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August 09 Edition Cover

Watergate claims dismissed

03 May 2018

By Lina Le

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on April 20 struck out a series of conflict of interest allegations against the Watergate owners’ corporation (OC) and associated individuals.

Lot owner Anton Sare made a number of claims against the OC, its chair Barbara Francis and its strata manager Kingston Management Group.

Mr Sare claimed conflicts of interest, alleging the parties had not disclosed their association with We Live Here Movement Ltd to lot owners, and signed a contract for the building’s security service with a company owned by an employee of the OC.

“It is not inconceivable that funds from this contract that have been directed into WLHM but I do not know that. Conflict of interest is one whether it is a matter of fact or a matter of perception,” Mr Sare said.

But Tribunal Member Mr Hugh Davies said: “The mere statement that people are in conflict because they belong to some other organisation, in this case, WLHM, cannot stand as we know there is nothing here that indicates what the activities of that movement are which would constitute conflict.”

Another claim alleged that the OC had acted dishonestly as it did not inform all lot owners that a ballot had been extended beyond its closure date.

But a lawyer representing the respondents, Anthony Wilkinson, said: “To make the allegation of dishonesty, my understanding of the law is that he must have pleaded actual facts of the dishonest statement. That was not spelled out [in the application].”

Mr Davies considered all arguments presented by the applicant and decided that there was no merit for a reinstatement claim. In his view, the applicant did not provide sufficient evidence to support his claims.

Mr Sare was advised to make a new application if he wanted to pursuit these matters in the future.

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