Tag Archives: Bankruptcy

Philip Brewer files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in California

US Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California: Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines

US Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California: Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines

PHILIP BREWER has filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in California, Case No. 9:11-bk-14384-PC.

The Bankruptcy Notice states that a Meeting of Creditors is scheduled to take place at 10am, Oct 17, 2011, at 128 East Carillo St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

The deadline given for filing objections to Debtor’s Discharge or to Challenge Dischargeability of Certain Debts is Dec 16, 2011; and the deadline to Object to Exemptions is thirty days after the conclusion of the meeting of creditors.

Reverse of Notice: Explanations

Reverse of Notice: Explanations

The reverse of the notice provides important explanations including advice to creditors with foreign (ie non-USA) addresses, who should consult a lawyer familiar with United States bankruptcy law if they have any queries about their rights in this case. It also gives other important information about certain actions that creditors are prohibited from taking, such as contacting the debtor to demand payment or taking action to collect money/obtain property.


Disclaimer: This post is for information only and does not constitute any form of legal advice.

Concerns about call for SPCK/SSG Creditors

Matt Wardman writes:

Following on from our previous posting about the call for creditors of the Saint Stehen the Great Charitable Trust to come forward within the next 2 weeks, only if they know that they are owed money from before July 2007, we have written to relevant magazines raising these concerns:

  • The complexity of the history of this whole affair, and the deliberate obfuscation introducd by the Messrs Brewer,  makes it very difficult for potential creditors to know whether they come within the restrictions laid down, or not.
  • As far as we are aware, the notice has only been published in The Bookseller, while the SPCK chain was a business with worldwide links – far beyond the book trade.
  • How can such a range of creditors can be realistically expected to respond to a notice with a 3 week deadline in a booktrade magazine, posted up to 3 years after the relevant debts were incurred?
  • Does this adequately meet legal requirements for informing creditors?

We are not publishing the full text of the letters here until after they have been published in the magazines and newspapers concerned, for obvious reasons.

We have not raised several further points, because we are not sure ourselves what difference they make, and would make our letters even longer than they are already:

Interim Manager's Notice

  1. The Interim Manager is in control of the two charities “Saint Stephen the Great”(1119839), and “Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust” (1119839-1).
  2. The Charity Commission website states that he controls the former, and he has himself declared himself to be in control of the latter when claiming possession of shops.
  3. These charities were forcibly merged by the Charity Commission around 23 July 2007.

So what is the basis for taking responsibility for actions of one charity only? Shouldn’t creditors of both of these charities be able to seek redress for debts incurred over a far greater period of time?

In any case:

  • Given the complexity, and lack of clarity, in this history, all creditors, and potential creditors, should get in touch with the Interim Manager using the contact details in the notice, and/or those given on the Charity Commission site; these are stsgct@gothamerskine.co.uk via email, or by phone on 020 7490 1880.
  • We hope that specific contact will be made with the hundreds of suppliers identified in the Court Documents, who are potential creditors even within the period before July 2007.
  • We also hope that the deadline for responses will be extended to a more realistic period, perhaps to the end of January 2010.

There may be more, as and when we have (or understand) it.

Philip Brewer files for Chapter 13 Personal Reorganization

Phil Groom writes:

The excerpt copied below is from a notice posted at AzBiz.com under Daily Territorial > Bankruptcies > bank 8/3/9 and bank 7/30/9 (h/t asingleblog). Keep reading: there’s more

J Mark Brewer’s Declared Debts

Phil Groom writes:

Courtesy of Ministry of Truth, this information entered the public domain not long after Brewer himself submitted it as part of last year’s failed bankruptcy filing. Matt Wardman posted some analysis of the situation in December 2008, but as far as I’m aware, the actual schedule of debts has not previously been transcribed to text. So here it is, creditors as named by Brewer in his submissions to the Texas Bankruptcy Court dated June 19, 2008, sorted by amount due.

