My court statement Part 1: Case 365/2006: Date 13-03-2012

5
839
Written Statement

ΚΛΙΜΑΚΑ:€500.000 – €2.000.000

ΕΠΑΡΧΙΑΚΟ ΔΙΚΑΣΤΗΡΙΟ ΑΜΜΟΧΩΣΤΟΥ

ΑΓΩΓΗ ΑΡ. 365/06

ΜΕΤΑΞΥ:

CHRISTOFOROS KARAYANNAS & SONS LTD, εκ Παραλιμνίου

Ενάγοντες

και

1. Cornelius Desmond O’Dwyer, εξ Αγγλίας
2. Michaella Margaret O’Dwyer, εξ Αγγλίας.

Εναγομένων

ΚΑΙ ΔΙΑ ΤΡΟΠΟΠΟΙΗΣΕΩΣ ΔΥΝΑΜΕΙ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΑΤΑΓΜΑΤΟΣ ΗΜ. 24.3.2010

ΑΓΩΓΗ ΑΡ. 365/06

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΦΟΡΟΣ ΚΑΡΑΓΙΑΝΝΑΣ & ΥΙΟΣ ΛΤΔ

Ενάγοντες

και

1. Cornelius Desmond O’Dwyer, εξ Αγγλίας
2. Michaela Margaret O’Dwyer, εξ Αγγλίας.

Εναγομένων

WRITTEN STATEMENT OF CORNELIUS O’DWYER

1. I am Cornelius Desmond O’Dwyer holder of United Kingdom passport number ——–. I have been married for 17 years to Michaela O’Dwyer and we have two daughters aged 15 and 10. We are hard working people who have put all our efforts into our family life together. In the early 1990’s I had a small but successful business importing products from Asia. We used the proceeds from the business towards our first home. We moved up the property ladder by buying homes that needed work, renovating them whilst living there and in 2005 we were at a stage that we could buy a new home as cash buyers and live mortgage free.

2. In 2005 my wife and I were looking to move our young family to Cyprus. Our children were aged 8 and 3 so it would have caused minimum disruption to their education. My wife is a qualified accountant, her plans were to look after the home and children. She would home school if necessary and do some book keeping for local businesses on the side. With no mortgage worries, I was going to use any outstanding capital, earnings and if necessary borrow to start up a new business. With its ascension into the EU it was an exciting time for Cyprus. Its location is ideally situated for importing products from Asia to supply the rest of Europe. I developed e-commerce skills to enable me to work from home as I did not want to miss out on family life.

3. A long term goal was for my wife and I to set up a quality ice cream café for both tourists and locals but had none of this worked out and if we decided Cyprus was not for us we were confident that we were buying into a property boom and we could sell our house and return to the UK. We had studied the Irish economy and the positive effect on house prices experienced after joining the single currency. We felt safe buying within the EU and could not have predicted that our lives were soon to be ruined.

4. We went to Cyprus in May 2005 with the intention of buying a house up to the value of CYP£170,000. We were introduced to Christoforos Karayiannas & Son Ltd by an estate agent and were led around their developments by Marios Karayiannas (witness 1) and Michelle Anglou (witness 7). We were also given sales brochures and a Karayiannas promotional DVD. In that DVD it is said “if you are not satisfied with our existing projects we can help you to build your dream home, just the way you like it.” We liked the size and style of a 4 bedroom detached house the plaintiffs had made and with a few changes and on the right plot it would have been a perfect home. I present a sales brochure and Karayiannas DVD to the court as evidence.

5. We were given the street plan of phase 2 Ayios Sergios in Frenaros and shown around the site by Marios Karayiannas and Michelle Anglou. On that street plan Michelle Anglou marked out a green area, some parking places and a children’s playground. That street plan was included in my letter to Karayiannas 13th February 2006 which is exhibit number 20

6. Phase 1 Ayios Sergios was near completion. Phase 2 already had ten houses at different stages of build when we were shown the next plot, plot number 30. Privacy in the garden was extremely important to us and we were told that plot No.30 was perfect, it was unique and special. It was a corner plot which had a bungalow under construction on one side, a road was to go the full length the other side and across the road they were going to build two more bungalows. The street plan we were given supported all this and we placed a deposit of CYP£1,000 to take the plot off the market. Had this plot not fulfilled our privacy requirements we would not have proceeded and would have looked to buy elsewhere. I present the deposit receipt to the court as evidence.

