Hangar dispute earns man $7500 fine

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 15:36 04/04/2013
Mike Garnham
Fairfax NZ

PARKING FINE: Mike Garnham with his Cessna Citation Mustang plane.

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A Wellington lawyer's US$3m private jet has earned him a $7500 parking ticket after he lost a case over disputed hangar fees.

Mike Garnham, who last year bought Terry Serepisos' ASB Bank Tower for $22 million, owned two Cessna Citation Mustang light jets through his company Acernus Aero.

Acernus Aero has been ordered by the High Court in Wellington to pay $7510.95 to Vincent Aviation, an air charter and air transport company.

Garnham's jets were alternatively housed at Vincent Aviation's Wellington hangar, in an agreement originally entered into for $1666.67 a month, excluding GST, for a single jet.

Garnham and fellow Acernus principal, Wellington lawyer Andrew Fawcett, used the jet privately but also wanted to charter flights with it.

To do so, however, the aircraft required an air operator's certificate, for which Vincent added the jet to its own certificate.

The agreement allowed both parties to charter flights, a service Acernus charged at an hourly $2500 rate.

The main dispute, however, arose when Vincent proposed an increase in hangarage fees to $8000 a month, which Acernus rejected.

On April 8, 2011, Vincent proposed a slightly lower fee of $7000 a month, to which Acernus did not respond, but continued to use the hangar and charter flights.

The $7000 comprised $3000 for rent, and a further $4000 for the use of Vincent's AOC, air operator's certificate.

The company made no payments after May 2011, and in early 2012 Vincent terminated the arrangement, citing non-payment of over $100,000.

Acernus' contended amount of rent, $11,900, was paid at the end of the High Court trial in mid-February.

In his judgement out today, Justice Forrest Miller said he was not satisfied Acernus' continued use of Vincent's services after April 8, 2011 meant they had agreed to the new rates.

"Nor am I persuaded, on the merits, that anything more should be paid."

As such, Justice Miller ruled Vincent was entitled to six weeks of unpaid rent at $2900.

The further $4600 in payments was won by Vincent in unpaid landing charges and Airways fees.

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