Penny Bright ordered to pay another $13k
Political activist and mayoral candidate Penny Bright has been ordered to pay $13,000 to Auckland Council to contribute to costs it incurred taking her to court over unpaid rates.
The Auckland District Court made the ruling today, just months after it ruled Ms Bright must pay the $34,000 she has amassed in rates bills since 2007.
But Ms Bright tells NBR she will be laying a complaint with the Law Society, as the council is claiming legal compensation for work that was not undertaken by lawyers.
“I’m concerned about the competence of Auckland Council’s lawyers. If you’re claiming legal fees, the work should be done by a trained lawyer,” she says.
According to the judgment, Ms Bright resisted the order on a number of grounds, including the fact documents filed weren’t signed by a solicitor.
She referred to herself as an “anti-corruption whistleblower,” which was deemed irrelevant by Judge Gary Harrison, who acknowledged the original claim was signed by Auckland Council senior billing and credit manager Joanne Lanigan.
“The information capsule describes the council’s solicitor as John Anthony Hilario of Auckland Council Legal Services but he has not signed the information capsule,” the judgment says.
Asked if she would pay the bill, Ms Bright ducks the question, saying she is still in the process of appealing several decisions.
Auckland Council says if she refuses to repay her rates, Ms Bright's house may be subject to a ratings sale order by the High Court at Auckland.
It was reported last year the council has already spent more than $100,000 on lawyers to fight a defamation claim laid by Ms Bright but she offered to settle for an apology and payment of $10,000.
Today's payment order is in addition to Ms Bright’s rates bill.
Read the judgment here.