7. On return to the UK we began email correspondence with Michelle Anglou. In the first exchange she begins by congratulating us in buying a new home and requests the name of our website. Whilst in Cyprus we had lunch with Marios and Christoforos Karayiannas and Michelle Anglou. At that lunch I informed them that my eldest daughter Courtney, then aged 8 was going to publish on the internet a diary of her experience moving to a new country. I had told Marios Karayiannas that my passion was computers. I offered to put an internet camera on the side of our house so others later in the development could see their houses being built live over the internet. Also in that lunch meeting, Marios Karayiannas assured me that if buying from them I could have a copy of the architects plans on AutoCAD which is the leading 3D architectural software. I could use these computer plans to see the internal changes under discussion. In the email exchange that followed I give Michelle Anglou my daughters website address and reminded them to send the AutoCAD plans. I also provided a link to an internet gallery I made where I uploaded all the high quality photos taken whilst viewing their properties. These photos were gratefully received and used by the company for other customers and their website. Far from being a difficult customer as suggested by witness 1 I can show that I was helpful to them not only by supplying high quality photographs but they also came to me with their computer problems. I present emails from 2nd to 8th June 2005 to the court as evidence.

8. Later in June 2005 I flew back to Cyprus without my family to discuss the finer details with the plaintiffs. I was given a CD and told it contained the architects AutoCAD plans. Whilst there I looked closely at their build quality and spoke to other Karayiannas customers. I took hundreds of photos and recorded video footage for my wife back home. I sought out an independent solicitor that Karayiannas had never dealt with before. I chose Carter & Leontiou Law Firm to represent us and draw up a contract and later we gave Marion Carter power of attorney to act on our behalf. I understood that Carter & Leontiou was a new partnership and their Paralimni office was located very close to Karayiannas.

9. On my return to the UK I used the CD given from Marios Karayiannas sildenafil 100mg. The CD did not contain the AutoCAD file requested, instead it was just a copy of the plan shown on paper. Karayiannas had lied and appeased by deceit. I emailed Michelle Anglou and expressed my disappointment. Without the proper AutoCAD plans I had to use Photoshop to illustrate changes to the exterior of the house and I attached those illustrations to the email. Again, I uploaded photos taken on my trip to the internet for their use. I also informed Anglou that selling in the UK was progressing nicely and money was in place and ready to transfer. In reply Michelle Anglou approves the changes illustrated and states she will speak to the architect about getting the full AutoCAD plans for me. I present the emails of the 25th July 2005 to the court as evidence.

10. At home we registered with four foreign exchange companies so that when the money was requested we would be able to get the best rate for our transfer. We often asked for an estimated time that payments would be due so we could plan ahead and buy a forward contract at a better exchange rate. On the 8th August 2005 we sent CYP£39,000 to Carter and Leontiou. I present the deal receipt with Sterling Exchange Limited and our bank statement for the period as evidence.

11. I emailed Michelle Anglou the following day and informed her the first payment had been sent and that I am contacting Marion Carter so that she can sign the contract on our behalf. I ended the email requesting again the AutoCAD file. Michelle Anglou replied the same day stating she had been informed that the architect could not send the relevant file. There was no apology or explanation. I felt cheated, I had been told for three months by email, phone and in person that I could have the AutoCAD plans and only once they were informed of a massive payment do they then tell me the truth. I present the emails of the 9th August 2005 to the court as evidence.

12. The plaintiffs have often suggested that we may not been able to keep up stage payments. This is untrue. We bought our house in the UK in May 2000 for GBP£140,000. We had a Virgin One mortgage account which enabled us to borrow any amount up to the value of our home. We could increase the facility by having the house revalued. I present a personal account illustration received when opening the account May 2000 as evidence.

13. I renovated the house and by 2005 the market value had increased to GBP£270,000. We had the bank revalue our house in August 2005. I present a Virgin One Account mortgage valuation dated 31 August 2005 as evidence.

