30 Mar 2011

Hapu sues Latimer over consultancy fees

1:05 pm on 30 March 2011

A Northland hapu is suing former leader Sir Graham Latimer for consultancy fees it says he should never have been paid.

Sir Graham, who is 85 and in fragile health, played a leading role in negotiating a $13 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement for his adopted hapu, Te Uri o Hau, in 2000.

The hapu's settlement trust says Sir Graham and another trust director, Russell Kemp, later received $250,000 for consultancy services over a $20 million land deal.

The fees were paid by the hapu's joint venture partner, the New Zealand Land Trust, in connection with the purchase of Te Uri o Hau forestry land at Mangawhai.

The settlement trust says as directors, Sir Graham and Mr Kemp were already being paid for their advice and should not have received the extra fees.

Sir Graham's lawyers Chen Palmer have filed a statement of defence claiming that the trust agreed to pay the fees and that both directors acted honestly and reasonably.

The case will be heard in the High Court in Whangarei on Monday.