Peppermint Grove council claims it has first dibs on money from the future sale of the so-called Taj-Mahal-on-the-Swan, but relief has been further postponed after the owners miss a court deadline.
Council chief executive John Merrick said his legal advice was that the council could sell the property to recoup $150,000 in unpaid rates as soon as Radhika Oswal resolves her stoush with the Australian Tax Office.
The ATO claims she owes $186 million and that her husband Pankaj owes $6 million, which they each dispute.
But Mrs Oswal, who is believed to live in India or Dubai, this week failed to meet a deadline for filing a witness statement relating to the tax dispute.
Justice John Gilmour voiced his frustration at the delay given the conveniences of modern technology.
Mr Merrick said yesterday that the council stood in line for payment before other creditors who are owed money by the Oswals.
“Once the Oswals resolve the tax issue, then that leaves the council open to selling the property and using the proceeds to recoup the rates that have been owing to it for four years,” he said.
The council rates are based on the properties gross rental value.
Although it is currently an unfinished construction site, it is deemed high because of its location in exclusive enclave.
The Oswals left WA in early 2011, claiming to be hurt and upset at public scrutiny of their affairs after receivers were called in to their fertiliser plant on the Burrup peninsula.
ANZ called receivers over concerns at financial irregularities at the profitable business.
At the time, there were several creditors claiming they were owed money by the colourful pair, including Commonwealth Bank’s claim for $4.8 million in relation to a private jet.
The fertiliser plant was sold in early 2012, and ANZ was paid most $860 million it was owed by the Oswals. The new owners agreed to honour the debt in full.