Toni Collette $1 Million Out of Pocket after Property Battle

By Peter Sarmas on 7 Jun 2013
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Australian actress Toni Collette and musician partner David Galafassi have been ordered to pay over $1.1 million after losing a non-performance legal battle in court against Susan and Nick Kelly, founders of the Industrie men’s clothing label.

The couple were set to purchase the Paddington home in east Sydney to live with children Sage and Arlo for over $6 million in September 2011, yet waited until December 30 2011, the day they were meant to finalise the transaction, to pull out of the sale, claiming they no longer had the funds.

The very private Emmy award-winning star of hit television program United States of Tara and films Muriel’s Wedding, Mental and Little Miss Sunshine has pleaded with the Kellys to keep this matter a private one, as revealed in a letter Collette sent to the claimants prior to the court case.

Collette asked the Kellys, “For the sake of both our families I implore you to find a way to settle this less publicly”.

The letter said that the pair did not “have the finances to go through with the purchase”.

Despite the fact that they had just purchased a beachside property in Bronte through Di Jones agents Catherine Dixon and Louise Snowden, they had been unable to sell their other Bronte home for the full amount they expected.

“Collette asked the Kellys, ‘For the sake of both our families I implore you to find a way to settle this less publicly’.”

Collette also wrote to the property agent, telling him that she and Galafassi “feel sick about this” and that they “apologise profusely.”

“The ongoing swell of press to do with the sale of our house was nothing but detrimental,” the letter said. “She even allowed press into the actual auction! Outrageous.”

The fashion magnates eventually sold the home for $5.5 million, but proceeded to pursue Collette and her partner to recover the difference.

Collette stated  in their defense that the Kellys did not make the effort to get the highest possible price for the property, claiming they did not advertise extensively and chose not to put the house up for auction.

Acting Justice William Windeyer of the NSW Supreme Court announced in a ruling on Friday that Collette and Galafassi were to forfeit their $317,500 deposit on the home, and pay an additional $814,000 in damages, as well as the Kellys’ legal fees.

About the Author

Peter Sarmas is a Certified Property Investment Advisor (PIAA) and Vendor/Buyer Advocate. Before becoming the founder of Street News, Peter completed a Degree in Applied Science (Chemistry) and a Graduate Diploma in Property Valuations (Hons). Peter believes property investing is a major and potentially risky undertaking. In his view, everyone should have an independent person acting on their behalf when seeking property investment advice.

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