Fair Trading requested that the stay orders be overturned, arguing that new evidence had surfaced since they were issued. These included Nassif’s supervisor certificate expiring in March and Toplace had no nominated supervisor.
Fair Trading also argued that the suspensions should be revoked as Nassif has been abroad without a return date since December and that an arrest warrant has been issued for him.
Nassif and Toplace argued that the suspensions should remain in place as there have been no allegations of breach of the requirement not to sign new contracts. They said a hearing to review decisions to suspend their licenses is “imminent.”
However, in a Thursday decision, Simon said it was no longer in the public interest to uphold the suspension orders, effectively reinstating the ban on building permits.
“The suspensions are not necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the decision on the administrative requests,” Simon said.
She noted that Nassif had not been convicted of any alleged offense related to the warrant. She said she had “little details” about an alleged crime, other than allegations of fraud related to a “$150 million Westpac loan to build Buildings C, D and E of the Skyview project.” at 51-55 Old Castle Hill” Road, Castle Hill, by providing purchase agreements that were not used in good faith to satisfy a $10.5 million pre-sale condition set by Westpac Bank.”
Simon said one of their reasons for granting the stay was to allow building rehabilitation work to continue; However, she said Toplace may consider hiring other contractors to complete the work.
Simon noted that a hearing to review the arbitration panel’s decisions on the licenses is scheduled for October.
“If the court decides to overturn the decisions of the [Fair Trading] Commissioner, barring any problems with the expiration of Mr Nassif’s Supervisor certificate, the licenses can be reinstated.”
Fair Trade and Better Regulation Minister Anoulack Chanthivong said the tribunal’s decision to uphold the disciplinary measure was a “win for consumers”. He said it was a “strong message to developers and builders that we have zero tolerance for substandard construction in NSW”.
“I can understand that some homeowners are concerned about the impact of this decision on the refurbishment work. Fair Trading’s correction orders are still valid and the work should now be carried out by a contractor who is more apt to hold a licence,” Chanthivong said.
Ashlyn Nassif, 29, has been accused of forging documents to keep cash flowing out of a $150 million Westpac bank loan to her father’s real estate empire.
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