Millionaire sues light rail company over wrecked Mercedes
A MILLIONAIRE businessman is suing the Spanish light rail builder alleging one of its traffic marshalls directed him to drive over an exposed manhole which damaged his Mercedes.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal high-profile property developer Theo Onisforou has launched legal action against Acciona claiming an accident at the light rail works in Randwick caused almost $10,000 worth of damage to his car.
The spat is the latest in a series of legal disputes over the project which includes Acciona's own $1.1b lawsuit against the state government.
Mr Onisforou says the incident took place on October 29 when he was visiting the surgery of Dr Brian Jarvie in Randwick.
Light rail workers had installed a chain across the driveway, but Mr Onisforou claims when he approached a traffic controller lifted the chain and pointed for him to drive into the property and over a manhole cover that was "protruding upwards" and caused "substantial damage" to his car.
"(Acciona's) road works had exposed the manhole creating a dangerous protrusion in and above the road," a statement of claim filed by Mr Onisforou reads.
"(Acciona) was negligent in allowing the protrusion and not putting barriers over the protrusion, preventing vehicles to be able to drive over it. The defendant was well aware that the protrusion was dangerous, as two other parties had damaged their cars by driving over the protrusion in the previous 14 days."
Mr Onisforou filed against Acciona in the Local Court small claims division last week. He is claiming $9500 in damages.
His claim comes after ALTRAC, the light rail consortium which Acciona is part of, sent him an email stating "we are unable to substantiate your assertion that the traffic controller instructed you to drive directly over the manhole" when he sought compensation directly from them.
Dr Jarvis told The Daily Telegraph he had witnessed the event and that Mr Onisforou was one of three patients who had damaged their cars on the manhole.
"It was a major problem for a couple weeks … they did make an effort to direct people around it, but not before Theo got stuck," he said.
Acciona covered the manhole with asphalt after the accident.
Known as the "King of Oxford Street", Mr Onisforou once worked as a chief investment officer for Kerry Packer. In June it was reported he owned 36 properties in Oxford St and Glenmore Rd in Paddington.
ALTRAC denied the company was responsible for the damage. "The safety of the public and our workers are of utmost importance," a spokesman said.