Palmer ‘dudded’ mate on pay deal
THE FORMER general manager of Clive Palmer’s Coolum resort has told a court how his former boss offered him a job working for him for five years for five million dollars.
Bill Schoch told the Supreme Court how Mr Palmer, whom he has known for 40 years, said there would be a starting salary and the rest would come later.
Mr Schoch is suing Mr Palmer and his companies Mineralogy and Queensland Nickel for breach of contract, claiming $4.6 million.
His barrister Lindsay Bowden told Justice John Bond a 2012 written contract for a base salary of $150,000 did not alter an earlier oral agreement for $1 million a year for five years.
Mr Schoch, a chartered accountant, told how he was in his pool building a retaining wall when he took the call from Mr Palmer about the $5 million job on June 8, 2011.
“He said ‘Bill, work for five years for $5 million. That’s a million dollars salary a year,” Mr Schoch told the court.
Mr Schoch said Mr Palmer said it should be enough for him to be comfortable and for Mr Schoch and his wife to retire on in five years’ time.
He said Mr Palmer said: “You work for me in the meantime”.
Mr Schoch said two days later, while in a car with Mr Palmer and his son Michael, Mr Palmer offered him the position of chief financial officer of China First Coal, a subsidiary of Mineralogy.
“He said the starting salary would be $100,000 ... I’d agreed to five million dollars for five years,” Mr Schoch said.
He said Mr Palmer told him he was expecting royalties from a Sino Iron deal to come in before the end of the year and that would “kick in” his salary of $1 million a year.
Mr Schoch said when he first signed a Mineralogy Employee Details form on June 17, 2011, there was no detail of his agreed deal with Mr Palmer.
He said he hand wrote on the form “100k plus bonus, as agreed”.
“I put that there deliberately,” he said, saying it was code to keep it confidential and also a record of “more to come”.
Mr Schoch said for the first six months he worked 24-7 without days off, his role was at a high level and he travelled to China with Mr Palmer.
The hearing is set down for four days before written and oral submissions.