14. We steadily increased our borrowing amount to GBP£210,000 (CYP£176,000) as and when needed for stage payments I present letters from Virgin One showing the agreed increased facility dated 15 September 2005 & 20 March 2006 as evidence

15. Marion Carter signed our contract on the 23 August 2005 and upon signing, the first payment CYP£39,000 was made. Between August and Christmas 2005 Karayiannas sent only 8 photos of our house under construction and none of the photos led us to believe that the development plan had changed.

16. On the 14 October 2005 we received an email stating that construction on the house had started. In the same email I was told that an interior change we wanted was now not possible as it effected a supporting wall. The photos attached to the email showed the foundations of the future offending houses were laid at the same time as ours. I present the email of the 14 October 2005 and the attached photos to the court as evidence.

17. On 14 September 2005 we had taken out a forward contract with Smart Currency Exchange Limited for CYP£26,000. This matured and was transferred to Carter and Leontiou on the 21st November and CYP25,972.50 was paid to Karayiannas on the 16th December 2005 for completion of the frame stage. I present the contract note with Smart Currency Exchange Limited, our bank statement for the period and a payment receipt from Karayiannas as evidence.

18. 20 January 2006 Michelle Anglou emails photos of our house. We see mistakes being made to the build as none of the interior changes requested were done. I reply back to Michelle Anglou on the 26 January informing her that I’ll be flying to Cyprus soon. On the 30th January 2006 she informs us that the Civil Engineers certificate for the brickwork stage has been given to our solicitor. I present the emails of the 20th 26th 30th January 2006 to the court as evidence.

19. Also on the 30th January 2006 we got an email from Marion Carter which included a receipt for Decembers frame stage payment and a civil engineers certificate for the brickwork stage. We arranged a money transfer to our lawyers account and CYP£26,083 was deposited on the 2nd February 2006. I present Marion Carters email with attachments and the contract note with Smart Currency Exchange Limited, our bank statement for the period as evidence

20. 6th February 2006 (Monday) I arrived in Cyprus and went straight to the development. I saw the mistakes that had been made to our house but was shocked at the changes Karayiannas had made to the site. The Karayiannas company had built 3 two storey houses where the neighbouring road on the original plan was to be. These houses were started at the same time as our build and ruined all privacy in our garden. The plans given in 2005 were false.

21. I met an British Ex pat who lived on Phase 1 a few hundred metres away as he was walking a dog. He told me that the occupants of Phase 1 were experiencing problems with Karayiannas. I showed him the offending houses looking into my garden and he told me to be careful with Karayiannas’. He said he had seen Marios Karayiannas get violent with some workmen who were putting up a neighbours fence. The neighbour had chosen their own workman to do the fencing and Marios Karayiannas made them leave.

22. I could not believe what I was hearing or the changes Karayiannas had made to the development plan. I decided to record my conversations from here on. I did this not only so my wife in the UK could understand but also for my own personal safety. This proved a wise move as Marios Karayiannas’ tone and manner changed significantly and he made promises that he soon went back on and ultimately he and his father turned violent.

23. On the 7th and 8th February 2006 (Tuesday and Wednesday) Neither Marios nor Christoforos Karayiannas would meet with me. Michelle Anglou told me they were busy. They rushed in and out of the office but could not stop to talk. I was concerned as my flight home was on Friday. Marios Karayiannas told Michelle Anglou to deal with my concerns. I was given the new site plan. It was obvious to me that my wife and I were mislead to induce us into contract. But I could also see that the new plan disagreed with Appendix B of the contract. Appendix B has two lines on it where the neighbouring road was to be. The new offending houses were place on those lines.

24. I also talked to Michelle Anglou about my car port. To me it looked like my house was built too close to the existing bungalow. We wanted a detached house with a car port to the side. In the future, after title deeds issued, we would have applied to the authorities to have the car port changed to an enclosed garage. I could have used this garage as a store room for my business. Above the garage we wanted to build an extra room that would have been an office or a child’s bedroom. Michelle Anglou said that it was still OK and that Marios Karayiannas would meet me to discuss all matters at the work site on Thursday. In fact, I later discovered that indeed the house was build too close. The car port was supported by the neighbours house. Karayiannas did not build a detached house. This is a material breach of paragraph 2 page 3 of the contract.

