Three days of fame for Hyatt-owning meatworker

Three working days after retired cancer-patient Peter Symes was revealed as the sole owner of Auckland’s Hyatt Regency hotel, business links with his brother-in-law and former South Canterbury Finance director Edward Sullivan were severed.

Mr Symes resigned on October 6 as director of Princes Court Holdings, Elderslie Park, Nerine Properties and Sybil Holdings. Notice of all four resignations was filed to the Companies Office by Florence Smith, who is employed by RSM Law as the legal secretary assigned to Mr Sullivan.

The National Business Review disclosed Mr Symes was acting on the instructions of Mr Sullivan when he became sole owner of the Hyatt Regency for 18 months from February 2009.

Princes Court Holdings owns a commercial building next to the Hyatt, which is subject to a Westpac mortgage. The bank beefed up collateral demands in August, according to security statements filed with the Companies Office.

Elderslie Park owns a supermarket on Timaru’s Church St leased to Woolworths. Sybil Holdings owns a restaurant and used car dealership in the same town.

Nerine Properties was founded by Mr Sullivan and former Scales Corporation director Richard Gaffikin. The latter resigned from Nerine in October 2008 when he was made bankrupt in the Christchurch High Court.

According to documents filed with the Companies Office, Mr Gaffikin’s wife’s company, Tower Junction Motor Lodge, was the recipient of a $1 million loan from Allan Hubbard’s Te Tua Trust, now under statutory management.

Nerine owns 5ha of Manuwatu market gardens and orchards and the property is listed as having mortgages with RSM Law and Cheyne Finance.

The latter company, owned Mr Sullivan and other partners at RSM Law, was listed in a December 2008 South Canterbury prospectus as being the recipient of a $18.6m related-party loan.

Mr Symes who worked at Canterbury Frozen Meats for 42 years, including two decades as a seller of meat by-products, was unavailable for comment.

Mr Sullivan declined to respond to question concerning the involvement of My Symes in owning the Hyatt, his brother-in-law’s recent and abrupt resignations and Cheyne Finance.

“It is inappropriate for me, a former director of SCF, to respond to any of the questions you ask,” Mr Sullivan said.

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