Sacked tradies fight for $476k buried fortune
THE Reserve Bank has confirmed that the total money found buried on a Gold Coast development site last year and now at the centre of a legal dispute is $476,600.
Two tradies working at the Runaway Bay site dug up a plastic tub containing $388,850 in old paper notes on October 31 and took it straight to Runaway Bay police station.
The next day they dug up a second tub containing many damaged bank notes, which were sent by police to the Reserve Bank, to determine whether they were of any value.
The Reserve Bank has since assessed the damaged bank notes to be worth $87,750 and the $476,600 is now sitting in a police bank account, ready to be claimed, court documents reveal.
But the court fight over who owns the money hit a legal hurdle on Friday.
Supreme Court Justice Jean Dalton questioned whether the case should even be before the Supreme Court, and put a stay on the proceedings, until further orders.
Justice Dalton told lawyers representing the owner of the Runaway Bay land where the money was found and others, to sort out which court should hear the matter.
She said it could be a matter for the District Court or the Magistrates Court.
While land owner, Morrison Construction Services, has asked the court to find it is the rightful owner of the money, several others have staked a claim.
A previous owner of the Lae Dr, Runaway Bay land, Peter Chan, claimed his brother-in-law Stephen Ma, a travelling chef who died in 2015, must have buried the money there.
Mr Ma's son, Gold Coast restaurant owner Raymond Ma, is making a claim, as his late father's legal representative.
The Supreme Court heard excavator operator Warren Bruggy and labourer Daniel Boyd, who dug up the loot, claimed the money under "finders keepers".
The court was told they were sacked after they took part of the money to police without first telling the contractor company that had sent them to work on the site.
Originally their employer, D.I.G Earthworks, had expressed an interest in claiming the cash, but the court has been told it no longer is involved in the case.
A former labourer 59, showed up at court, originally telling a judge: "The money looked a little bit familiar, when I used to do work over at that place many years ago.''
But on Friday, when that man again appeared in court to stake a claim, Justice Dalton questioned whether he had capacity, after asking him a series of questions.
She said there was not much reason to suspect he had a valid claim to the money.
Originally published as Sacked tradies fight for $476k buried fortune