What would make a good week for Michael Stainer?
How about one in which three court cases don’t go against you.
Or try this:
one in which the moratorium on his repossessions is renewed.
one in which the building in which you run your holiday let and other hospitality businesses gets its insurance renewed.
one where your drinks licence isn’t in jeopardy…….
Now that would be a good week, and maybe in the commercial fantasy world in which he operates, this is exactly how he saw the last week or so.
Meanwhile down to earth, with a bump!
Firstly, Upper Tier Tribunal Judge Elizabeth Cooke threw out an attempt to reverse the May decision that gave the Grand’s Tribunal-appointed Manager the right to bring the holiday-let business to an end. Allegations of witness statement tampering were dismissed as “without substance”. She concludes that:
“This is a dispute characterised by animosity between the parties. It is important that the FTT’s management order takes effect without further delay or frustration as a result of that animosity”.
This wasn’t Judge Cooke’s first exposure to Stainer’s litigation skills. A previous appeal relating to £9,600 costs awarded to AORG because of Stainer’s absenting himself from proceedings in April 2018 was dismissed thus:
“In my judgement the FTT’s conclusion that non-attendance was deliberate was unimpeachable.”
Next came a double whammy:
First, the Tribunal rejected an application by the Stainers for permission to appeal the Tribunal’s refusal in August to dismiss their appointed manager, Alison Mooney. One part was particularly interesting, although not germane to the decision itself, but certainly characteristic of Stainer’s conduct and refers to his submissions to the Tribunal:
“At para 10 of the application for permission to appeal, it is suggested the Tribunal Judge made comments that Mr Cobrin had a “criminal background” and that he was “the last person on earth” who the Manager should be employing to manage The Grand. The Tribunal does not recognise the first comment (certainly using the words suggested). The second comment is also not recognised, but appears to be a reference to a summary of the Applicants’ arguments put to the First Respondent by the Tribunal during the course of the hearing.”
The determination goes on:
“In the present (and previous) proceedings involving The Grand, very serious allegations have repeatedly been made against individuals that are wholly unsupported by evidence. Paragraphs 11 and 12 of the application for permission to appeal follows this now traditional route.”
Secondly, and this application redefines chutzpah, was an attempt by Stainer to recover:
“ … costs under Rule 13(1) of the Tribunal Procedure …….sought payment of the Applicants costs of £3,000 for counsel and £1,800 for solicitors in connection with the hearing on 30 June/1 July 2020.”
This in a case he lost!!
Mind you, he has form for seeking costs in cases he lost. In August 2017 when AORG secured recognition, at the end of proceedings he applied for his costs of £10,029 plus VAT and presented an invoice/receipt from Tanfield Chambers which included an item for his barrister’s “Brief fee for hearing”. This meant attendance in court and has been confirmed by Tanfield. No barrister appeared…….
So how did Judge Loveday, also of Tanfield Chambers respond to this claim:
“The Tribunal can reject, fairly briefly, the grounds advanced in the application for costs. There is no case to answer.”
He went on:
“In fact, the variation to the 2015 Management Order was not a remedy sought by the Applicants, who sought a removal of the Manager. In that respect, the Applicants substantially failed at the hearing, and the Respondents substantially succeeded.”
So how about the repossessions looming over the holiday-let flats, and the Stainer’s own home?
An injunction sought by the Stainers to prevent the auctioning of two flats, the Dorchester and the Edinburgh, has been thrown out, and they will be in auction shortly.
Repossession cases considered a priority, and therefore exempt from any moratorium as confirmed by the Master of the Rolls on September 17th include these two:
The problems with Aviva’s refusal to renew the building insurance at the Grand were dealt with recently, and at the time of writing, despite interventions from Damian Collins MP, show no sign of being resolved. The knock-on effect of this will undoubtedly impact on the hospitality business at the Grand, as no insurance means no licence, and no licence means no Keppels.
Stainer could try and acquire insurance just for the commercial part of the building, but not without disclosing Aviva’s refusal to renew. Non-disclosure would be a very serious matter as the Supreme Court made clear in Reliance Life Insurance Ltd v Rekhaben Nareshbhai Rathod, which dealt extensively with an insureds’ disclosure obligations.
Better be careful Mikey!
The Shepway Vox Team
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