Architect wins bid for land sale profit

Architect stands to gain more than $1 million after winning a legal tussle over two pieces of land along River Valley Road.

Mr Lim Koon Park, 47, had a verbal agreement with two men that entitled him to a 25 per cent share of the net profits when the plots were sold.

But he ended up receiving nothing after the $60 million sale.

And when he took the case to court last year, a judge ruled that the agreement did not apply as the land had not been sold within an agreed four-month time frame.

Now, however, he is in line for a significant chunk of the profits after the Court of Appeal reversed the decision.

The architect and his partners - banker Bryan Yap and developer Andy Lim - had acquired the plots for $48.5 million in the heady days before the 2008 financial crisis.

They struck the oral agreement to share the profits in a ratio of 2:1:1, with Mr Yap receiving the largest slice.

The idea was to sell the land - which includes a former petrol station - to a developer. But their plans were delayed by the 2008 recession.

When the plots were finally sold the following year, the architect was not given his share.

He took legal action but Mr Yap successfully argued that their agreement applied only if the land was sold within four months.

On Monday, however, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision, saying the previous judge had "erred" and that the architect was entitled to his 25 per cent.

It also dismissed a claim that he had misrepresented the plot ratio for the land where the petrol station stood. The allegation was made by Mr Yap, who argued that the architect had misled him.

But the three-judge court found no evidence of this. In judgment grounds, it said Mr Yap had "got exactly what he bargained for".

The land, which was sold for a $12 million gross profit, is being developed into a mixed-used multi-storey building.

After expenses are deducted, the trio are likely to have more than $6 million left to share according to the agreed ratio.

Mr Lim Koon Park was awarded full legal costs. He was represented by Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah and lawyer V.N. Srinivasan while Senior Counsel Sarjit Singh Gill and lawyer Georgina Lum defended Mr Yap.

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