Please note that this list is not complete: it only includes the creditors listed on the initial Statement of Financial Affairs (pdf, 1.2 MB) — the Amended Schedule E & F (pdf, 1.9 MB), Schedule F Continuation (pdf, 1.7 MB),  Schedule F Continuation 1 (pdf, 132 KB) and Schedule F Continuation 2 + Schedule G (pdf, 3.8 MB) run to 111 pages listing scores of other creditors with a total stated debt of $1,624,258.11.

  • Creditor: Amount Owed
  • Orthodox Christian Mission Fund: $494,097.56
  • HM Revenue & Customs – VAT: $62,824.74
  • HM Revenue & Customs – VAT: $57,615.60
  • Brewer & Pritchard, P.C.: $56,694.98
  • Employees of SSTG LLC c/o Moorepay: $52,886.06
  • Marston Book Services: $48,138.20
  • St Andrew’s Bookshop: $40,118.76
  • STL Wholesale: $38,211.13
  • Booksolve Computer: $36,955.57
  • Charles Farris Ltd: $31,048.73
  • Network Business Call: $28,294.07
  • Cocoabean (Oriel) : $4,770.75
  • BT-One Bill: $3,712.77
  • Subtotal for these Creditors: $955,360.92

The ‘Orthodox Christian Mission Fund’ — to whom the largest amount due was declared — is Brewer’s own organisation (described by him as ‘our “sister” charity’). Quite how Brewer could run up a debt just shy of half a million dollars to his own organisation — alongside a further $57k to his own company, Brewer & Pritchard, (4th largest debt) — remains something of a mystery.

Rumour has it that Booksolve have been paid. If any others beyond those identified earlier this month have been paid, they’re keeping quiet about it.

Fun on the Buses: Slogan Competition

Phil Groom writes:

It’s amazing what you see on the roads in London these days:

There probably won't be any bookshops - there certainly wasn't a bankruptcy

There probably won't be any bookshops - there certainly wasn't a bankruptcy

There probably won't be any bookshops if we leave them to the Brewers

There probably won't be any bookshops if we leave them to the Brewers

Courtesy of the Atheist Bus Slogan Generator:
can you come up with anything better?

ruletheweb.co.uk/b3ta/bus | tinyurl.com/bus-slogan

Breaking the Silence

Two Brewers - but watch out, there may be more...

Two Brewers - but watch out, there may be more...

Phil Groom writes:

Have been rummaging through my backcopies of Christian Marketplace and found the article J Mark Brewer had them take down from their website, from the July 2008 issue, Industry News, p.6. Reproduced below for those who missed it; and if that’s you, good news: if you’re involved in Christian retail, a church leader or responsible for a church bookstall, you need never miss another issue — head on over to the UKCBD Blog to find out how to pick up a FREE subscription: Keeping Up to Date, Getting Up to Speed.

Reading through the article, I can’t see anything that’s even remotely sanctionable let alone libellous. This is straightforward, factual reporting. But I can see plenty of reasons why dear old Marky warky, bless his devious little cotton socks, would have wanted to suppress it. 

Finally, a reminder for anyone pursuing the Brewers/SSG for debts: neither the St Stephen the Great trading company nor the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust is in fact bankrupt. They have not gone into administration; they have not been legally declared insolvent. The USA bankruptcy filing was thrown out as an attempted fraud on the courts. Don’t let them fob you off with false claims of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy, closures, sackings…
From bad to worse at SSG

The SSG Bookshops story took a dramatic twist last month when it emerged that the company which owns the shops, St Stephen the Great – Limited Liability Company (SSG – LLC) had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that allows a business to continue trading and pay creditors over time.

Mark Brewer informed all staff by email on 6th June that on 6th June that “SSG has been terminated as the trading company to operate the bookshops formerly known as SPCK bookshops” and that “SSG-LLC has been placed into reorganisation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court”.

