Property dispute ends in $374,880 pay-out

TWO couples have learnt the hard way not to mix business with family.

A married couple has been ordered to pay more than $300,000 to family members following a court battle over ownership of a farm at Esk, north of Ipswich.

The dispute started in 2002, when Salvatore and Maria Condo tried to sell their property.

However, after Mr Condo spoke with Tien Nguyen, the pair came to an agreement to own the property together.

The men were linked through family connections, and the Condos agreed to sell half of the property to Mr Nguyen and Ms Dang for $140,000.

In a judgment handed down in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Justice Debra Mullins said the arrangement was that Mr Nguyen would move to the farm, establish a vineyard and improve it.

"One of the reasons Mr Condo 'put' Mr Nguyen on the Esk property was that he was a hard worker," the judgment said.

Mr Nguyen argued he did not agree to give the Condos half of the proceeds from vegetable sales.

Mr Nguyen paid Mr Condo $40,000 to establish the vines, $15,000 for a tractor and $23,000 for other equipment.

Mr Nguyen and Ms Dang also spent more than $67,000 on chemicals and $25,550 on the mortgage.

Justice Mullins said the relationship between the couples broke down when the parties failed to get to the next stage of their arrangement to share income and expenses.

She said this occurred because the defendants, Mr and Mrs Condo, did not transfer a one-half interest in the property to the plaintiffs.

Justice Mullins ordered the Condos to pay the other couple $374,880. - APN NEWSDESK

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