Telecom looks to have the means to put out of business a small Waikato company that has been a thorn in its side for years.
The High Court in Hamilton has ruled that Lloyd Group owes Telecom more than $200,000 for services first provided in 1999. Lloyd Group director Lloyd Gallagher was still disputing the amount owed last week, despite the court setting a deadline of last Thursday by when it had to be paid.
Telecom is entitled to have Lloyd Group liquidated to settle the debt. By Computerworld’s deadline the money remained unpaid and Telecom spokesman Andrew Bristol couldn’t say if Telecom would seek liquidation.
The Hamilton hearing is the latest in a long series of skirmishes between Lloyd Group and Telecom, including a protracted Commerce Commission investigation instigated by Lloyd Group.
Gallagher, a former Telecom employee who describes the telco as a monopoly, set up as an internet service provider in the late 90s. He made headlines by beating Telecom at providing a DSL service, to his one publicly disclosed customer, biotech firm Genesis Research & Development.
But the service was short-lived: Telecom told Lloyd Group it could not connect its DSL gear, from US company Paradyne, to its network, and arguments ensued about provisioning of circuits to enable the company to provide the service. That prompted an anti-competitive behaviour complaint by Gallagher to the Commerce Commission, which was found in July 2000 to have no merit.
Gallagher said last week that he could come up with money owed, “but I’m not going to”, maintaining he is being asked to pay for services which had been disconnected. He says he continues to provide web-hosting services and has overseas customers, but won’t disclose details because he doesn’t want to alert Telecom to them. He says he is no longer operating as Lloyd Group.
“Effectively Telecom killed Lloyd Group a year ago when it disconnected it.”