Tuesday 1.00pm: THE dispute over $16 million in assets from the former operator of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter has gone before the Supreme Court.
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Let the courts sort it out
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Tuesday 11.12pm: TWO new parties will be joining the fight for $16 million in assets from the former operator of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
The new operator, Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Limited, is the plaintiff in the case against the previous operator, Northern Region Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) Helicopter Rescue Service Proprietary Limited.
Legal teams for the old and new operators fronted the Supreme Court this morning where the case was adjourned for two weeks to enable the two new parties to join proceedings.
It is understood one of the parties is the North Coast branch of Surf Life-Saving Australia.
The legal representative for the branch, Alister Somerville, declined to comment to The Northern Star.
Given the charitable nature of the funds, the new operator required leave from Attorney General Mark Speakman to continue the proceedings before the court under the Charitable Trusts Act. That leave has now been granted.
The division of the funds has led to the breakdown of talks between the former and new operators of the service.
Chairman of the former operator, Warren Tozer, said he knew nothing about the new operator's move to file the case in the Supreme Court.
"We were a bit disappointed in that area, we were probably entitled to have some conversation prior to that happening but it didn't happen," Mr Tozer said.
"The first we heard of it was when our legal people advised us that the case had been filed."
Mr Tozer said the former operator's company constitution says that any surplus funds should be distributed equally between local charitable organisations determined by the board, and SLSA with a preference to local clubs.
"It's been very clear under our constitution that over the 35 years where we have raised money towards the helicopter that on dissolution that's exactly where it would go," he said.
"It's going to stay within the area where the money was raised."
Mr Tozer said a survey conducted by an outside firm among donating individuals, community groups and sponsors found they understood and agreed with the constitution in regards to the allocation of funds.
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