PALAZZO Versace's general manager fumes she'd rather be "doused in petrol" and set alight than deal with a "barrage of abuse" from wealthy condo owners.

The extraordinary statement is contained in an email from Jane Kingston to condo owner and recruitment millionaire Sarina Russo's lawyer David Ormesher.

It adds fuel to an escalating dispute between condo owners and management of the swanky hotel resort over what they consider excessive management fees.


Sarina Russo.
Sarina Russo.


The latest argument blew up when Mr Ormesher emailed Palazzo Versace general manager Ms Kingston on January 19 complaining condo owners were not notified via the speaker system the cause of a "total blackout" at 12.52am was not because of an emergency such as a fire.

"Owners would reasonably be on alert there may be an emergency situation such as a fire," he said.

"Accordingly, the customary process with commercial and most residential buildings is initially there is advice over the speaker system as to the nature of the outage and of course, any instructions such as to evacuate."


Jane Kingston.
Jane Kingston.


He said Ms Russo was unable to contact security and in the circumstances was left with no choice but to call triple-0 "to verify if they were aware of the nature of the emergency".

"In Sarina's conversations with Triple 0 services, they too confirmed they had tried several times unsuccessfully to contact Versace security," he said.

"Naturally, this is a disappointing response against reasonable expectations. It is appropriate this is duly put on record and a response is provided from the Hotel and/or Body Corporate regarding the non-functioning of the speaker system and the delayed security response."

Security manager Peter Carmody then responded to Ms Kingston, in a message forwarded to Mr Ormesher, that he did not agree the outage was a "significant incident", stating it happened when most residents were asleep.

He said to use the emergency speaker system to inform residents "would amount to be a non-justifiable action taking into account there was in fact no emergency situation causing imminent danger to life or property".

"Guests and residents who were awake at the time, had no problem contacting the security mobile, which is all logged," he said.

"There is no log of your client contacting security. To suggest there was non-functioning of the speaker system and a delayed security response is nothing short of a complete slur upon the integrity of the security department."


Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast. Pics: Adam Head
Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast. Pics: Adam Head


Ms Kingston then sent a message to Mr Ormesher that a requirement to qualify his actions under the gaze of a "critical audience" was becoming tiresome.

"Perhaps instead of the consistent public flogging and interrogation hotel team members including myself are subjected to, it may be easier for you to douse me in petrol and perhaps (body corporate committee member) Nicky Fitzhenry can light the match as it would quite honestly be less painful than the constant barrage of 'abuse' that is received," she said.

Ms Kingston said the hotel was still providing security despite unpaid management fees.

"If this email is a further attempt to discredit the hotel services and operation, it should be noted we are fully aware of some condominium owner's (sic) intent to disengage all hotel services which we have no objection to.



"However, it should be noted this will come at a significant expense to all condominium owners considering the necessary hardware and software that will be required should you discard the hotel services."

The Bulletin made multiple requests to Palazzo Versace for comment but received no response.

A Palazzo Versace owner said there was an ongoing dispute between owners and management over what they considered excessive fees.

"Condo owners are not happy with the level of service," the owner said. "What they are trying to do is make the hotel accountable in terms of its maintenance."

He said that was difficult when the body corporate committee was dominated by the hotel with three representatives to the owners' two.

The dispute has been brewing for months.


Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast. Pics Adam Head
Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast. Pics Adam Head


Last year after the hotel closed due to coronavirus pandemic, staff were stood down, and owners met to air their grievances with the hotel's management.

At the time the hotel's owner - Dong Run Group - issued a statement saying allegations there was a dispute with the owners were "untrue, deliberately hurtful and opportunistic".

It said it had needed to repair storm damage where heavy rain and flooding had damaged the northern and southern wings.

"The hotel is trying to resolve complaints from a minority of condominium owners in order to ensure stable and profitable management for all at Palazzo Versace Gold Coast," the company said.






Originally published as 'Douse me in petrol': Extraordinary email in bitter Versace row