WELLINGTON commercial real estate agent Chris Gollins has been found guilty of disgraceful conduct for backdating an agency agreement for a land sale.
The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal upheld the charge following a complaint from Colliers International, whom Gollins worked for at the time the deal was done.
Gollins, had done a lot of work for the Foodstuffs, and acted as agent for the sale of land for a proposed new supermarket in Whitby, near Wellington.
He had a verbal agreement with Foodstuffs property managers Wayne O’Styke and Mark Lash in 2010 under which he was to be paid 2.5 per cent commission.
The land deal was signed in September 2010 conditional on the supermarket development gaining resource consent.
Two years later when the consent was granted O’Styke’s replacement, Martin Price, questioned Gollins’s draft invoice for $114,000 in commission.
Concerned that he was not going to be paid, Gollins prepared an agency agreement, confirming the 2.5 per cent fee and backdated it to 2010.
The agreement was signed by O’Styke who was aghast that Gollins was not going to be paid.
Gollins later sought support from Colliers management.
But after admitting he backdated the agency agreement, the company took disciplinary action, dismissed him and referred the matter to the Real Estate Agents Authority.
The tribunal said Gollins tried to deceive Price or Foodstuffs to obtain his commission.
Attempting to pass off an agreement signed two years after the event would be considered by members of the public and agents of good standing as disgraceful conduct
The tribunal also found him guilty of unsatisfactory conduct,
However he was found not guilty on two other charges of recklessly contravening the Real Estate Agents Act or of serious incompetence or negligence.
A penalty has not yet been set.
Commenting on the decision, Gollin said “What I did was dumb, not dodgy.”
“Two former Foodstuffs executives gave evidence that every dollar claimed was correctly owed to me and should have been paid, after more than four year’s work earning it.
“Most fair-minded people won’t miss the absurdity of Foodstuffs, NZ’s second largest company, benefiting from regulations designed to protect consumers,” he said.
Source: The Dominion Post Page B5. 4 February 2015