The email also advised staff that, “The bookshops will now be operated by ENC Management Company. Former employees of SSG-LLC are invited to apply for a position with ENC Management Company. If you wish to apply, please reply to this email so indicating.”

The directors of ENC, which was registered at Companies House on 11th March 2008, are listed as Sandra K Brewer, Mark J Brewer and Philip W Brewer and its registered office is listed as the address of the Chester shop.

Staff in the Chester shop received an email on 2nd June from Philip Brewer advising them of the “change in ownership/management to ENC Management Company with effect from 1st June.” The email also advised staff that they could continue “employment at the Chester bookshop … by applying for a position with the new company” (ENC) and that this was “not a transfer of your employment under TUPE.”

USDAW, the shop staffs Trade Union, who have been advising staff over recent months, expressed concerns at the latest developments. Christine Peacock, Senior Legal Assistant at USDAW, told Christian Marketplace, “We are currently investigating what effect, if any, SSG’s filing for bankruptcy will have in the UK.”

Peacock confirmed that there are fifteen claims lodged in preparation for Industrial Tribunals. The first of these (Alison Speddings vs Mark Brewer) which was due to be heard from Monday 9th June at the Sheffield Employment Tribunal, was adjourned because of the ‘bankruptcy’ situation and neither Mark nor Phil Brewer were in attendance.

She also said that USDAW were aware that ENC Management Company is also owned by the Brewer brothers and were “currently taking advice on the validity of these actions. We are concerned that they will have the effect of moving the assets to a place which means that there are no assets available to settle the claims.”

The Charity Commission are also to undertake an investigation into SSG; a spokesman confirmed that they are “currently considering whether this raises any issues for the Charity Commission to take forward.”

At the time of writing it appears that thirteen of the 24 shops originally passed onto SSG are now closed. A number have closed since the bankruptcy announcement, including Chester, Newcastle, Norwich and Worcester. A further three are independently open with doubts about the status on another four.

Currently there are three companies running the remaining bookshops. In addition to ENC there is Durham Shop Management Co. and Chichester Shop Management Co. and the listed directors are the same for all three.

Mark Brewer has again been asked to comment on the current developments but has not responded to any request.

Cease and Desist: 6 Months On

Phil Groom writes:

Today, January 21st 2009, marks exactly 6 months to the day from when J Mark Brewer sent out his first Cease and Desist message in an attempt to silence the bloggers before his spurious bankruptcy filing was raked over in the Texas courts.

Fortunately for me but unfortunately for him, I was on holiday at the time, cruising the Thames on a narrowboat: the first I heard of it was when Clem Jackson, my Editor at Christian Marketplace, left a message on my mobile to tell me that the Bruisers, sorry, Brewers (never could spell), were getting uppity and threatening him, Dave Walker and myself with libel action unless we took down certain pages from our respective websites.

With no internet access there was nothing I could do anyway and I wasn’t inclined to cut my holiday short simply to respond to Mark Brewer’s attempts at intimidation — but I’ve told the story up to that point before so rather than retell it here, I thought I’d simply repost his first Cease and Desist letter here, in full, to allow us to compare what he wanted with what we’ve delivered:

From:   Brewer@bplaw.com
Subject: Demand to Cease and Desist
Date: 21 July 2008 18:04:17 BDT
To:   Phil Groom, Clem Jackson

Sirs:

I just visited your site dedicated to the destruction of my personal reputation and that of Saint Stephen the Great/Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.  I am absolutely appalled and devastated by what you have written as well as by what you have encouraged and allowed to be posted on your various sites – especially after your last written communication to me, below which ended “Assuring you of my prayers.”

You have successfully blocked my efforts to get my and SSG’s side of the story out.  You have done this with your sites and Mr. Walker’s with whom you obviously collaborate.  No matter what I say or do not say, the three of you continue your relentless attacks on me and the charities.  You have now broadened your attacks to include my wife, my daughter and my religion.  You will obviously stop at nothing.  You must, therefore, be stopped.

