Melton, Australia -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/26/2012 -- Recently, an article appeared in ‘The Age’ regarding a VCAT dispute involving Dona Homes Victoria Pty. Ltd. (formerly Dona Homes (Vic) Pty Ltd (“DHV”). Domenic Ambrogio, on behalf of Dona Homes (Aust) Pty Ltd, an Australian-based company, said he believes the article is misleading.
As Ambrogio noted, the dispute and judgment referred to in the article has nothing to do with Dona Homes (Aust) Pty Ltd, which is a company owned and operated by Anthony Ambrogio, Domenic’s son. He has followed in his father’s footsteps to become a builder, and he intended to expand on the family business by creating Dona Homes Australia to honour his father and the proud reputation Dona Homes has in the building industry. They are two separate companies, and Anthony is hoping to continue to build on his family’s 35 years of experience of building homes in Melbourne.
“The article was titled ‘Developer awarded 2.2m dollars in shonky building dispute.’ This title appears to be an attempt to sensationalise the dispute and misinforms the readers,” Ambrogio said.
“This should have been made clear by ‘The Age’. I'm very distressed that the newspaper has chosen to write and publish an article that fails to give the reader a clear understanding of the circumstances of the dispute involving DHV and companies associated with Mr. Alfred Galea.”
For example, Ambrogio noted, the VCAT judgment referred to in the article was only obtained after DHV withdrew from the case due to the massive cost associated with running the court case, at the same time as attempting to recover money owing to DHV by companies associated with Galea. The failure to pay DHV, he added, forced DHV to stop trading due to lack of funds.
In addition, Ambrogio pointed out that VCAT was informed at the Direction Hearing where DHV discontinued the proceedings, that DHV had complied with all VCAT requirements and procedures up to that point by providing to VCAT all of DHV’s claims, counter claims and all required documents ready for the hearing.
However, he said, DHV was by then unable to have legal representation to defend the case due to lack of funds. DHV had not received the substantial amount of money it had billed the companies associated with Galea for completed building works. DHV had paid a considerable amount of money to defend its rights through VCAT and it was then expected to fund a lengthy court case, Ambrogio added.
Ambrogio contends that VCAT awarded the Developer’s companies all that they claimed, based on an undefended case.
“It did not have any regard to DHV’s claims and counter claims, this despite the fact DHV had filed expert reports refuting the claims and substantiating the claim for payment in excess of $350,000 from the developer. Not being able to afford to defend you case should not translate into you being liable for the developer's claims especially when there is expert evidence to the contrary.”
Out of pocket, Ambrogio said, DHV paid close to $500,000 due to unpaid claims for completed work that the developer refused to pay. DHV had already spent over $400,000 on legal fees on the case, he said, and in addition to that, the company was requested to deposit the sum of $253,000 in the lawyers’ trust account to cover the legal fees for the upcoming hearing. In the short time frame provided, Ambrogio noted that DHV was unable to raise enough funds to cover the $253,000 imposed by the legal system.
DHV stopped trading in December 2010 and used the limited funds to finalise all existing contracts, pay staff, trades, and suppliers of which most of them had been part of the DHV family for the last 40 years. In addition, Ambrogio said, DHV decided to withdraw from the case, but not because DHV thought it would not have won the dispute.
“There was quite simply no money left to continue defending it after all contracts were seen to their conclusion, and all suppliers, staff, and tradesmen were completely paid. I would like it noted that DHV may have been forced to walk away from defending the case, but would never, and did not walk away from its staff, clients, trades, or suppliers.”
Ambrogio said that Galea stated in ‘The Age’ newspaper article, “I spent $400,000 in fighting the case, if you don't have this kind of money to fight you just walk away.” He pointed out that it is interesting that the amount the developer spent fighting the case is just under the amount he managed not to pay DHV for the completed works.
“I wish to reiterate that all works carried out by DHV whilst it traded as Dona Homes (VIC), have been carried out in accordance with plans and specification and it is compliant with all Australian building codes and regulation,” Ambrogio said, adding that it was the position of DHV that the defects that were the basis of the case brought by the developer were entirely due to work carried out by contractors employed and supervised by Galea after the contract was wrongfully terminated.
“I'm ready, willing, and able to provide written proof to anyone that may be interested in the truth on this matter that has caused, and still is causing, so much damage and grief to a lot of innocent people.”
About Dona Homes
Dona Homes are boutique home builders with over 35 years experience building custom houses both in Melbourne and around the country. The company’s expert building knowledge and workmanship ensures that each home is built with higher quality construction and finer finishes. As luxury home builders, the company does not mass-produce homes; therefore it can provide personalised service at every stage and customise every designer home exactly to its clients’ tastes and preferences. For more information, please visit http://www.donahomes.com.au
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