KPMG SGA, GDI in legal battle over due diligence report of office building

KPMG SGA, GDI in legal battle over due diligence report of office building
KPMG SGA, GDI in legal battle over due diligence report of office building

Accounting giant KPMG's property consulting arm has been accused by real estate group GDI Investment Management of misleading advice that lifts in a commercial building had been upgraded in 2010 in spite of no upgrades since their installation in 1992.

The listed GDI Investment Management says KPMG SGA's due diligence report contained untrue and misleading findings about the lifts in Stanley Place, a 12-storey commercial building in Townsville.

There are three passenger lifts and two combined passenger-goods lifts, according to a statement of claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court, reported The Australian Financial Review.

GDI bought the building in June 2016 through a trust, with GDI holding a 45 per cent stake in the trust, the AFR said.

The company also alleges that KPMG SGA’s report on the condition of the lift controllers was based on a promotional memo prepared by the selling agent Knight Frank and an oral statement of the vendor's facilities manager Lee Messenger, rather than its own inspection and a professional evaluation.

GDI and KPMG declined to comment, citing the ongoing court case.

KPMG SGA was acquired in 2014 to provide end-to-end services in property transactions to meet the demand from Asian and other offshore investors.

In February 2016, KPMG SGA made a finding that a lift upgrade was carried out in about 2010 which replaced the electronic lift control system.

GDI cites that part of the report as "untrue or misleading" because the lift controllers had not been replaced or upgraded since the lifts were installed in 1992, the AFR said.

It alleges that KPMG SGA's finding that no expenditure would be required for the lifts in the next 10 years was unreasonable.

It says it bought the Stanley Place building in June 2016 based on the report and is now seeking damages and compensation from KPMG.

In its defence document, KPMG SGA has denied the allegations.

KPMG SGA says the main processor circuit cards were upgraded progressively, new door controllers and associated components were installed and there was a progressive upgrade of control circuit boards, auxiliary relays, electrical contractors and other components under the service agreement with lift manufacturer Kone.

It also denies relying on Knight Frank's promotional memo and the vendor's facilities manager's statement in preparing its due diligence report. 

The accounting firm says GDI is not entitled to damages or compensation.

Separately, KPMG is defending a class action brought by law firm Piper Alderman which alleges the firm gave misleading advice to the board of failed junior miner Discovery Metals by inflating the value of the company's principal asset by as much as 40 per cent.

 

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