Jennifer and Paul Thomson
Jennifer and Paul Thomson

Ex-principal fails to strike out claim

THE former principal of Logan private school Kimberley College and some family members have failed to have a statement of claim in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against them struck out.

Kimberley College is suing its former principal Paul Thomson, his wife Jennifer Thomson, their daughter Amy Ferguson, her husband Kevin Ferguson and the Thomsons' daughter Deborah Horn.

The college claims the five received or benefited from up to $2,198,822 in unauthorised payments from school company bank accounts, through a variety of types of misconduct.

Paul Thomson was Kimberley College's principal from the school's creation in 2000 until his employment was terminated in June last year.

Amy Ferguson was the chief financial officer until June last year and Kevin Ferguson was a director and manager of the college.

Jennifer Thomson was the principal's personal assistant and Ms Horn was a deputy principal.

Justice Glenn Martin said the college alleged the defendants, in particular Mr Thomson and Ms Ferguson, for a long time were in control of the college and used college money to their own benefit.

It is also alleged that the spouses of the defendants benefited from monies alleged to have been misappropriated.

Kevin Ferguson, a former director and manager of Kimberley College
Kevin Ferguson, a former director and manager of Kimberley College

The Thomsons argued that the statement of claim should be struck out because it was inadequate, but the judge only ordered that the college provide some better particulars.

Justice Martin said the defendants, who are yet to respond to the claim, were able to plead by way of denial or non-admission in respect to the current claim.

The college asked for a freezing order, alleging the defendants were trying to dispose of property and other possessions before the claim has been decided.

Justice Martin dismissed the application, although he said evidence of the college's forensic accountants allowed him to conclude there was a "good arguable case''.

He said although some family members had tried to dispose of a limited number of chattels, it was because they were no longer employed and had no income.

Justice Martin said some properties that had been listed for sale were subject to caveats lodged by the college.

He also would not make an order that some of the Thomson family members deliver up two paintings, a ride-on mower and a motor vehicle.

Kimberley College has asked for declarations that the five family members breached the Corporations Act and that the college has an equitable interest in a number of properties.

The college is seeking damages or recovery of money ranging from $112,113 to $2,198,822.