When I do not respond to your vile and defamatory words, you pretend that you are such an important person that ‘how dare anyone not answer you.’  When I do respond, you hold me up to even greater ridicule and invite others to do the same.  I am dumfounded that any Christian ethos purportedly allows one to do that.

You now are doing your best to interfere with the Charitable Trust’s efforts to salvage what remains of the business of the bookshops, scornfully mocking these efforts at every turn.

This is not right and you have gone way too far.

Your statements are false and I categorically deny them – both for me, my family and SSG/SSGCT.  Nearly all of them are defamatory per se.

I therefore am going to say this as clearly as I can:  I am a private individual and I value my privacy.  I am not a public figure such that you have the right to drag my name and my family’s names through the mire.  I do not consent to you contacting me about your alleged enquiries.  I do not consent and object to you maintaining websites about me, SSG, SSGCT, ENC Management, my brother, my wife, or my daughter.  I do not consent to you posting blogs on the internet.  I do not consent to you defaming me to any other party or person by “sharing” your false allegations.

 Legal Demand
I hereby demand that you cease and desist from doing any of these things any more.  I specifically demand that you deactivate your webpages, websites and/or blogsites devoted to me, my brother, my family, SSG and/or SSGCT IMMEDIATELY.  These include:

  1. http://spckssg.wordpress.com/tag/mark-brewer/
  2. www.unicorntreebooks.blogspot.com/
  3. http://www.christianmarketplace.org.uk/engine.cfm?i=45&cmid=4091
  4. http://www.christianbookshops.org.uk/news.htm#ssg060208 (Betrayed by the Brewers: Lies, Damned Lies and St Stephen the Great)
  5. http://www.christianbookshops.org.uk/spckdonate.htm (Support SPCK’s Booksellers, and the Phil Groom administered “fund”)

If you do not do so; i.e., remove your websites by noon GMT July 22, 2008, I will seek an injunction against you, your colleagues, associates and companies.  I also will take legal action against each of you for damages for libel.  In that event, I will also subpoena all records relating to the persons whom you have allowed to post defamatory material on your website in order to add them as defendants.

Mark Brewer

You’ll find my original responses to Mark’s allegations and demands in the following series of posts:

It’s interesting looking back: up to this point, I hadn’t been collaborating with anyone. But I am now — not with Dave Walker, sadly, but with dozens of other bloggers; and whilst I was reporting relatively light-heartedly before, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve become relentless since: both the very opposite to what Mark wanted.

As for Mark’s wife and daughter, up to this point I hadn’t even been aware of their involvement; but I am now — and I can find no words adequate to describe my feelings about the kind of man who drags his own wife and daughter into the sort of double-dealings and dishonesty we’ve now witnessed.

Meanwhile, of course:

  1. We have more pages than ever tagged “Mark Brewer”;
  2. The Unicorn Tree Books Blog is still going strong;
  3. Whilst the specific Christian Marketplace report Mark took exception to has gone, there are plenty of others still there;
  4. My report Betrayed by the Brewers: Lies, Damned Lies and St Stephen the Great is still there — with a follow up;
  5. And the Support SPCK’s Booksellers page and fund remain open…

All in all, it strikes me as a fairly spectacular own goal for Mr Brewer. So I’ll say it again: if you’re reading this, Mark, and you’d like me to Cease and Desist, there are three initial steps you need to take:

  1. Pay your former employees
  2. Pay your suppliers
  3. Withdraw your threats of legal action

But now there are some further steps:

4. Give your ill-begotten gains from the sale of the Exeter shop to SPCK;
5. Cease and Desist from your plundering of the former SPCK bookshops;
6. Give (as in freely, without expecting any sort of remuneration) the shops to people who, unlike yourself, can be trusted to run them with honesty and integrity according to a Christian ethos.

