Former worker seeks money owed

The former Molyneux Park groundsman Richard McAlevey had his employer placed into liquidation at the Dunedin High Court yesterday as he continues his fight to get money owed to him over an unjustifiable dismissal.

Mr McAlevey was employed by the Molyneux Park Charitable Trust in Alexandra from August 2005 until November 2009 and had claimed he had been unjustifiably dismissed. The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) upheld his claim and awarded him $10,000 in compensation for hurt and humiliation and an undisclosed sum, equal to three months' pay in September.

The following month, it also awarded costs of $3932.51 to Mr McAlevey. In a statement of claim, Mr McAlevey, through his lawyer Kieran Tohill, claimed a total of $26,432.51 from the trust. The document lists the undisclosed sum worth three months' pay as $12,500. Trust administrator Mark Tait was unsure how much money Mr McAlevey would be able to recover from the trust, but said it had ''just under $1000'' in its bank account and that was its only asset.

While disappointed it had got to the point of a liquidation order, Mr Tait said it would provide some ''closure'' to what had been a lengthy process and allow the trust - which is no longer operating - to ''wind up its affairs''.

He understood why Mr McAlevey took the proceedings, but felt it could have been dealt with through negotiation, as opposed to the courtroom.

The trustees had resolved to wind up the trust about August 2011, but that could not officially be done while there were things relating to the trust before the court - the Employment Relations Authority and now the High Court. Mr McAlevey would not comment on how much he expected to receive.

He said he took the proceedings to ensure everything was ''done properly and above board'' and ''nothing improper'' had happened at the trust.

No-one from the trust had approached him to discuss the issue and he had not been offered any money, he said.

When it operated, the trust was funded by the Central Otago District Council, which administers the park, and through various other grants. Since the trust ceased operating, the council had taken over management of the park and appointed a maintenance contracting company.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz