A major confrontation between the Insolvency Service and the ‘new’ management of the Grand is brewing and could result in both civil and criminal proceedings.
On one side we have MacIntyre Hudson, appointed by the Official Receiver (The Insolvency Service) to locate, secure and then sell all the assets that belonged to Michael and Doris Stainer and the various companies wound up in 2018. The cash raised will go to pay off the creditors who include HMRC and the service charge account of the Grand, and quite possibly others. On the other side we have the bankrupt Stainers (pictured below), and the new management of the Grand in the guise of Robert Graham Moss from Rye, and the ever-present loyal Stainer gofer Robert Richardson (pictured below), who still works – when actually around — for and under the direction of Michael Stainer, according to our Grand sources.
So what is the battleground? It is the cash-cow of the 18 leasehold flats previously owned jointly and separately by the Stainers prior to their bankruptcies. Their use as holiday flats underpins/subsidises the whole commercial operation at the Grand according to Michael Stainer and his former solicitor, Andrew Duncan. It is claimed they gross around £350,000 per annum. It has been argued by Stainer and his acolytes, that the Association of Residents in the Grand, and in particular their chairperson, Peter Cobrin, are hell-bent on destroying the commercial interests in the Grand. We have trawled all the extensive submissions, evidence and decisions relating to the Grand over the last 8 years, and can find no evidence to support this other than the claims of the Stainers. In fact, the evidence suggests the contrary. The residents, in the words of one long standing resident, “need the commercial arm of the Grand to succeed and prosper” to pay the 25% contribution to maintenance imposed by the Property Tribunal and upheld on appeal.
The battle is in fact for control of these 18 flats. These now vest in the Trustee in Bankruptcy, and he wants the lettings to cease, the keys handed over and to get on with valuing and selling them. He might of course discover that they are mortgaged to the hilt, but this won’t deter HMRC from pursuing every penny wherever it may be found — or hidden, even if abroad…………
How this recovery process was to take place was shrouded in confidentiality. Luckily for us, Michael Stainer filed some very interesting documents in the High Court in an attempt to secure Judicial Review of the Tribunal decision referred to above, and to secure an injunction to shut down the efforts of the new manager, Alison Mooney, to do her job.
Let’s forget that the Stainers do not have the legal capacity as bankrupts to litigate except in regard to their own bankruptcy. Luckily the Insolvency Practitioner didn’t forget and blew the whistle on that escapade. But buried amidst some emails was one from the Insolvency Practitioner to Robert Moss, sent immediately after a meeting on Monday, January 28th. The reason for using this in Court was to try and suggest that Mrs Mooney was pressurising the Insolvency Practitioner to shut down the flats, therefore exceeding her powers. This ignored the fact that this usage was in breach of the leases, and that the tribunal appointed Manager, Mrs Mooney is obliged to enforce lease covenants.
Here is the email in full, courtesy of Michael Stainer:
So how did Mr Moss respond? Clearly the first thing he did was hand this email over either to Michael Stainer or gofer/lackey Robert Richardson (pictured below), judging from the speed with which it went into the document bundle. As to the second thing he did, if you were hoping to hear the clink of keys being handed over, you’d be profoundly disappointed. His response was a polite refusal to comply. We assume it was polite as by all accounts, Mr Moss is both polite and charming. But a refusal it was.
So clinking keys remains on the agenda, if not courtesy of Mr Moss, but quite possibly by virtue of the authorities exercising their powers. Non-cooperation with the Insolvency Service is no laughing matter. Acting under the directions of a bankrupt in the management of the companies of which the bankrupt was once a director is a criminal offence. While we are not suggesting this is in fact the situation, we would counsel great caution on the part of those ostensibly in control of the Grand.
As a final note, our thoughts go out to the staff of the Grand. A lot of blame, opprobrium and downright malicious abuse is thrown at those who speak up for, represent and report the goings-on in the Grand. If the commercial arm closes and jobs are lost, the sole address for this is as follows:
Michael Stainer c/o The Grand.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime