Following the shock new of the bankruptcies of Michael and Doris Stainer and the liquidation of more of their companies, just who is running the day-to-day activities at the Grand and under what authority? Keeping the Grand open and its employees working and getting paid is clearly a priority but this doesn’t happen automatically.
Let’s be quite clear as to what the law says as to what SHOULDN’T be happening during an individual’s bankruptcy:
This is what the Citizen’s Advice Bureau says are the consequences if you commit a bankruptcy offence. Firstly this, counts as a criminal offence. You could be punished with:
* a fine and/or
* being sent to prison for up to seven years.
In addition, you could also have a bankruptcy restrictions order made against you, extending the period during which you have to follow certain restrictions for anything up to 15 years.
Generally, the worse the offence, the more severe the punishment will be.
Now our follow up question: what are the consequences for someone who knowingly acts as the paid or unpaid agent of a bankrupt director in carrying out that bankrupt’s instructions to ensure “business as usual” for example? Just asking………..
In fairness, there is a dilemma here in that there might be need to maintain business continuity to preserve other parts of a business that were trading profitably. However, and unequivocally, this is the responsibility of an insolvency practitioner or the Official Receiver, not the bankrupt director.
So back to the Grand (pictured above) and the Stainers.
We hear from residents and employees that life is continuing as normal. We even hear that Mr Stainer (pictured below left) has repeatedly stated that it’s ‘business as usual’ and he is as visible as ever, including last Friday’s Conservative Party Annual Dinner along with our local MP Damian Collins (below right), at the Hythe Imperial.
Supplies continue to arrive at the door, people continue to book holiday flats obviously unaware that their payments should be credited against the Stainers’ personal debts since these flats are now the property of the Official Receiver.
Keppels continues to serve alcohol under the direction of the new premises licence holder, Robert Richardson (pictured) (a man still on bail and under investigation by HMRC for potential criminal offences following his arrest in July 2015) as Michael Stainer is a disqualified person. Cheques are issued and signed………
So into the middle of this steps a new director, appointed by Michael Stainer in his last legal act as a director. According to the Companies House register, the new and sole director of:
… is Henry Bolton OBE (pictured on his knees), former UKIP leader and a resident of the Grand. Mr Bolton has not been immune from controversy recently but has also served in both armed forces and the police force and was awarded the OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours “for services to international security and stabilisation” following his role as a Stabilisation Team Leader for the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Clearly that last role would serve him in good stead in the Grand, provided he is able to act with true independence of the previous directors. One example of that would be his willingness to blow the whistle on any ongoing activity on the part of the Stainers that violates the restrictions placed on them in bankruptcy, and to finally bring an end to 35 years of ‘warfare’ between residents and freeholder.
The Shepwayvox Team