By ERWIN CHLANDA
Updated 19:20 CST Feb 14
Darryl Pearce, who was recently sacked as the CEO of companies which are carrying out the Mt Johns real estate development, apparently still has a hand in the multi million dollar project.
He is the secretary of Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd which – directly or indirectly – appears to be the owner of all the entities bearing a name including the words Lhere Artepe, the town’s native title organisation.
This includes the private companies tied up in the multi-million dollar Mt Johns development.
But late today, Michael Liddle (pictured), listed as a director of Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd, said: “I have never signed an agreement to join the company’s board.
“The board has never met. As far as I know, there are other directors in the same position as me.”
Mr Liddle says: “It was not until three weeks ago that I was informed that Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd was the most powerful entity, and that’s when alarm bells started to ring for me.
“It was one of the many entities created during Mr Pearce’s management, and unknown to the majority of members within the estate groups.”
Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd was first registered on December 11, 2008.
Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd owns Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd which in turn owns LAE Nominees Pty Ltd to which last week titles to 27 blocks were issued by the government. Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd is owned in equal shares by the three native title estate groups of Alice Springs who are represented by Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC).
Mr Liddle says all this is news to the majority of the native title holders.
He says because of the lack of knowledge about the many private companies that were created, members are “bewildered by the complicated business arrangements, and they don’t like being involved in the ongoing stressful disputes”.
The Mt Johns deal was the result of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) between the NT Government and LAAC. In exchange for the extinguishment of native title over a block in Mt Johns Valley, between the golf course and the ranges, LAAC received freehold title over 7.2 hectares, about half the land. The ILUA states that LAAC nominated LAE Nominees Pty Ltd as the company to carry out the project. That company has now received the titles.
Covering single and multi-dwelling blocks, they are worth an estimated $14m. However, prominent native title holders query whether there was proper process within LAAC to authorize the nomination of LAE Nominees Pty Ltd, an issue that is part of a virulent and protracted dispute between native title holders.
The NT Government’s “Mt Johns Valley Covenants – Terms and Conditions” issued last week say: “The Traditional Owners of the Mparntwe, Irlpme and Antulye Estate groups who make up the Native Title Holders of the Alice Springs Region as represented by Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, through an agreement with the Northern Territory Government, are the developers of the Mt Johns Valley Estate.” But senior native title figures in LAAC say they have no control over the Pty Ltd entities created with the Lhere Artepe name.
LAAC has cut ties with Mr Pearce, who acted as the CEO of LAAC “under contract” with Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd. And LAAC replaced president Brian Stirling with Ian McAdam. But not only is Mr Pearce the secretary of Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd, Mr Stirling is still on the board of that company which – it appears – is the ultimate owner of all assets of the Lhere Artepe group. The Alice Springs News Online understands that no matter how the deal between LAAC and the NT Government came into being, the land titles that have now been issued cannot be challenged. The construction cost of the subdivision is not known.
It is believed that development costs were high, in part because of complex drainage systems required on the site at the bottom of the ranges’ northern slope. A company engaged in the construction, CDE Civil, of which LAE Nominees Pty Ltd was the largest shareholder, was put into liquidation.
PHOTO: Current advertising promoting the land as “re-released” after considerable delays.