Blue Chip investors join lawyer

01:43, Jan 31 2009
Blue Chip New Zealand: investors leave a creditors meeting in Christchurch last week. Canterbury investors want barrister Paul Dale to represent them.

Canterbury investors exposed to property investment group Blue Chip have decided Auckland barrister Paul Dale should act on their behalf.

A group of 60 or so "mum-and-dad" investors, worried they will see little return from Auckland-based Blue Chip apartment investments, will now liaise directly with Dale.

The chairman of a committee representing Canterbury Blue Chip investors, Darryl Philpott, said the new dynamic would see a stronger relationship with Dale, rather than to Dale, via Christchurch lawyer Stephen Rennie, of Rhodes & Co.

"We seem to be getting more answers from (Dale) and and clearer direction if you like ... I think Paul's doing a pretty good job. He's right in the thick of it," he said.

Both Rennie and Dale were at a meeting of Canterbury investors on Friday.

Rennie said he would continue to work with Dale on the Blue Chip investigation and preparation of proceedings, and was able to liaise with Canterbury investors if needed.

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Dale's involvement would lead to a more streamlined and cost effective legal approach, Rennie said.

"What has transpired is that Canterbury will join forces with the Auckland group so that common issues can be isolated, and you achieve economies of effort and funding," he said.

Dale was not enamoured with progress made by liquidator Jeff Meltzer, Rennie added. Dale has previously said he was completely dissatisfied by Meltzer's progress in unravelling the complex web of 20 Blue Chip-related companies.

Retiree Helene Philpott - also on the Canterbury committee with son Darryl (a non-investor) - has invested $166,000 in a yet-to-be-built Blue Chip luxury apartment, backed by equity in her Russley home.

Philpott yesterday said many Canterbury investors were already dealing with Dale, who on Friday suggested to the regional group that they "dealt directly with him" and his team.

She was confident Dale would initiate action and get some sort of compensation.

"It is going to come down to litigation, there's no doubt about that. There's more hope of doing something when you've got numbers ..." Philpott said.

"I think we feel pretty confident Paul Dale is the man. He's a very down to earth person, he doesn't mince his words at all, he tells you what it is."

Investors had already given a narrative of their involvement with Blue Chip, but Dale wanted even more detailed information, she said.

"We have to try and remember every little thing, and it is difficult."

Meltzer met the group earlier this month, telling investors they should also get trustworthy financial advice.

Liquidators are trying to recover more than $70 million on behalf of 3000 investors.

About 52 Blue Chip firms are under investigation.

"(Around) $72m has gone astray somewhere and you want to know where it is really. I think foul play is involved here," Darryl Philpott said.

Investors involved in Blue Chip included 1800 apartment owners and more than 700 apartment investments - none helped by an oversupply of apartments in the Auckland market, leading to reduced values.

Dale was not available for comment yesterday.

 

The Press