A farmer who did a runner while owing nearly half a million dollars has been ordered to pay up by a judge.
In a high court ruling, Justice Rob Osborne found that Scott James Donaldson was liable for livestock contracts totalling $470,000 he had signed in 2019 on behalf of his company, which has since gone into liquidation.
Donaldson was the sole director and shareholder of SLD Agriculture Limited, with farming operations in Mid Canterbury and on the West Coast, when he entered into contracts with Progressive Livestock Limited for in-calf heifers.
Donaldson agreed to lease 377 heifers for an annual fee and to purchase at least half the cows at an agreed price at the start of June, 2020, and the balance of cows a year later.
The cows were delivered between April and July, 2019, but Donaldson did not pay the agreed $65,032.50 lease amount in December, 2019, or the $413,655.00 for the sale of 198 cows at the start of June, 2020.
After payment was not made, Progressive Livestock uplifted 196 cows in July. Eight heifers were not with calf and credit was passed for these animals.
Donaldson ignored letters of demand from Progressive Livestock’s lawyers.
SLD Agriculture was liquidated on September 30, 2022, and Donaldson’s whereabouts are unknown, the ruling noted.
Justice Osborne found Donaldson was liable for the contracts and ordered him to pay $473,403.10 plus interest on the outstanding amounts.
Donaldson was also ordered to pay any outstanding legal costs.
- By Sharon Davis