Salon manager ordered to pay ex-mother-in-law $580,000

Family and money did not mix for the operator of a Wellington hair salon who has been ordered by the court to pay his former mother-in-law more than half a million dollars after a business stoush.

From 2008 Mathew Rankin and his wife, Nicole, ran the Manners St branch of salon GetFunkd with funding for the business from her mother, Catherine Drake, who advanced the couple about $520,000 to be repaid 20 years later.

A High Court judgment issued yesterday shows the salon was successful until a year ago.

The GetFunkd brand was licensed from founder Robert Lahman but the Manners St salon had failed to pay licence fees for a few months. Rankin's marriage to Drake's daughter split up and he left the business, the judgment said.

Rankin had since taken over running another GetFunkd salon, in Dixon St, with backing from his father. Drake took Rankin to court to order him to repay the money advanced for the Manners St salon, which was originally due in 2028.

The matter went before Judge Stephen Kos in the High Court. He ordered that Rankin had to pay $582,492, including interest.

Rankin told The Dominion Post yesterday that he did not want to comment on the matter. "It's between me and her, it's not for the public," he said.

Rankin did not appear in court at the hearing on November 13 which Kos said was "disgraceful".

Lahman said he had no hesitation having Rankin work in another salon that licensed his GetFunkd brand.

"I decided to work with Mathew and grow him as a young businessman and he hasn't let me down yet one year later, which is good. The licence fees are up to date but Mathew is not in charge, his father is," Lahman said.

"Mathew is an intern so he doesn't get paid a wage or salary and his staff are totally behind him . . . the fact the staff have remained working under him shows a great deal of respect.

"I think Cathy and Nicole made it very difficult for him to stay with the business after the marriage ended."

Drake could not be reached yesterday.

The Dominion Post