Bill still unpaid one year after college wrecking ball

Bill still unpaid one year after college wrecking ball

Nearly one year after Australian National University students caused more than $8000 damage to a restaurant during a drunken college ball, the owner of the Deck at Regatta Point is still waiting for repayment.

Karen Jackson, a Melbourne caterer who has run the ACT lakeside restaurant for 10 years, has banned the ANU from holding any events there after a John XXIII College ball last year during which the male toilet doors were pulled of their hinges, 100 glasses were broken, a glass fridge door was smashed, a blind was pulled down and the carpets soiled from student vomit.

NO SETTLEMENT: Payment still outstanding for damage to the Deck (manager Louise Robinson pictured).

NO SETTLEMENT: Payment still outstanding for damage to the Deck (manager Louise Robinson pictured).

Photo: Melissa Adams

Ms Jackson operates 16 catering venues across the ACT and Victoria. She said she had never seen such a display of destruction as the one which was left in the wake of last year's May 25 black-tie event. But she was even more disturbed that she was still waiting to be repaid for repair and cleaning bills. She has now taken on legal representation to fight the case.

Students from the college ran amok at the ball, which is a highlight of residential college life. ACT Police were required to attend before 10pm after restaurant staff found the toilets had been vandalised.

Three attendees were taken into police custody. All 390 attendees were cut off from alcohol and escorted off the premises.


When police had arrived, they observed that ''the majority of patrons were intoxicated''.

Head of John XXIII College Stephen Foley was called in on the night and cancelled the post-ball, after-party organised by the Johns Residents' Association scheduled for the next morning.

He said the incident involved some college residents, former residents and their friends, some of whom were subsequently banned from college events.

''The college has high expectations of good behaviour from its residents, and is disappointed by allegations that our residents may have been involved in an incident that is

inconsistent with those high expectations,'' Mr Foley said at the time.

He said on Tuesday that it was regrettable that Ms Jackson had had to wait 10 months for the case to be settled financially but an insurance claim was at issue.

Mr Foley' s understanding had been that the issue had been moving towards a settlement with the residents' association's insurer.

He noted the college was independent from the ANU and the residents' association was an independently incorporated body which had taken out the appropriate insurance for the ball.

An ANU spokeswoman said on Tuesday night that John XXIII College was a separate organisation that was not controlled by the university.

''It is their responsibility to resolve the matter,'' she said.

''However, now that this has been drawn to the attention of the university, we will be seeking an explanation from the college on how it proposes to resolve the concerns of the restaurant owner.''

It is believed the insurer is dissatisfied with security arrangements, which were also independently contracted by the association for the evening.

Mr Foley noted that the former residents' association president had immediately referred the issue to the insurer and appropriately progressed the insurance claim as far as he could, but the hold-up was with the insurance company.

Ms Jackson said the length of time to receive compensation was unacceptable.

The National Capital Authority, which operates the restaurant's toilets, had paid $4796 for repairs, and was seeking that money from Ms Jackson, which she believed would have to come from her personal earnings.

She had already paid $1400 in blind repairs, $700 in carpet cleaning, $352 to replace the glass fridge door, and $525 to replace about 100 broken glasses.

Ms Jackson also lost her liquor licence for 24 hours and had paid a $1000 fine for serving alcohol to intoxicated people, despite maintaining that students had arrived sober.

''Given they were only in the restaurant for around two hours, I am amazed at how quickly their behaviour disintegrated,'' she said.

The incident had caused her loss of income, untold hours chasing damages and had been considerably stressful.

Ms Jackson had already refused at least one ANU request to hold a function at the Deck since the Johns ball.

She said she has vowed she would never again accept business from the university.

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