In Nieuw Zeeland is een hotelier, Glenn Schaeffer die ook de Mahana Estates Winery in Nelson bezat, veroordeeld tot een schadevergoeding van 3.3 miljoen Nieuw Zeelandse dollars omdat hij twee investeerders heeft misleid. De rechtszaak heeft vijf jaar geduurd. Schaeffer liet voor het hof van appèl weten dat hij eerder met de dood was bedreigd. Thedrinksbusiness meldt:
Glenn Schaeffer, the former owner of the Mahana Estates winery in Nelson, has lost his appeal against an earlier ruling and must pay two Las Vegas businessmen NZ$3.3 million.
Schaeffer, an American-born former hotelier, was accused of misleading two former Las Vegas business partners over their investment in his New Zealand winery.
This week’s ruling follows a five-year legal battle, which has seen Mahana Estates placed into receivership and subsequently be bought by an investment company and a family-owned winery.
James Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, and Daniel Lee, CEO of Palms hotel-casino in Las Vegas, first brought their case to the New Zealand High Court in 2015.
The pair invested a total of NZ$2.3m in the winery, believing they were to become partners in the business and shareholders. They claimed Schaeffer did not use their investments as was promised.
During the bitter dispute, Schaeffer alleged that one of the men had threatened to bury him in the desert, destroy his childrens’ lives and kill his three dogs unless he returned his money.
Mahana Estates was put up for sale in July 2018 and went into receivership in September, after no buyer was found.
In December of that year, following a 10-day hearing, Justice David Collins ruled that Schaeffer had made misleading statements to the pair and ordered him to pay $3.3m to the two Las Vegas executives.
In January last year, it was announced that investment firm Booster had acquired most of the estate, adding to its portfolio of wine estates which include Awatere River, Waimea Estates, Bannock Brae and Sileni Estates.
Family-run Seifried Estate bought Mahana’s 9-hectare Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in the nearby region of Hope, south of Nelson.
Schaeffer subsequently launched an appeal against the 2018 ruling, arguing that the judge should have applied Nevada rather than New Zealand law in his case.
However, as reported by the New Zealand Herald, the Court of Appeal agreed with the earlier decision. In the ruling delivered this week, Justice Denis Clifford dismissed Schaeffer’s appeal and ordered him to pay the money owed’.