Within one of Joburg’s swankiest apartment blocks, a drama of Shakespearean proportions is unfolding, with a cast of characters well known to the city’s monied intelligentsia.
Glenhof Gardens, in Riviera, Johannesburg is described by estate agent and former trustee Russell Fischer as “home to a fortunate few” offering a “very special lifestyle”. But despite its gracious walls, marbled walkways and lobby chandeliers, a vicious war rages between the trustees and an owner which has kept lawyers lawyering for years, and has flared into unholy name-calling and even a physical encounter-or-two in the basement parking area.
Social activist and research fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation, Claudia Braude, has compiled thick lever-arch files containing the “extensively documented history of trustee non-compliance with their fiduciary duties and abuse consequently directed at members of the body corporate seeking such compliance”.
The offending trustees include three legal heavyweights: attorney Michael Young (chairman of the board of trustees), former judge Lewis Goldblatt and Israel (Olly) Gordon, retired senior partner of one of Johannesburg’s worthiest old law firms, Wertheim Becker.
“I’ve been intimidated, harassed, verbally abused and physically assaulted twice, and this because I have had the temerity to ask questions and wish to see documents that as an owner I’m legally entitled to see.
“They are bullies who think the law doesn’t apply to them.”...