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Judge orders sale of property at $2.5m
An over decade-long legal dispute between mas band leaders and former business partners Mike “Big Mike” Antoine and Ian McKenzie over ownership of their former mas camp has been resolved.
Delivering an oral judgment in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday, Justice Frank Seepersad set the conditions under which the property, located at the corner of Roberts and Warren Streets in Woodbrook, should be sold and the proceeds divided.
Seepersad ordered that the property be sold at a minimum price of $2.5 million and that both men agree on selecting a real estate agent to sell it. In the event that it is not sold privately, it will be done via public auction.
Seepersad also ordered that both men clear the stamp duty and associated late fees so that the property can be officially transferred to them from its former owner, to effect the eventual sale.
As part of his judgment, Seepersad rejected McKenzie’s bid for compensation for loss of rent for the property, which has been under Antoine’s control since they paid for it in 2007.
Seepersad ruled that McKenzie had not properly established his claim as the clear and undisputed evidence was that it was left unoccupied by Antoine. He also rejected the evidence of both men’s expert witness, who testified over the rental value of the property.
McKenzie’s witness, surveyor Afra Raymond, of Raymond and Pierre, testified that his evaluation of the rental value was $16,000 in 2007 and $18,000 in 2011.
Raymond’s assessment greatly differed from Antoine’s expert—veteran real estate agent Roger Murray— who estimated the rental value as $6,000 in 2007, $6,000 in 2011 and $8,000 for last year.
Seepersad said that Murray failed to show the
Mike “Big Mike” Antoine
Ian McKenzie method he used to calculate the value while Raymond did not produce the prices of similar properties in the area, which were used to calculate his value.
Antoine and McKenzie, the former band leaders of five time Band of the Year winner Legends, first started renting the property in 1995 from its then owner, who held a lease with the Port-of-Spain City Corporation.
Before their relationship went sour in 2004, both men struck a deal to purchase the 30-year lease for $450,000.
However, the transaction could not go through as the owner did not have the requisite approval from the corporation.
While the money was eventually paid in 2007, Antoine testified that he continued to pay the $4,500 a month in rent for the property until the corporation granted approval in 2012.
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