Wall collapse: Hughes absolutely mum
MULTI-MILLIONAIRE car salesman John Hughes will not discuss allegations his cliff top home’s construction collapsed a neighbouring retaining wall owned by the ill, elderly mother of barrister GiGi Visscher at prestigious Saunders Street, Mosman Park.
“I don’t know why I would want to comment on that,” Mr Hughes said.
“I don’t want to get into a slanging match with Ms Visscher.”
On June 2, Mosman Park Council gave Ms Visscher’s 76-year-old Alzheimer’s-suffering mother 30 days to replace the grey brick retaining wall.
Ms Visscher claims her mother’s garden terrace and swimming pool were undermined by work on Mr Hughes’ home during May 2012 that caused the wall’s collapse.
She claims Mr Hughes used a subsequent WorkSafe order warning workers about the damaged wall to subsequently not do repairs, and the council did not fulfil a request to prosecute Mr Hughes for allegedly not fulfilling his home’s building permit.
When contacted, Mr Hughes said he would not answer the accusation about the WorkSafe order or discuss neighbourly solutions because the matter was in legal dispute and could reach court.
Ms Visscher claims the council did not contact her or her mother about the June 2 building order.
She said the Building Act would have given her mother 14 days to consider beforehand, and the council had given no evidence the wall was unstable before May 2012.
“The building order issued to my mother by the Town of Mosman Park does not even provide my mother with any opportunity to provide submissions,” she said. “It simply gives my mother 30 days to remove a grey brick wall.”
However, council staff emailed Ms Visscher on June 2 telling her that lawyers for Mr Hughes’ builder had questioned the legality of them being ordered to repair the wall, and council engineers would again assess the structure.
Ms Visscher said she would now have to obtain an administration order to deal with her ill mother’s affairs.
Mosman Park chief executive Kevin Poynton said the council was seeking legal advice about the matter and it was not appropriate to comment, other than encouraging Ms Visscher and Mr Hughes to take “reasonable” efforts for a solution.