Has the music finally come to an end for the Stainers (pictured)? Has the 33 years of incessant battling through numerous court cases, insolvency proceedings, an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), arrests, and HMRC investigations finally reached its conclusion?
The answer might well be “yes” as Michael and Doris Stainer are facing personal bankruptcy to add to their commercial woes. Two petitions for their insolvency were before Deputy Insolvency and Company Court Judge Mullen in the High Court today (July 4th 2018) at 14.30.
* Petition ref: BR-2018-000757 was in the name of Doris Stainer.
* Petition ref: BR-2018-000758 was in the name of Michael Stainer.
As this relates to personal indebtedness, it would appear to be unconnected with the corporate insolvencies of the various companies of which they are directors, as reported earlier, although the common link is HMRC. Cautions have been placed on all the properties they own, namely the 19 holiday flats at the Grand. The following is taken from the Land Registry site and relates to one of the 19:
This action means that other personal creditors of the Stainers can join in these proceedings, which in this case means the £276,000 jointly owed to the Service Charge Fund of the Grand by the Stainer, following the recent Tribunal case.
What does this all mean? A bankruptcy petition is an application to the court for someone’s assets to be taken and sold to pay their debts. If an individual fails to defend a Bankruptcy Petition presented against them, the Court will normally proceed to make a Bankruptcy Order against them.
Bankruptcy has dire consequences. If a Bankruptcy Order is made against an individual, the Official Receiver (who is a civil servant in the Insolvency Service and an officer of the court) will be appointed to review the Bankrupt’s affairs and he has responsibility from the date of the Bankruptcy Order for administering the Bankruptcy Estate and protecting the Bankrupt’s assets for the benefit of the Bankrupt’s creditors. If a Bankrupt has assets such as a property, a Trustee in Bankruptcy will normally be appointed to investigate the Bankrupt’s affairs; sell the Bankrupt’s assets and distribute the money among the Bankrupt’s creditors.
Until a Bankrupt is discharged from their Bankruptcy, they may not act as the director of a company or take part in its promotion, formation or management unless they apply to the court for permission to do so. Further, some professional institutions may dismiss a Bankrupt from their professional membership potentially destroying their careers. Institutions such as the Law Society and the Institute of Chartered Accountants may treat Bankruptcy as a mandatory dismissal.
So, what of the properties owned by the Stainers, which includes their own home. It is part of the duties of the Official Receiver or Trustee in Bankruptcy to maximise the return to creditors, which means they will look to extract any beneficial interest (equity) in a property a creditor owns.
It is ironic that as Wimbledon enters its first week, another famous German is struggling to avoid the consequences of bankruptcy. We refer of course to Boris Becker, who is also having a tough year, having been both declared bankrupt and embroiled in a dispute with the Central African Republic over the validity of the diplomatic passport they gave him and which he hoped would give him immunity from bankruptcy proceedings.
Are we witnessing the Grand finale, is the music finally over for Michael & Doris Stainer? Watch this space!