Dart in court over former tenant’s junk vehicles

The Cayman Islands’ largest developer, Dart Realty, claimed in court this week that it has spent thousands of dollars on legal fees and cleaning up junk vehicles from an auto garage business operated by one of its former tenants, following an enforcement notice from the planning department.

The developer, along with its tenant Harold Spence, were called to Summary Court on Tuesday, to face charges of failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice.

Lawyers for Dart said they were expecting the charges against the company to be withdrawn at the hearing. However, prosecutors requested a week-long adjournment, which was granted, to clarify its intended stance.

Mr. Spence was not in court.

The dispute relates to a piece of land, close to Jose’s Esso station on Crewe Road, which the planning department said was being operated as a garage and site for repairs and storage of shipping containers without planning permission.

Linda DaCosta, for Dart, said the company had done everything in its power since the notice was received in 2014, to deal with the issue. She said the junk vehicles have now been removed.

She said Dart had received no cooperation from the tenant and began proceedings against him in August 2015, which had taken time to progress.

“We are not capable, pursuant to the law, to go in and kick someone out. We had to go through the process,” she said.

The tenant has now been evicted, and she said Dart removed the junk vehicles at its own expense.

Request for withdrawal of charges

She said the planning department had been informed every step of the way, and she contested the prosecution’s application for another adjournment, asking for the charges to be withdrawn.

“An adjournment is not going to take this matter any further, our client has already spent thousands of dollars on legal fees and for me to come to the court once more is just unnecessary, your honor,” she said.

Magistrate Valdis Foldats said the power to withdraw the charge lay solely with the prosecution and agreed to adjourn the case for a week.