“When it gets bad, it gets really bad.” That might sum up Michael Stainer today as he stares into his reality mirror. He might not do this very often, but in the last few days he has had little choice.
On Thursday 4th March, and without warning, locksmiths sent from Leeds locked up, screwed shut and generally secured the commercial areas of the Grand so that no one could get in or out. They even installed alarms! This was on the orders of the administrators of the Grand, Begbies Traynor, in preparation for the auction sale on June 22nd and, in their words, protect the only asset that could see creditors paid back.
Then on Friday 5th March, we heard that the 48-garage complex to the rear of the Grand was under offer. This was recently repossessed from the Stainers as a result of their original 2018 bankruptcy proceedings, but not by MacIntyre Hudson who were appointed to deal with this bankruptcy, but by another receiver appointed by the mortgage lender. Garages, by the way, are big business, with each garage earning around £100 per month on average. So that little plot of 48 units could be worth £57,000 per annum with little outlay. So, where’s all that cash gone?
That same afternoon, we heard that staff currently employed at the Grand via Eastons Management (director Robert Moss pictured) had a fairly bloody Zoom meeting with Stainer and a silent Moss. This ended up with Stainer storming (virtually?) from the meeting after a torrent of complaints and abuse from angry employees, with words such as ‘liar” being bandied about. Luckily, they are all furloughed, so provided someone processes payroll, their income is assured — HMRC to Eastons Management to the employee…
Finally on Monday 8th March, District Judge Luthfur Rahman, sitting in Canterbury County Court, made a fresh bankruptcy order against Michael Stainer. Yet again, the claim was for unpaid service charges at the Grand, and yet again, it was claimed that the basis for this claim “was under appeal”. Stainer’s only problem was that this was totally untrue.
On January 22nd, a rather tired and recycled appeal, found itself in front of no less that the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Lewison, who refused to grant a stay of execution. Not surprising, as it has been dismissed in January 2019 by Deputy President of the Upper Tier Property Tribunal, Martin Roger QC. In September 2019, it ended up before HH Judge Karen Walden Smith, who dismissed an application for judicial review of the earlier decision, as ‘totally without merit”.
What Stainer was appealing against, was the July 2018 order of the First Tier Property Tribunal. This made him, and his wife, the absent Doris (fled to Germany pictured), liable for service charges over and above what they already weren’t paying. That same order slapped a 25% liability on the landlord, Hallam Estates, which why they got into terminal trouble as well.
So, since December 17th 2020, things have gone from bad to worse, but it all started on November 8th 2018 when he, and Doris, went bankrupt for the first time owing £1.3 million to HMRC and £350,000 to the building he claimed to love. This time he went bust for a paltry £18,000. How the mighty have fallen! Hardly worth the barrister’s fee he wasted, if he paid it……..
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde:
“To go bankrupt once, may be regarded as a misfortune; to go bankrupt twice looks like reckless disregard for honest business practice”.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the people NOT the Powerful