Legal

Ultra Tune founder and Rich Lister embroiled in dispute over thousands of dollars in dog cleaning stoush

Eloise Keating /

Millionaire Ultra Tune boss Sean Buckley says he will appeal an order to pay $4200 to a veterinary clinic for the treatment of his two pet dogs.

According to News Corp, Buckley, who is also known for his love of racing horses, was ordered last week by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to pay the Malvern Veterinary Hospital thousands of dollars for the removal of a tumour from 13-year-old pooch Tora and fortnightly grooming sessions for Tora and fellow canine Jack.

According to evidence provided to the tribunal by vet Dr Andrea Tims, the hospital received regular payments from the Ultra Tune accounts department on a longstanding account for Buckley until mid-September, when the hospital was told the account would no longer be paid as Buckley had separated from his partner, who he said is now the owner of the pets.

But a “dog concierge” who used to pick up the dogs for their treatments told Tims that Buckley’s former partner also does not believe she is responsible for paying the vet bills.

News Corp reports the tribunal documents it has seen indicate Buckley gave consent for Tora’s surgery.

“Despite the fact that the services were provided before he notified us of his marital breakup and subsequent change of ownership of the dogs, and despite the fact he gave us signed consent to perform surgery, Mr Buckley has simply decided not to pay,” the documents state.

But Buckley’s lawyer, Therese Borger of Belleli King & Associates, told SmartCompany this morning Belleli King & Associates will be seeking a re-hearing as the order “was made in our client’s absence”.

While Borger says Buckley has settled the bill, he did so “under protest pending the outcome of the re-hearing”. She says he will argue at a re-hearing that he had not engaged the vet and was therefore not responsible for the bills.

SmartCompany contacted Buckley and the Malvern Veterinary Hospital but did not receive a response prior to publication.

It’s not the first time Buckley has been on the losing side of a legal ruling, after the Victorian Supreme Court last year handed Buckley a $1.5 million bill over his investment in failed forestry scheme Willmott Forests.

At the same time, Fairfax reported the ATO was pursuing Buckley over $11.5 million in allegedly unpaid income tax.

Disputes over a $350,000 aquarium built at Buckley’s former Toorak home were also aired this year, after a $40,000 civil action filed by a contractor against Buckley in the Magistrates Court was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Buckley founded the Ultra Tune car service franchise in 1979 and the company currently has more than 270 stores in its network.

But Ultra Tune has also been the recipient of some unwanted attention this year, with a petition against the sexualised nature of its advertising attracting support from Ultra Tune franchises.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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