The executor of Brendan Horan's mother's will has given up trying to retrieve money allegedly misappropriated by Horan, and instead the MP will receive a share of the estate.
Fairfax Media has learnt that a settlement has been reached between family members, and that Horan, who had been accused by two siblings of using their mother Olwen Horan's bank cards without permission over many years, would get $40,000.
It was understood the executor, Olwen Horan's nephew John Buckthought, decided enough money had been eaten up by legal fees and a forensic investigation, and the estate should be settled before it was wiped out completely.
Fairfax Media understood more than $100,000 had been spent on the forensic investigation and lawyers, including fees to defend an unsuccessful court action by Horan aimed at having Buckthought removed as executor.
Buckthought said he could not comment. Horan also declined to comment.
The settlement comes a year after the Sunday Star-Times first revealed that Olwen Horan had signed a codicil amendment to her will a month before she died authorising Buckthought to retrieve money loaned to Horan and his sister Marilyn Bleackley or "taken by misadventure".
Olwen Horan had won a $1m Australian lottery in 1999, but her bank balance went from $259,000 to less than $3000 before she died in August last year.
Bank statements showed Olwen Horan's cards were used all over the North Island, at petrol stations, supermarkets, liquor outlets and for accommodation, and that tens of thousands of dollars were withdrawn from ATMs and banks using her eftpos and credit cards.
Brendan Horan's half-brothers, Mana Ormsby and Peter Horan, accused him of spending much of the money on horses, but Horan said his mother was a big spender who liked to bet at the TAB herself.
He agreed he had used her cards on occasions to pick up groceries and get cash for her, but never used them without permission and always provided a receipt.
A preliminary report by BDO Spicers raised concerns about a number of suspicious transactions, but the Star-Times understands more money would have been required to dig deeper.
It is understood Brendan Horan's payout from the estate will be the same as Ormsby and Bleackley's shares. The money comes from the proceeds of the sale of Olwen Horan's home in Mt Maunganui.
After the allegations became public last year, Winston Peters told Parliament Horan had been expelled from New Zealand First after he received "substantive information" that meant he no longer had confidence in him.
It was later revealed Horan used a parliamentary phone to regularly call a TAB bet line.
Horan has stayed on in Parliament as an independent.
While the settlement closes one chapter of the saga, which has torn the family apart and by Horan's own admission left his political career "in tatters", it may not be over. Family members are considering taking further legal action.
JOURNEY TO SETTLEMENT
November, 2012: The Sunday Star-Times reveals Olwen Horan had signed an amendment to her will before she died asking her executor to retrieve money loaned to her children Brendan Horan and Marilyn Bleackley or "taken by misadventure".
December, 2012: Leader Winston Peters expels Horan from NZ First. It is revealed Horan was using a parliamentary phone to call a TAB bet line regularly.
December 9: Horan reported to have offered to pay $25,000 back to his mother's estate to settle the dispute, but the offer was rejected as too low. Horan denies he made the offer. The paper also reveals investigators are looking at cheques totalling $180,000 with "questionable" signatures.
December 16: Details revealed of Olwen Horan's accounts. They show that her cards were being used all over the North Island, at petrol stations, supermarkets, liquor outlets and for accommodation, and that tens of thousands of dollars were withdrawn from ATMs and banks using her eftpos and credit cards.
October, 2013: Settlement is reached, under which Brendan Horan will receive a share of his mother's estate.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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