful way with reasonable care and failing to supply good quality materials, and by claiming the house would be ready for her family to move in when it was finished work.

She alleges the house was only ready to be lived in on August 9, four months after the construction contract was terminated, her defence pleading states.

She claims the delay meant she missed out on $32,000 in rental income she could have earned on her old house on Prenzler St in Mt Gravatt.

She alleges she had to pay Hutchinson Builders more than $200,000 to fix Thallon's defective work.

No future court date has been set.

 

The house on Otway St, Holand Park
The house on Otway St, Holand Park