Clive Palmer announces the candidate for Fisher Bill Schoch at a press conference at Sunshine Coast University.
Clive Palmer announces the candidate for Fisher Bill Schoch at a press conference at Sunshine Coast University. john mccutcheon

Bill Schoch says Palmer cut contract from $1m to $150,000

FAILED Fisher candidate Bill Schoch is suing former boss Clive Palmer for $4,682,812 and seeking to have his "sham" contract set aside.

Mr Schoch, who ran Palmer Coolum Resort until his contract was terminated on December 1 last year, argued the contract was void because of Mr Palmer's allegedly "misleading and deceptive conduct".

In documents lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Mr Schoch said his employment contract was reduced from $1 million a year - contingent on completing particular tasks - to $150,000 a year fixed.

He said a five-year fixed term disappeared, giving him "no security of employment at all".

Mr Schoch, through the documents, said the effected changes to the employment relationship could not be described as administrative as Mr Palmer, Federal Member for Fairfax, had allegedly made out.

The documents argued the contract was not binding on Mr Schoch "in that it is not supported by good consideration".

Mr Schoch said his tasks included negotiating the "China First Coal" project for Waratah Coal and working on equity capital money, or outright sale, in the multi-billion dollar range for the Galilee Basin coal tenements with BHP Biliton, China Shenhua Energy and QR National.

He said he also was responsible for acquiring the management rights of the Palmer Coolum Resort from the Chicago-based Hyatt organisation and negotiating two proposed iron ore investment worth $650 million each in equity capital.

Mr Schoch argued he was successful in enough tasks where he brought "money in" to justify being paid out in line with his original contract.

When he was asked to sign the new "misleading" contract on March 10, 2012, Mr Schoch said he checked the changed base rate but believed the original employment contract otherwise continued.

He said it was a Saturday and he was at Mr Palmer's "Gold Coast compound" without access to legal or other advice.

Mr Schoch said Mr Palmer presented the document without prior notice and in a group setting inappropriate for personal confidential discussion on remuneration matters.

He said Mr Palmer was dictating a multitude of tasks "at a frenetic pace to the summoned executives" with the group instructed to listen and take notes of the instructions to implement the important tasks within the Palmer Group.

"(Mr Palmer) was intent on delivering his vision in detail and discouraged two-way conversation," the document said.

"(Mr Palmer) made no comment whatsoever to (Mr Schoch) about any proposed new changes to his employment contract."

The documents lodged with the supreme court suggested Mr Palmer knew it was unlikely Mr Schoch would closely study the document for execution when he was at a meeting to extol the virtues of a long-term career within the Palmer Group to cadets being inducted.

Mr Palmer, who is believed to have plans to fight the claims against, is expected to face questions relating to it at his press conference at 1pm.

The Sunshine Coast Daily is seeking further comment from Mr Schoch and Mr Palmer.



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