Six steps for six months: seems reasonable to me; and then there’s the small matter of making a donation to the Save the SPCK Booksellers fund yourself, Mark, by way of reparation for demanding its removal… 

Chichester, Durham, Third Space Books: Updating UKCBD Entries

Phil Groom writes:

Figured it was about time I updated the UKCBD entries for Chichester, Durham and Third Space Books. I’ve tried to keep them more or less the same, so there’s substantial repetition below, but this is how they’re looking, using my standard UKCBD layout:

UKCBD Entry for Durham Cathedral Shop

UKCBD Entry for Durham Cathedral Shop

Contentwise, I’ve tried to condense things down to the bare essentials — would get rather longwinded if I attempted to re-run the entire history! — but would appreciate feedback/suggestions, please, in case there’s anything critical I’ve missed. Please try to read the entries as if you were a complete newbie to the SPCK/SSG saga: have I given you enough info to make sense of things? Or is there too much info?

Chichester

Previously trading as SPCK St Stephen the Great Bookshop, Chichester, the Chichester Shop Management Co is one of several UK trading identities used by the Brewer family, Texas. Along with the Durham Cathedral Shop, this shop’s trading identity was changed in 2008 in what appears to have been part of a complex strategy to evade creditors and ringfence profitable shops prior to a spurious attempt to file “St Stephen the Great LLC” for bankruptcy in the Texas Bankruptcy Courts in June 2008.

Despite the claimed bankruptcy, the family (headed up by J Mark and Philip W Brewer) have continued to trade variously as SPCK St Stephen the Great Bookshops, Durham Cathedral ShopENC Management CompanyChichester Shop Management Co and Third Space Books. The parent organisation, the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (also known as the St Stephen the Great Trust and commonly abbreviated to either SSG or SSGCT) is subject to an ongoing investigation by the Charity Commission in response to a number of complaints about their trading activities.

Buyer and Supplier Beware 
Trading with this shop or its associated companies is not recommended whilst members of the Brewer family remain in control. For more information, please see the Chichester page at SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info and, if you share the concerns expressed, please consider signing the online petition to the Bishop and Diocese of Chichester calling for the Brewers to be removed from St Olave’s Church.

Durham

Previously trading as SPCK St Stephen the Great Bookshop, Durham, the Durham Cathederal [sic] Shop Management Co is one of several UK trading identities used by the Brewer family, Texas. The shop’s trading identity was changed in March 2008 in what appears to have been part of a complex strategy to evade creditors and ringfence profitable shops prior to a spurious attempt to file “St Stephen the Great LLC” for bankruptcy in the Texas Bankruptcy Courts in June 2008.

Despite the claimed bankruptcy, the family (headed up by J Mark and Philip W Brewer) have continued to trade variously as SPCK St Stephen the Great Bookshops, Durham Cathedral ShopENC Management CompanyChichester Shop Management Co and Third Space Books. The parent organisation, the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (also known as the St Stephen the Great Trust and commonly abbreviated to either SSG or SSGCT) is subject to an ongoing investigation by the Charity Commission in response to a number of complaints about their trading activities.

Durham appears to be the only shop in the group that has renewed its membership of the Booksellers Association.

Buyer and Supplier Beware 
Trading with this shop or its associated companies is not recommended whilst members of the Brewer family remain in control. For more information, please see the Durham page at SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info and, if you share the concerns expressed, please consider signing the online petition to the Dean and Chapter of Durham calling for the Brewers to be removed from the Cathedral.

Third Space Books

Third Space Books is one of several UK trading identities used by the Brewer family, Texas. Whilst the trading identities of the Durham and Chichester shops were changed in what appears to have been part of a complex strategy to evade creditors and ringfence profitable shops prior to a spurious attempt to file “St Stephen the Great LLC” for bankruptcy in the Texas Bankruptcy Courts in June 2008, the purpose of this particular trading identity remains unclear.

