Yesterday this ad appeared in the Canberra Times:
In this letter Koomarri says they did not know the new owners would evict the residents. President John Mackay says the organisation’s understanding of the sale contract was that it sold the caravan park as a gong concern and that there is a purpose clause in the lease that restricts this. He also says the controversy has “unfairly damaged” Koomarri’s reputation and that he takes personal responsibility for the “unforseen outcomes”.
In response to this, Josip Zivko, new owner of a caravan park, told the Canberra Times that of course Koomarri knew the tenants would be evicted. He said he asked the organisation’s solicitors to tell the residents about this in February when the sale was being discussed. He also said he has evidence that Koomarri knew (presumably minutes of meetings or similar).
Mr Zivkos says 65 per cent of the park’s tenants are behind with thier rent, and it would not be viable to let the other regular payers remain. He is happy to meet with the residents to discuss the situation.
The Canberra Times put it to Mr Mackay that he possibly could have guessed what was going to happen from the name of the new owners — Consolidated Builders Limited (as suggested by Big Al elsewhere). However the Koomarri president said “the key issue was that the lease purpose clause could not be changed without approval” and that “the name of the company is irrelevant”.
Mr Zivko said, “What we [Consolidated Builders Ltd] do is we invest in property. That is what our business is about, and the day we buy a block of land is not necessarily the same day we know what is going to happen.”
The ABC is carrying more comments from Greens MLA Deb Foskey, this time saying the cost of the caravan park’s closure will be borne by ACT taxpayers. She wants the government to do a cost-benefit analysis for the ACT community of selling the land (one would think it may be too late for this?).