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Owner loses last-ditch bid to force beachfront land from buyers

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A court application that would have thrown a spanner in the works of a high-profile couple taking over a beachfront Teewah property has failed.

A Supreme Court judgement has dismissed Jill Cameron’s case against Arcobaleno Pty Ltd and hotelier Michael Malouf and his wife, fashion label owner Heidi Middleton.

Judge Sean Cooper found the circumstances presented to the court gave no reason to conclude Arcobaleno’s “title as mortgagee has been extinguished”.

Mr Malouf and Ms Middleton bought out Ms Cameron’s partners in the 40.5ha property and their company Arcobaleno in 2023.

When Ms Cameron refused to sell, they went to court to force the sale of the property, securing it at auction in May with a bid of $16.2 million.

In late April, prior to the auction, Ms Cameron attempted to force Arcobaleno to release a mortgage over the property, which would have meant relinquishing the title.

Ms Cameron’s application contended that a mortgage held by Arcobaleno did not cover any debt on the property and should have been removed from the title.

In a judgement delivered on Thursday, Judge Cooper found that the previous co-owners had repaid the proportion of debt on the property under an overdraft and then transferred the mortgage to their company, Arcobaleno, in May 1999.

But Judge Cooper also found NAB wrote to the co-owners the following day advising the mortgage secured $120,276 in money and liabilities.

Judge Cooper did not accept that that the payment by the co-owners discharged the debt, saying the money purchased rights held by NAB, and the debt was still on the deed.

The 40.5ha block is largely undeveloped.

He also found Ms Cameron should have been aware of the mortgage on the property after it was transferred to her from her husband, former federal MP Ian Cameron, in a Family Court property settlement.

Judge Cooper said there was no basis to direct Arcobaleno to release the mortgage.

“That relief would only be appropriate if I had concluded that the mortgage does not secure any debt or that a claim by the first respondent for payment of monies owing under the mortgage is statute-barred,” he said.

“As I have not reached either of those conclusions, I am not satisfied that the applicant has established a basis for making an order requiring that the first respondent lodge an instrument releasing the mortgage.”

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