Attorney-General Michael Atkinson had approved the sale of the Public Trustee building for $7.6 million in May 2007 two months after Colliers had independently valued the property at $9.37 million.
The sale of the Public Trustee building was an important part of a controversial and complicated property deal between the Rann Government and companies associated with Javier Moll. Mr Moll is a publisher and businessman with significant business investments overseas and in Australia, Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said today.
“The Auditor General is looking at the deal which involved the Rann Government buying the Stock Exchange building from Javier Moll and at the same time selling him the Public Trustee building which was next door to other property interests held by Mr Moll in Franklin Street,” Mr Lucas said.
“In evidence to today’s meeting of the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee, Justice Department Chief Executive Jerome Maguire took on notice a series of questions about the deal.
“In particular, Mr Maguire provided no explanation as to why Attorney-General Atkinson had approved a sale price which was $1.77 million less than the independent valuation by Colliers in March 2007.”
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information revealed the following:
Date Valuer Valuation
Jun-06 Valuer General $8.25 million
Dec-06 Southwick Goodyear $7.60 million
Mar-07 Colliers $9.37 million
16-May-07 Attorney-General Atkinson approved the sale $7.60 million
“Mr Maguire today claimed that the deal was “commercially neutral” for the Public Trustee, but other documents released under Freedom of Information show that over the forward estimates to 2012 there would be a net financial cost to the Public Trustee and budget increases were sought from Treasury as a result of the deal,” Mr Lucas said.
“Mr Maguire also took on notice questions about whether Mr Moll’s companies had agreed to all the requests for capital expenditure upgrades required by the Public Trustee.
“Mr Atkinson should now indicate publicly the reasons why he approved a sale price for this building $1.77 million less than an independent valuation done two months earlier than when he approved the deal on 16 May 2007.”