The Long Read: End of a Grand era?
It’s a funny old world. We’ve been receiving very authoritative emails suggesting it’s Auf Wiedersehen Pet for Robert Richardson, General Manager of The Grand (pictured), who was arrested by HMRC and bailed as was his boss Michael Stainer & his wife in July 2015. These emails are very complimentary to him, and thus all the more convincing for this. They are also sent under the name of a well-respected local figure who we have spoken to, and he knows nothing about this.
So why are we receiving fake emails suggesting Richardson’s tenure as Michael Stainer’s right hand man at the Grand is allegedly coming to an end? The mystery is compounded by the fact that Richardson has posted on LinkedIn about a new senior manager being appointed at the Grand. So what game is being played here? Whatever it is, we won’t play, but we are prepared to accept the invitation to look back on Richardson’s track record as a general manager and occasional director of businesses for which he publicly takes responsibility.
Why this campaign of misinformation has started is a mystery. Instead, we will stick robustly to what is in the public domain. We want to be especially careful as Richardson recently took to LinkedIn to complain about what he considers to be “fake media.” Given that the media he was referring to is the London Gazette, “one of the official journals of record of the British government in which certain statutory notices are required to be published,” this complaint borders on farcical. Just for the record, all bankruptcies, insolvencies, liquidations have to be published in the London Gazette as part of the judicial process for insolvency.
Firstly, let’s look at how Richardson (pictured below) describes himself in his LinkedIn profile:
“Commercially focused General Manager within the UK hotel and leisure industry with a body of work demonstrating strong leadership, keen financial planning and strategic direction to drive overall stakeholder satisfaction, operating standards and conversion to bottom line. Consistently successful in establishing professional award-winning teams, driving Customer Satisfaction and Profitability. As General Manager of The Grand I have a strong focus on delivering long-term results and adding value to the organisation, leading all aspects of the business.”
Now let’s read Richardson’s complaint about ‘fake media” published via LinkedIn in late Feb 2018:
“I hate to use the phrase ‘fake media’ but I’ve honestly found it strange over the last year that having developed a sustainable business strategy to support the local community (at the financial expense of the business and personal expense of my own time) disenfranchised anonymous bloggers can, through innuendo, vilify an award winning business without having to name themselves or put forward evidence.”
One can understand therefore, why he was so peeved when Shepwayvox saw, and then published, formal notices about the winding-up orders of the companies he ran, even if he remains unsure as to which company at The Grand employs him. Once upon a time, local newspapers would have published such notices to allow local businesses who might be creditors to file their claims.
So, let’s look at Mr. Richardson’s trading history as a director, and let’s remind him of the statutory obligations of a director. Amongst these is an obligation under Statute, s172 of the Companies Act 2006 – to have regard to, amongst other matters:
• the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment;
• the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standard business conduct
An obligation to ensure all taxes are paid in a time fashion goes without saying, but more of that later. He was a director of two of the companies being wound up, Keppels Cuisine Limited and Grand-UK Ltd and resigned these posts on July 29th 2015, two weeks after the famous dawn raid in which he was arrested by HMRC, along with Mr. and Mrs. Stainer, because of issues in regard to the payment of taxes.
We would strongly urge anyone who still doubts the accuracy of our reporting to read the judgements in the two tax cases, and see how these inexorably lead to the winding up of the Grand Folkestone Ltd, and winding up orders against four other companies. Admittedly not on Mr. Richardson’s watch, we have also found two other tax-related liquidations of Mr. Stainer’s companies, the Grand Hotel Ltd in 1991 and Kentish Apartments Ltd in 2003. For a chartered accountant, this is a pretty sorry history, and one on which we would assume his professional body would have a view.
You are assuming the emails are fake when all you really know is that the person under whose name they were sent isn’t the person you thought it might be. Unless the name was so distinctive, it could just be a huge coincidence and he or she is real. After all, this is the Grand where everything is uncertain except for death and taxes —— OK, one out of two ain’t bad!!
Isn’t Mr Richardson preparing a ” GRAND EXIT ” to Coventry ?
Is “Reality Detachment” a communicable disease or just part of the job?
Will he be giving evidence in the next Tribunal hearing between his current boss and the the Grand residents? He was brilliant last time……..