25. On Thursday morning 9th February Marios Karayiannas met me at the house. I recorded this conversation. He immediately started explaining where the new road was going to be and that because of the changes, 6 metres of land to the side will come available in the future. I told him that my wife and I are very upset. I showed him the original plan given to us and asked if he remembered it. He said “Yes I remember”. I told him we would not be able to enjoy our garden now. He said:-

“Your upset, listen, I have to see what I can do if you don’t like the house, I mean the plot this house now is £180,000 you understand that you buy this house originally off plan design, a very cheap price. If you are not happy or you wife is not happy I have to deal with my father and my advisor what I can do, I don’t have problem, I mean I can sell this house like that. There is no 4 bedroom house here, a villa for example with this kind of land”

26. I asked him a few more details about the changes then I pointed to the ground floor bungalow next door. There was a small window there. I asked “And you remember saying that the only windows looking at us would be this window here?” to which he replied “Yes”. I asked that they send the new plans to my wife and we agreed to continue talks at the office. As we were leaving Christoforos Karayiannas turned up and marked out the plot boundary.

27. At the office Marios Karayiannas went into detail about the 6 metres of land to the side of the house. He said this could be given to us in the future, but the idea was dependant on the local municipality, another developers plans, and the road completed. It sounded complicated and did not solve the problem. Before I left Michelle Anglou printed out the agreement details which showed the amounts paid and the dates of future instalments. This document is exhibit number 46

28. I also went to the Karayiannas Office on Friday, February 10, 2006 around 9am. I asked if I could have 10 minutes of their time and myself, Marios Karayiannas and Michelle Anglou sat down. I started by talking about the pipe work in the kitchen and that it is in the wrong place. Marios Karayiannas was very abrupt as if I am wasting his time. He says he will put the pipe work outside now. He won’t go to the house with me instead he says its his responsibility to get things right. I moved on to talk about the changes to the road and the balconies now looking down into our garden. I wanted to be clear in my understanding so I could inform my wife at home as to why things had changed. Marios Karayiannas admitted that the development plan had changed and that things he said before we bought the house had changed. He cared little about the changes and said “It is not in your house these things”,“It is outside your plot”,“Inside your plot I don’t make any changes, these things are in your mind!”.

29. He admits that he told me he would build a bungalow but says the permission to build had changed and he will now build two storey houses. He tells me to speak to my wife about the changes and write solutions, “we [The Karayiannas Company] wait the answer from you”. I said I will write to him within one week by email and return to Cyprus within two weeks. He says that I bought the house for CYP163,000 and now it is worth CYP£180,000. He said it is good not to have people looking into your property but these houses are CYP£300,000. He later said that he does not have a problem giving us our money back. This turned out to be a lie as evident by email 1 March 2006 (exhibit Number 24) and letter dated 9 March 2006 (see exhibit number 9). Finally that day Marios Karayiannas said he was in a rush to go to the land registry. I ended the meeting saying

“The trust between us Marios has been bruised”,”What you said last time has now changed”. I said that “I think the onus is on you and Karayiannas to rebuild that trust” I repeated that within one week I would write and hoped we would together come up with a solution.

30. I flew home that Friday afternoon 10th February and worked all weekend on putting together solutions as instructed by Marios Karayiannas. I used photoshop to illustrate the differences between the plan we were given and the development which was built. I also used photoshop to show what the view would look like from the balconies even when a fence was erected. We wrote four solutions we could see to solve the issue. These included buying us out of the contract or building us the same house on another location. The letter was sent Monday 13th February and is exhibit number 20

31. The following afternoon, Tuesday 14th Marios Karayiannas emails stating “Thank you for your email. You will be contacted by our solicitor in the next few days.” I present this email to the court as evidence.

32. The following week, Tuesday 21st February we email again requesting a response. I present this email to the court as evidence.

33. On Wednesday 22nd February I phoned Marios Karayiannas and record the conversation. He starts by not remembering or understanding that I am waiting for a decision from the company then he says he will see his lawyer the next day. He then goes on to shout in an angry manner

“No anybody to tell me what I can do with my plot or in my house you understand these things. It’s like my house lets say that it’s my house the next plot you have to tell me what I have to build.”

