One of Clive Palmer’s ex-employees and party candidates says he was tricked into signing a ‘sham’ contract and is suing the MP for more than $4.6 million.
Federal MP Clive Palmer says a former party candidate’s attempt to sue him for more than $4.6 million is politically motivated.
Former Palmer Coolum Resort general manager Bill Schoch, who also ran as a Palmer United Party (PUP) candidate at last year’s election, has filed a statement of claim in the Supreme Court.
Mr Schoch claims the PUP leader tricked him into signing a “sham” contract that cut his resort salary from $1 million to $150,000 and his employment duration from five years to one.
But Mr Palmer says Mr Schoch’s case has no substance, given he signed the same contract as every other employee.
“That’s what happens when you have a billion dollars,” Mr Palmer told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“People like to have a shot at you. I get that all the time.”
When asked what the motivation behind Mr Schoch’s court action might be, Mr Palmer replied: “Political motivation, I guess.
“You become a lot more interesting to people once you have the balance of power.
“A lot of people don’t appreciate what you’re doing.”
Mr Schoch claimed he thought the contract, which he signed in March 2012, was only to transfer him from one of Mr Palmer’s companies, Mineralogy, to another, Queensland Nickel, for administration and payroll purposes.
He said Mr Palmer knew he would not check the terms of the contract, which was a “sham transfer not intended to have any legal effect or force whatsoever”.
Mr Schoch, who ran for Mr Palmer’s party in the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher before the falling out, wants the contract declared void and is seeking more than $4.6 million in damages, costs and interest from Mr Palmer.
Mr Palmer was elected as an MP at last year’s election and his party is expected to hold the balance of power in the Senate after claiming three seats and the support of Motoring Enthusiasts Party’s Senator-elect Ricky Muir.