Making sense of the snake pit that is WPRFU v Flyt
SPOTLIGHT: Court cases are always snake pits and gladiatorial, as the opposing camps go head to head.
The Western Province Rugby Football Union versus Flyt/Dreamworld stand-off is no different.
The militant and pugnacious nature of the communications in Newlands saga – since the first Flyt bomb dropped back in December – means this is going to be loathsome and unsavoury to the bitter end.
Or perhaps this is just how good/aggressive lawyers do their jobs.
Last month, in an eight-page letter from the WPRFU’s lawyers – to the clubs, employees and stakeholders – Korbers Inc pulled no punches.
The in-your-face tone of the letter makes it clear this is going to be a lengthy and costly battle.
There are claims of ‘defective service’ and suggestions that the case by Dreamworld, the plaintiff, is already unravelling.
Because the ‘Term Sheet’ was never concluded by Dreamworld, but signed between WPRFU & Flyt, Korbers believe Dreamworld is only entitled to about ZAR113-million (the loan amount and interest), rather than the more than ZAR145-million (loan amount, interest, raising fee, damages and costs) they are claiming.
Wading through the eight pages of legal jargon, it becomes clear there are several ‘technical’ issues at play – a smorgasbord that will confuse most.
Korbers are adamant that the ‘errors’ in the contract – which they are using as their defence – are the making of Dreamworld.
Flyt CEO Zane de Decker, in response to questions from @rugby365com, is equally adamant that the claim by Dreamworld – an associated company within the Flyt Group – is valid.
“It is perplexing that the union [WPRFU] accepts that it received the money from Dreamworld to settle the Remgro and Investec debts, but doesn’t give any clarity on how it intends to repay the money it received,” De Decker told this website.
“If, as the Union suggests, the loan agreement is not valid, then on what possible basis is it holding on to the millions it received?
“If the agreement is invalid, which we dispute, then surely it must immediately pay back the money it received from Dreamworld.”
The Flyt boss also set out to clear up the issue of the Flyt and Dreamworld affiliation – a sticky point for the WPRFU legal team.
“The relationship between Dreamworld and Flyt is simple,” De Decker said.
“Dreamworld advanced the loan to the union to enable it to settle its historical debt to Remgro and Investec.
“Flyt was to be the development partner of the union in the Brookside and Newlands planned developments.
“The union owes Dreamworld both the loan amount and interest on it, as well as the development charge.
“The Union also owes Flyt the damages it has suffered as a result of the union’s breach of the term sheet on the planned development partnership.”
He added they are still in the “early stages” of exchanging papers, before getting a court date and that Flyt has not yet filed any court papers.
De Decker also addressed another issue that was mentioned in the Korbers papers – in the claim of ‘defective service’ – that the summons had to be ‘reserved.
“The initial summons was served on the union’s attorney, Simeon Korber, which is common and collegial practice.
“Bizarrely, Mr Korber subsequently told our attorneys that he may not be in a position to act for the union after all, and instead requested the summons be served on the Union itself.
“This was duly done.”
He concluded that Dreamworld still holds mortgage bonds over the union’s properties, because it advanced money to the union to settle its debts.
“The mortgage bonds secure repayment of the debt in the usual way a bank or lender holds a bond over the property of a borrower,” De Decker said.
Expect many more ‘explanations’ from both sides, as the court date nears and the case eventually gets underway.
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