There was no fairytale ending for a couple trying to create a replica Disney Castle in South East Queensland — in a cautionary tale that should be a warning to all borrowers.
The Disney Sleeping Beauty Castle, one of the most iconic images of Disneyland barring the big rodent himself Mickey Mouse, was apparently due to have been erected in Pacific Pines, a suburb in the northern Gold Coast.
The site itself already had a four bedroom, two bathroom, double car space house on it, but behind the facade a magical wonderland was supposed to have emerged.
But the dream collapsed seeing property owners Jonathan and Lekeeta Martin fall foul of their major funder — the Commonwealth Bank — which took them to court to recover funds issued towards the “venture”.
The Disney dream — which may have been a squeeze even in miniature given the site itself was just 921sq m — came to a crunching end when the bank took legal action over the loan not being repaid as planned.
A judgment by Brisbane District Court Judge Deborah Richards delivered four days before Christmas, explained what transpired in the case of Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Martin & Another (2018): “The original loan applied for and given to the defendants was for $150,000 and was taken out on 19 June 2013. That loan was paid down to $86,942 when the defendants applied for a top up for that loan to $63,000 to build a replica Disney castle in their backyard”.
The judgment went on: “The $63,000 was drawn over time between 12 December 2014 and 10 June 2015. Although the defendants have pointed to some clerical errors in the loan application, there does not seem to be any anomaly in the loan applications such as would render them void.”
One of the claims the court worked through was that the bank “engaged in irresponsible lending” because “the first defendant had credit cards that weren’t disclosed and that his income was not able to service the loan”.
The judgment cleared that up by saying: “The bank relied on information supplied by the defendants and on that information there was sufficient margin for the loan to be approved. There was good equity in the house and the funds were for renovations and improvements. The fact that the money was not used for those purposes was not within the knowledge of the bank at the time.”
“The fact that the first defendant may have been irresponsible in his use of his credit facility and that the second defendant spoke to the bank about this does not amount to a ground to set aside the judgement.”
The Gold Coast Bulletin has reported the Martins were no longer at the property, and the judgment has stated that the couple will need to pay costs for the case which will be determined later.
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