Clive’s settlement brings villa owners bittersweet relief
From the highs of rubbing shoulders with Mick Jagger and Gerry Harvey to a hotel in turmoil, it's been a rollercoaster for villa owners at Clive Palmer's Coolum resort.
The former federal MP has agreed to pay 310 unit owners $65,000 each for their quarter shares, in a $21 million legal settlement.
On Monday the Federal Court in Brisbane approved settlement to end a long-running class action, which is likely to give Mr Palmer total control of the former five-star resort.
Villa owner Chris Shannon said the former Hyatt Resort completely changed when it was purchased by Mr Palmer in 2011.
Mr Shannon purchased a quarter share of a villa in 1995 to enjoy family holidays.
"We had just over 20 brilliant years of enjoyment out of that place, and those memories will never be forgotten," he said.
"There's a massive contrast in what it was then and what it is today."
For 11 years the resort hosted the PGA tournament and attracted celebrities including Gerry Harvey and the Rolling Stones.
Mr Shannon said he once won $5 off Mr Harvey on the 18-hole golf course.
The Marcus Beach resident said he had mixed feelings about the settlement.
"You could call it relief," Mr Shannon said.
"The tough part is we've lost seven years of enjoyment and that enjoyment has been replaced by heartache.
"It shouldn't have come to this."
Many owners have been unable to enjoy their holiday homes for years.
Power and water was shut off to the villas in 2012 and again in 2015, when the resort was shut down.
Melbourne-based owner Peter Sheppard, founder of shoe retailer Sheppards Shoes, felt the payment was "inadequate".
"For me, it's not about the money," he said.
"My nature is I want to fight Clive Palmer.
"How can you pay $73,000 back in 1987 and today it's worth $65,000."
The millionaire footwear distributor bought a villa off the plan after he was told of the concept by medical doctor and author Dr John Tickell.
He said his family spent many holidays at the resort before it was taken over by Mr Palmer.
"I have four kids and we had fantastic family holidays," he said.
"The kids would spend their days at the kids club or riding their bikes and would meet us for lunch.
"They had the freedom to do that and it was wonderful."
Mr Palmer has been locked in a complex legal fight involving resort villa owners since 2012.
The settlement of the class action also brings to an end up to eight other related cases in both the Federal Court and the Queensland Supreme Court.
It also means two related cases in the Supreme Court will end.
Mr Shannon said he and his family planned to have their last stay at the resort at Christmas.
He expects to receive the $65,000 in early January.
While only 260 owners were part of the class action, all 310 will receive $65,000 for their quarter share.
The unit holders in the class action had been seeking to be paid a total of about $120,000 from Mr Palmer.
If villa owners object, they have 21 days to apply to the court for a different outcome.