One of Wanganui's largest property owners owes the district council more than $150,000 in overdue rates and penalties and has just started paying for a council carpark he bought in 2005.
He is English developer CJ Efstratiou, who owns 24 central city properties. Their combined land and built value is $22.5 million, according to information received from Wanganui District Council under a Local Government Official Information Act request.
The amount Mr Efstratiou owes at present is $161,691 and 32 cents, and it relates to rates for 17 inner city properties.
The rates arrears extend back to August last year and he has recently made some large payments and set up direct debit arrangements for current rates.
Mr Efstratiou is believed to have begun buying Wanganui property in about 1996. What he owns is in the city's two best shopping blocks, bounded by Victoria Ave, St Hill St, Ridgway St and Guyton St.
In January 2005 he took possession of a former Wanganui District Council carpark in St Hill St, after agreeing to buy it for $228,375.
Vendor finance was provided by way of a 10-year loan secured by a mortgage, with repayments due to start in March 2007.
Since then the council has agreed to two extensions of time and to shortening the term of the loan from 10 years to eight years. Mr Efstratiou did not begin paying it until June this year.
There is still nearly $200,000 left to pay and the final payment is not due until May 2020.
At the time of the sale Mr Efstratiou agreed to carry on providing 71 car parks as part of his planned development - except during the period when the development was happening.
He also agreed to a penalty payment, now more than $1.8 million, if the car parks were not reinstated by a certain time.
He has not honoured that agreement in the council's view, though it could be argued from his side that the St Hill St site, where archaeological investigation stopped in April 2010, was still "in development".
The council and Mr Efstratiou have been seeking an agreement on the matter of the car parks that will suit both parties.
It is not yet final and will be confidential.
The aim is to enable central city development, be fair on ratepayers and retain car parking.
The council's legal officer has spent about 20 hours on matters to do with Mr Efstratiou so far.
External legal fees on the matter have cost the council nearly $20,000.