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Multimillionaire Giles Mackay was said to have ‘lost nearly all sense of objectivity’ after construction of his luxury home went wrong.When multimillionaire Giles Mackay hired builders to create his family’s dream home, he had clear ideas about how the work should be carried out.
There was to be a swimming pool, a library, a cinema, a wine cellar and staff quarters, among other features.
But after the multi-million pound London property development “stumbled” into “delay, rising costs and confusion”, the qualified barrister was apparently determined to make his feelings known.
The married father-of-two, who had set up a London-based property investment company and was worth over £100 million, warned that “my middle name is relentless” and fired off a string of angry emails to those he blamed.
His behaviour towards architects, staff at a firm of contractors, and consultants was “not simply coarse” but “combative, bullying and aggressive”, a High Court judge said.
Mr Justice Akenhead heard how Mr Mackay had referred to the wife of one of his business partners as “needing a f****** good slapping” and had suggested to a director at the contractors’ firm “a new career as a traffic warden might be ideal” and “I’ll bet you will lord it in the pub over those neighbours of yours in the cheap semis”.
The court heard of extensive legal disputes between contractor Walter Lilly & Company, Mr Mackay, and a property company he set up with business partners
The judge ruled in favour of Walter Lilly and awarded the firm more than £2.3 million after it claimed damages for sums wrongly deducted for alleged defects, loss and expense related to delay and outstanding unpaid value of works.
He said the parties involved had run up “obviously disproportionate” legal costs approaching £10 million.
In a written ruling, he concluded that Mr Mackay had “lost nearly all sense of objectivity” in the disputes about the building project near Earl’s Court in London.
Mr Mackay and his partners were developing three houses there after spending more than £13 million on land.
But “substantial tensions” between him and his team of professionals arose, with Mr Mackay complaining about his planned luxury home that “every room in the house contained defective plastering”.
Other complaints centred on “the need for ballet bars in the gym”, the quality of the finish in children’s bathrooms being a “disgrace”, and about baths being “disproportionately small” and “plastic”.
The “specially designed lift” was described as “another disaster”.
The judge said Mr Mackay had written to surveyors complaining that “they were… trying to make me look like I’m an idiot”.
“That I may be,” he said Mr Mackay had continued, “but only in the context of employing you to look after the costs plans on the job”.
He had also said he “wakes up in the morning wanting to kill” one of his architects.
In one email to a director at Walter Lilly he wrote: “Guess what, when I have forgotten about you in a year’s time enjoying my £100 million home or sailing on one of my 40 metre yachts – you’ll still be trying to wind up some other poor unsuspecting customer with your brand of mediocrity – a sad loser – gaining your kicks and being irritating. Suggest a new career as a traffic warden might be ideal at least it wouldn’t involve lying.”
Another said: “Oh no, little guy like you – throws his weight around – big chip on your shoulder – you were definitely bullied at school!!!!… or is it the fact that your little Victorian 1,800 sq ft cottage… can fit into my dining room… Or perhaps the fact when you bought it in 2003 the cost was the same as my defective veneer.”
He also wrote: “You’re such a loser. I’m going to enjoy finishing you off over the summer” and “I have the money and anger at this point to push on and make sure that you have to deliver or get punished for not delivering… Never underestimate me.”
Mr Justice Akenhead said the director’s limited responses were “polite and restrained” while Mr Mackay appeared to be “used to getting his own way”.
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