Clive Palmer wins $5m legal battle against Bill Schoch
CLIVE Palmer has won his legal battle against a former Sunshine Coast resort manager and friend who accused him of reneging on a $5 million job deal.
Former Palmer Coolum Resort general manager Bill Schoch sued the Sunshine Coast MP and two of his companies for $4.6 million in damages and lost wages after he was sacked in December 2013 having been paid just $365,000.
Justice John Bond dismissed Mr Schoch's claim in Brisbane's Supreme Court on Thursday.
Justice John Bond said Mr Schoch's case must fail because he was not convinced Mr Schoch was promised the millions.
Justice Bond said it was more probable that Mr Schoch and Mr Palmer had agreed of a base salary of $100,000 per annum with a discretionary bonus.
The court ordered Mr Schoch pay Mr Palmer's legal costs of the proceedings, which will be assessed.
Mr Schoch did not wish to speak to media following the judgment.
Mr Schoch claimed Mr Palmer offered him the salary when they spoke on the phone. When he signed his employment contract, Mr Schoch noted his remuneration as "$100K + bonus as agreed".
Justice Bond said there was no evidence to show why Mr Palmer would have had such a high regard for Mr Schoch and offered him the $1 million a year, or $5 million over a five-year period.
"That was more than anyone else in Mr Palmer's group was earning and more than twice as much as executives senior to what was proposed to be Mr Schoch's position," Justice Bond said in his judgment.
Justice Bond also said Mr Schoch's attempt to officially document his pay deal, by noting the $100K plus bonus, was "ridiculous".
He said if there was any truth to Mr Schoch's story he would have noted the "$900K bonus as agreed".
Mr Schoch is a former accountant and did some work for Mr Palmer in the late 70s and early 80s.
He also conducted some audit work for one of Mr Palmer's corporate entities for a few years in the late 90s and early 2000's.
Mr Schoch wrote to Mr Palmer in 2011 to inform him he was in the market for a full time position and Mr Palmer responded, offering him a job with his Mineralogy company.
What Clive Palmer called Bill Schoch during the trial
During the trial, Mr Palmer said Mr Schoch, who was also his Palmer United candidate for Fisher, was little more than a "dogsbody".
But Mr Schoch said he wouldn't be surprised if one day Mr Palmer contacted him again.
"Clive is the sort of character who, one day when this is all passed, will ring up or drop by and say 'let's go out'.
"That's life, he gets on with things.
"He is the same as everybody else, he has good points."
Mr Schoch claimed Mr Palmer offered him $5 million to work for him, but he was only paid $100,000 a year.
Mr Palmer has strongly defended the legal action against him, telling the court it made no sense he would agree to pay an employee hired as an accountant $1 million a year.
Mr Schoch was hopeful Justice John Bond would accept his version.
"The judge has heard my side of the story; he has also heard Mr Palmer's side," he said.
Mr Schoch said he has moved on since his sacking and in 2013 and has another job.