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Legal blue brews at Strutters

A LEGAL battle is brewing behind the scenes at Rockhampton's Strutters Nightclub.

The club's owner, Breffny Investments, has accused Kevin Gregory McLean, of mismanaging the high-profile night spot during the final few months of last year when it says he operated the venue.

A claim for damages was lodged with the Rockhampton District Court last week, which includes allegations that a $4400 stuffed crocodile, statues of giraffes, elephants and African women and a small water fountain have been removed from the club.

Breffny is claiming more than $150,000 for negligence and/or breach of contract and close to $20,000 for damages of property.

Mr McLean yesterday said he was not aware of the claim until contacted by The Morning Bulletin and he would be defending the allegations which the paper put to him.

He said there were two sides to a story and declined to comment further.

The claim alleges that towards the end of September, Mr McLean entered into a partly oral/partly written agreement with a director of Breffny to operate the business.

It says on October 6 he then entered into a second, written agreement to buy the business from Breffny.

The claim says the terms of the oral agreement included Mr McLean taking possession and operating the premises in the same manner as it was by Breffny, until the club was purchased by Mr McLean.

It alleges that when Mr McLean began operating the business, property on the premises included the stuffed crocodile, more than $1000 worth of statues, wall paintings, vases, a small water fountain, CD players, a $4400 projector and more than $1000 worth of glassware.

On December 16 it's claimed the defendant vacated the premises and ceased to operate the business pursuant to the first agreement and wrote to Breffny to terminate the second agreement.

It's alleged that without Breffny's consent that between September and December the property was intentionally removed and dealt with in a manner inconsistent with Breffny's rights.

In February the company says it made lawful demand for the return of the property and the cost of repair work for the reinstatement of the premises.

"The defendant knew that the plaintiff operated the business before it began operating ... and could reasonably foresee that mismanagement of the business by the defendant should it cease to operate would result in a loss of patrons to the business; damage to the reputation of the plaintiff's business and reduc(ing) the profitability of the business."

It said the premises were left in a dilapidated condition when it was vacated, such that the business was not in a condition to trade until December 21.

Detailed particulars in the claim include broken toilets, removal of a fire wall, incomplete modifications, removed light fittings and damaged walls.

The claim says it has cost more than $45,000 to repair the damages and reinstate the premises, with a further estimated $20,000 worth of work still to be done.



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