The former owner of the controversial Quoin Rock wine estate in Stellenbosch, Dave King, says the estate isn’t worth buying because any new owner is likely to become embroiled in various legal challenges that could see them lose the estate.
King was speaking to Weekend Argus yesterday following the announcement that Quoin Rock was back on the market for a second time after a failed fake auction eight months ago by Auction Alliance’s chief executive Rael Levitt.
Meanwhile Wendy Appelbaum, the billionaire businesswoman who tried to buy the 194ha estate for R60 million at the auction – until she discovered it was rigged – agreed the farm may be so run-down by now that she’d probably no longer be interesting in buying it.
“I really haven’t decided whether I am going to make an offer yet. It may be too difficult to resurrect Quoin Rock and restore it to its former glory,” she said yesterday.
A new auction will not be held, but the liquidators have asked that offers to buy Quoin Rock reach them by August 15 as they make a renewed attempt to sell the estate to recover some of the R2.7 billion tax debt Sars claims King owes it.
King has, however, indicated he is challenging Sars, with whom he has been in a legal battle for a decade over what he called its “completely unlawful attachment of Quoin Rock”.
He said that if he won, the farm he bought in 2000 would be his again.
King also blamed Sars for “destroying Quoin Rock and destroying its employees’ livelihoods”, saying they had not been paid in years.
King, executive chairman of Micro Mega Holdings, controls four financial services companies, eight IT companies and six automotive companies.
Attempts to get comment from liquidator Cloete Murray failed.