Thursday, November 26, 2020 – 8:00 p.m.
LAWYERS representing disgruntled members of The Pines Club attempted Thursday to show that auto tycoon Peter Kwee’s Exklusiv Resorts company had no intention of informing club members that property developer Oxley Holdings was over with the purchase in March 2013 the club’s Stevens Road had started.
On the third day of the Pines club’s hearing, Jeffrey Leong, who served as the club’s general manager between 2008 and 2018, stood as a witness for co-defendants Kwee and his company.
Under questioning, Mr. Leong said he was on the club’s premises on Saturday morning when news of Oxley’s purchase hit the headlines when several members asked him about the impact of the sale after reading about it. He told the court that a month and a half later, members called the membership department to inquire about the sale.
Mr. Leong said he received a call from Mr. Kwee informing him that despite the sale of the club’s property, members could rest assured that “the club is still there and managed by Exclusive Resorts”.
Mr. Kwee also told him that no club employee would be unemployed.
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However, when Mr Leong was asked by plaintiffs’ attorney, Lau Kah Hee, if he had spoken to Mr Kwee about the need to make a notice to the board or otherwise inform the members, he said it was not Case.
In relation to the 2012 dialogue with club members, Mr. Leong was asked if any pictures he had received from AM Architects about Mr. Kwee contained information about the dimensions of the clubhouse. he should include these images in his presentation. Mr. Leong said he couldn’t remember.
Nor could he remember whether the plans at the time were for a three- or four-story clubhouse. He said he assumed the new clubhouse would be big enough for the members.
However, he stressed that these plans are preliminary and that the aim of the dialogue is to get feedback from the 91 members present. He therefore decided not to distribute the slides to members who did not appear for the meeting.
The defendants’ attorney, Foo Xian Fong, asserted in his opening speech that there was no breach of contract, fraud or negligence. In the area of deception, he wanted to show that the defendants had full intentions to continue working on the site, but later instructions from the urban development agency made it impossible for them to do so.
He also wanted to show that the fact that the sale was publicly known meant that the defendants were not hiding it from club members. Judge Chua Lee Ming pointed out, however, that third parties (such as the media) posting news of the sale were “not the same” as the defendants, who specifically informed members about it.
This was exacerbated by the fact that the land was sold with no guarantee of protecting the interests of club members; Oxley was under no obligation to Exclusively to build a new clubhouse. Nor was it required to rent a room back. Two hotels are now on the property.
The defendants are represented by Rajah & Tann; Plaintiffs – now 170 – are represented by BC Lim & Lau LLC.
The hearing will continue on Monday.