Foots was recruited as chief executive in 1991 but was sacked by Ensham in 2001 due to a dispute over a lucrative dragline contract he held through Southern Cross Mine Management.
Foots set up Southern Cross (SC), in which he and his general manager Ray Bird had a majority of shares, to buy a BE 1260 dragline ‘Little Digger’, which was then hired to Ensham.
When Ensham rescinded the Little Digger contract in 2002, it offered to release Foots and SC without disadvantage, but Foots decided to sue Ensham on the grounds of lost profits.
Instead of ruling in favour of Foots, Justice Chesterman found he had acted fraudulently when Southern Cross Mine Management took the contract to use the so-called Little Digger, The Courier Mail reported.
His behaviour was described as misleading and deceptive and in contravention of the Trade Practices Act. He lied to Ensham "to take for himself, his family and friends a lucrative contract which it was his contractual and equitable duty to obtain for his employer”
The court has ordered that title to the dragline be formally transferred to Ensham.
Costs are not yet settled and Foots' officer's liability insurance may well be in jeopardy because of the fraud finding, according to The Courier Mail.