After a six month lay-off from court appearances following what he misleadingly described to High Court Registrar Raquel Angelo QC as a “serious accident”, it was good to see a fit and healthy looking Michael Stainer (pictured) return to the “legal ring”. He was fighting to fend of the winding up of the bulk of his companies in the High Court on June 13th and 14th. The good news for him was that he secured adjournments on the winding up of Keppels Cuisine Ltd, Keppels Ltd, Grand-UK Limited, Kentish Cuisine Limited and the Grand Folkestone Partnership Limited. However he was compelled to admit that his conduct is still under investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service, as they still held vital papers he needed. This investigation would almost certainly include his general manager, Robert Richardson (pictured below left), and his wife Doris (pictured below), as all three were arrested back in 2015 during the famous dawn raid.
This raid was vividly described by Mr Stainer during the June 14th hearing, referring to “twenty-six officials removing hundreds of thousands of documents, some 100 years old.”
However, we then found out that a winding up order is now in place for Kentish Estates Ltd. Add to this the already defunct Grand Folkestone Ltd and one has to ask which company is left to take one’s money as one has a cream tea in the Palm Court, or has a Pimms in Keppells Bar.
This is not a silly question. If you’re a local tradesperson or supplier, you have a legal right to know, and all businesses have to comply, with the The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 in relation to stationery, premises and websites. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, and if that failure was also a deliberate attempt to conceal a situation that if known, might deter another business from providing services —— then life could get very difficult indeed! We’re not suggesting this is the case here, but certainly, attempts to identify who trades in the Grand have failed, as in this response from general manager Robert Richardson to an enquiry:
What are the criminal consequences of failure to make these required disclosures? We quote from section 28 of the above-mentioned regulation:
28. (1) Where a company fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirement in regulations 20 to 27, an offence is committed by—
(a) the company; and
(b) every officer of the company who is in default.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under paragraph (1) is liable on summary conviction to—
(a) a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale; and
(b) for continued contravention, a daily default fine not exceeding one-tenth of level 3 on the standard scale.
(3) For the purposes of this regulation a shadow director is to be treated as an officer of the company.
So who is left standing at the Grand?
Folkestone Capital Ltd was established in 2015 with Michael Stainer as its director and his daughters, Henrietta and Juliana as shareholders. Up to March 2017, according to its accounts, it had never traded. However, it is the company responsible for paying the business rates on the Grand, and several of the holiday lets owned by the Stainers which have finally appeared on the Council’s register for business properties. As the rates bill is well over £40,000, it certainly has started trading now!
Folkestone Victuallers Ltd was started in 2016, again with Michael Stainer in charge, and it too had no trading record up to March 2017.
Next is Eastons Management Ltd, which owns the garage complex of 47 units. This was established in 1999 and there is an outstanding mortgage on this property. It certainly has revenues from the rents it receives although its accounts since 1999 provide little guidance.
Last of all, and the “jewel in the crown’, is Hallam Estates Limited, which owns the freehold of the Grand. This was previously unencumbered with any mortgages, but in May 2018, Doris Stainer took a legal charge over the freehold although for what reason, and for what value we can only speculate.
These last two represent the only assets which could conceivably interest the insolvency practitioners Macintyre Hudson as they seek to recover the £814,000 debt owed to HMRC, and this must certainly worry residents of the Grand who might wake up one morning under new ownership! Let us hope they don’t see a re-run of 1994-1996 when Michael Stainer saw his “Jewel” repossessed, only to re-emerge as the director of the new owner, Hallam Estates Ltd
The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime
PS Michael Stainer is NOT the owner of the Grand, he is a mere director of the Company which does. Furthermore the Grand is NOT a hotel. This is to correct inaccuracies reported by both the Folkestone Herald & Folkestone & Hythe Express online and in print.