He then talks about respect and that any decision is for me to make he then states his position:-

“I don’t have to choose, I choose my way that I take you to the maximum thing with the court”

I ask him “Do you think people should be warned on the way you do business Marios, do you think that people should be told that what you say and what you do is different” He ignores the question and says he will write to my solicitor. He states that it is now my problem and he hangs up the phone.

34. As Marios Karayiannas had said he was going to speak to his lawyer we waited another week. Then with no news we sent an email on the morning of 1 March 2006. I present this email to the court as evidence.

In the afternoon of 1 March 2006 came a response from Anna Michael on behalf of Fotos Pittadjis. This is exhibit number 24.

35. On Friday 3 March 2006 I phoned Karayiannas and spoke to Michelle Anglou. I told her I was flying to Cyprus on Monday and wanted to arrange a meeting with Marios Karayiannas on Tuesday morning. On Saturday 4 March 2006 a short description of our story was put on the web and LyingBuilder.com was born. On Monday I flew to Cyprus and on Tuesday 7 March 2006 I went to Karayiannas’ office. Neither Marios Karayiannas or his father were there in the morning and Michelle Anglou could not tell me when they would be back. I told her “we have to buy that plot as it is there, Marios has got us, he’s won!”. She arranged a meeting for the afternoon.

36. I returned to the office in the afternoon and met with Marios and Christoforos Karayiannas. Also in the meeting was a young girl translating for Christoforos Karayiannas. I summarised the history of the past month in that I had gone away to write the letter as instructed. I said we put down four options in the letter, we waited two and a half weeks for a reply and that they had refused all solutions. I told them they we are going to live there in August but we were not happy. The different plans were shown to Christoforos Karayiannas and explained. Marios Karayiannas said it was now my problem. I said I don’t like the way he does business and the way he lies. He again said that was my problem. I told him that others should be warned about them and told him of LyingBuilder.com. They threatened me and I left.

37. The following day, 8th March 2006 Marios Karayiannas refused payment from Marion Carter. On the morning of the 9th March I was talking to residents on Phase 1 Ayios Sergios when Marios Karayiannas and his father turned up and assaulted me. They have been found liable for this assault in the civil action by District Court Judge G. Philippou on 25 January. See exhibit 17.

38. At the police station Marion Carter’s new business parter came to represent me. It was Andrew Klydes and they had just formed Klydes Carter Solicitors. A fax from George Pittadjis was sent to the police station. It stated that I’ve missed two payments despite Karayiannas’ demands. The letter also states that they cancel the agreement and will retain all money. This letter is included in a bundle of documents which has already been filed in court as exhibit 9.

39. The following day Friday 10 March, I went to Andrew Klydes office in Larnaca to discuss the assault and Karayiannas’ cancellation letter. I flew home in the afternoon and on Saturday I took down LyingBuilder.com and replaced it with a statement. I present this statement to the court as evidence.

40. On Monday 13 March I emailed a 10 page letter to Andrew Klydes and Marion Carter. I summarise the past month and informed them that my website has been replaced with the statement. I present this email to the court as evidence.

41. On the 21 March I receive a client care pack from Klydes Carter and a letter requesting my instructions on the assault case and breach of contract. I present this email to the court as evidence.

42. On the 29 March I emailed 4 pages of instructions to Klydes Carter and copies of the signed client care letter. Klydes Carter replied by email and acknowledged receipt. I present these emails to the court as evidence.

43. On the 7 April Klydes Carter email a letter stating they will not continue to represent me in these matters as it is not their area of expertise. I present this email to the court as evidence.

44. I phoned Andrew Klydes on 11th April 2006 09:46am and recorded the conversation. In that phone call he says to me

“… I was just saying to Marion that you’d be far better if you went to another district.. rather than staying in any of these areas because obviously he may have connections or ties where as if you went into another district such as Nicosia, you’d probably be represented better”

I asked if Nicosia would be OK

“it would better than even Larnaca because obviously Larnaca he may have someone who could control or effect whereas if you went to another district it would be better”
I asked:
“Was that one of the reasons you guys were turning down the case? did you find a conflict?”

and Andrew Klydes responded:
“no, no it was because we agreed on these were the areas that we were doing.”

I present a full transcript of the phone call to the court as evidence.

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