VRL 3.86% $2.96 village roadshow limited

ex-director sues village for $148m

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    "VILLAGE Roadshow's former high-flying director Peter Ziegler, who created a public stir over his multimillion-dollar salary, is suing the embattled entertainment company.
    The group announced yesterday it had received a proposed statement of claim from Mr Ziegler, a barrister and former partner of accountancy firm Ernst and Young, seeking more than $148 million in damages.

    The claim centres on an allegation that Village failed to deliver a termination payment which Mr Ziegler argues was due at the expiration of his contract.

    In a brief statement to the market late yesterday, Village said it believed the payment was due only if it terminated the contract early.

    It was estimated Mr Ziegler earned $3.1 million a year plus commission after he secured a debt facility for the company and attracted big name stars to appear in Village films during his time on the board.

    "On the basis of legal advice, VRL strongly believes that the amount claimed by Mr Ziegler is fanciful and that the termination payment claim will fail entirely," it said.

    "The company will vigorously defend the allegations made by Mr Ziegler.

    "It is expected that it will take a number of years for the claim to be finally disposed of by the courts."

    Mr Ziegler retired as a Village director in December 1999 after creating a national publicity furore over what some shareholders regarded as the excessive remuneration payments granted to Australian executives.

    In that year, he rated a mention in the top 10 earners of a survey of Australia's 100 biggest public companies.

    He was later appointed to the board of Village Roadshow Corporation (VRC), the Kirby family's private company, and stayed employed by the public entity in a consultancy role.

    Mr Ziegler has recently been back in the headlines after he bought a $12 million Sydney waterfront mansion from actor Russell Crowe and heads the Packer family-backed CPH Capital Ltd.
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