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Elderly woman says hair fell out because of stress caused by rent arrears battle with senator

Curtis Richardson heads for court (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An elderly woman said her hair was falling out and she had become ill because of stress after she was forced to take legal action against a government junior minister who owed her $19,000 in unpaid rent.

Margaret Harvey accused Curtis Richardson, a Government senator and junior Minister for National Security, of “stalling” legal proceedings against him to recover the cash.

Ms Harvey told The Royal Gazette yesterday: “Right now, you know, I’m sick.

“I can’t sleep, my hair is coming out. All of this has taken a toll on me. He doesn’t care.

“We have been through the court – over and over, the same story.

“Every time we go to court the same thing – he is saying the same thing. He just wants to stall, stall, stall, so that he wouldn’t pay and I don’t think that’s right.

“He has treated me very badly. He said if we took him to court, we won’t be getting anything.”

Mr Richardson was appointed to the Upper House by David Burt, the Premier, in 2020.

Mr Burt also appointed Mr Richardson, who a taxi driver, as junior transport minister, as well as giving him the national security brief, which covers law and order.

The legal dispute went to the Supreme Court in a civil case yesterday when Mr Richardson, who earns more than $30,000 a year for his role in the Upper House, offered to pay $100 a month to cover the arrears.

Ms Harvey’s daughter, Margot Harvey, a doctor, who represented the senior in court, said the legal saga began when Mr Richardson was given notice to leave an apartment he rented from her mother by March 1, 2020.

Ms Harvey took Mr Richardson to court in September 2020 after he failed to leave the property.

Magistrate’s Court ordered Mr Richardson to pay $325 a month after a series of hearings and delays in the case.

Dr Harvey, told the court that Mr Richardson had paid $1,400 in back rent, and that Financial assistance had paid another $1,161 a month for three months in 2020.

Mr Richardson told the court that he did not dispute he owed the money but that his means needed to be taken into account and assessed for repayments.

He insisted he had fully communicated with the courts throughout the legal process.

But Mrs Justice Subair Williams ruled that the case was not one for the Supreme Court.

She ordered it to be referred to Magistrate’s Court for an assessment of Mr Richardson’s ability to pay the debt.

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