Mayor pays $750k for rural land
MAYOR Tom Tate paid $750,000 for two blocks of land near Beaudesert which could help his former media adviser Simone Holzapfel out of a tight spot with a mortgagee.
Cr Tate added the 6.4ha at Gleneagle to his register of interests last week, after the sales were settled on August 20.
One block, the smaller of the two at 1.46ha, was purchased through one of the Mayor's companies, Noblecote Pty Ltd, while he bought the 5.84ha parcel in his own name with wife Ruth.
The land was owned by Bromelton Paddock, a company linked to former Tate staffer and prominent political lobbyist Ms Holzapfel, her husband Matt Robinson and colourful Sydney businessman Jim Byrnes.
The couple and their companies have been locked in two court battles with mortgage holder Weldev Capital, which claims it is owed more than $1.5 million and is seeking possession of the couple's 126ha Gleneagle property, claiming they defaulted on the mortgage agreement. The couple is defending the claims.
Cr Tate yesterday said he planned to allow cattle to graze on his new properties, next to the disputed land, and accused the Gold Coast Bulletin of "malice" for asking questions about the issue.
"It's a private matter and the land is outside the city," he said in an email via his media adviser.
Court documents show Ms Holzapfel and Mr Robinson were hoping the sale of their land to Cr Tate would cover a payment to Weldev Capital but that the lender initially refused to release its mortgage over the blocks.
The mortgage on those blocks has been released, however the dispute is ongoing for the remainder of the land. The Bulletin has contacted the couple for comment.
Court documents reveal Ms Holzapfel and Mr Robinson took out the Weldev mortgage on their land so they could repay most of a $1.2 million debt to billionaire developer Bob Ell.
Ms Holzapfel's PR firm Shac Communications worked on a campaign backed by Mr Ell to convince the NSW Government to build the new Tweed Hospital at his Kings Forest development.
Neither Ms Holzapfel nor her company Shac Communications is registered to lobby on behalf of Mr Ell.
Shac is the subject of Federal Court wind-up action over a $129,000 tax debt, with
a hearing into that case adjourned last week and set to be heard on October 5.
The couple have multiple mortgages on parts of their Gleneagle land, including two registered on the largest block, which was the venue for their wedding, attended by the Mayor, last year.
As well as the $1.38 million loan from Weldev against that block, Sydney firm Lehne Investments has a second mortgage over it, relating to a $1.05 million loan.
Weldev and Lehne also have mortgages over a neighbouring 4.6ha block where Bromelton Paddock has applied to build a 50-lot housing estate.
Mortgage documents show Lehne loaned Bromelton another $1.05 million in January to secure that mortgage under a six-month loan with interest rates up to 20 per cent.
A third financier, AET Corporate Trust, also holds caveats on the land with the development application on it, claiming they hold an unregistered mortgage for it.
Lehne Investments director Walter Lehne, 75, is a previous director of a company called OrgasmCD, which in 2000 released a compilation called "Come Again" featuring 69 sound effects gleaned from porno films.
The Mayor has recorded his material interest in seven properties, ranging from his riverfront home and neighbouring land at Bundall, which is on the market and could reach $9 million, to a run-down three-bedroom home near the Nerang train station he bought last year for $430,000.