Despite the claimed bankruptcy, the family (headed up by J Mark and Philip W Brewer) have continued to trade variously as SPCK St Stephen the Great Bookshops, Durham Cathedral ShopENC Management CompanyChichester Shop Management Co and Third Space Books. The parent organisation, the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (also known as the St Stephen the Great Trust and commonly abbreviated to either SSG or SSGCT) is subject to an ongoing investigation by the Charity Commission in response to a number of complaints about their trading activities.

Buyer and Supplier Beware 
Trading with this shop or its associated companies is not recommended whilst members of the Brewer family remain in control. For more information, please visit SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info where you’ll find two dedicated pages for Durham and Chichester: if you share the concerns expressed, please consider signing the online petitions to the Dean and Chapter of Durham and to the Bishop and Diocese of Chichester calling for the Brewers to be removed from these two important locations.

Each entry is then rounded off with my standard bit of blurb about the whole sorry saga, which remains as it was in September 2008:

In October 2006 the former SPCK Bookshops and their associated websites were entrusted by SPCK to the Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSG), under the control of Messrs Philip and Mark Brewer. Unfortunately shops and staff alike suffered in the transition to new ownership, leading to staff departures, branch closures and uncertainty over opening times for those that remain… Read more.

SPCK/SSG News
Keep up to date with a free RSS or Email subscription:
(Notice updated 07/09/2008 )
Thank you.

Acceptance Speech for The Superior Scribbler Award

Phil Groom writes:

I am delighted, humbled and honoured to announce that His Holiness the Rt Revd David Keen, Archbishop of Abbey Manor and Lord of the Landlocked Isles, et cetera, et cetera, has in his inestimable wisdom granted yours truly, and hence by extension, this blog, the prestigious and much coveted Superior Scribbler Award:

Superior Scribbler Award

Superior Scribbler Award

Phil Groom: for his courage in calling Mark Brewers bluff on his legal threats, and dedication in continuing to blog about the increasingly sad saga of the former SPCK bookshops. The potential charge list against the new owners seems to grow by the week, and Phil has led the line in keeping this issue in the public domain. 

What can I say? Without your support, most excellent readers, this blog would be nothing at all, might even have gone the way of the Lost ‘Save the SPCK’ Dave Walker Posts.

As regular readers will know, like Dave, I too was threatened with legal action by Mark Brewer — who, like the the big, bad wolf, said he’d huff and he’d puff until he blew my house down. And he huffed and he puffed… and he blew himself all the way back to law school, courtesy of the Texas Bankruptcy Courts.

So as well as thanking David for the award, I wish to place on record my thanks to all of you good people who have helped to make the journey thus far a most memorable experience. The journey is, of course, far from over: the Brewers still infest the Great Kitchen at Durham Cathedral; they continue to suck the lifeblood from St Olave’s Church in Chichester; they persistently manifest in a dozen or so other places where once we had Christian Bookshops; and in their wake they leave a trail of damage and despair amidst piles of debris and detritus.

Having accepted the award, it is now my duty and joy, in accordance with the rules of the award (see below) to pass it on. Those to whom I pass it, I urge you: hold your heads high and display your award with pride! Keep the flame of Superior Scribbling burning until the entire blogosphere is set alight! Without further ado, let the awards commence! In no particular order, because I (please forgive this display of weakness) am a fan of Strictly Come Dancing:

  • Matt Wardman: for burning satire, clear writing, defence of free speech and determination to reveal truth and expose lies, especially about the Brewers. Matt, I salute you.
  • Asingleblog: for even more burning satire and for bringing us Mousey. Asingleblog and Mousey, I salute you both.
  • Ben Gallagher: for enigmatic humour and clear thinking, but most of all, for bringing us Gerald the Sheep. Ben and Gerald, I salute you both.
  • MadPriest: for being mad, for being human, for bringing us both vulnerability and sharp wit, for standing up for what you know to be right when everyone else calls it wrong. MadPriest, I salute you!
  • The Revd Dr Christian Troll: for the most burning satire of all, for exposing the vapid stupidity of Christians who think they’re the only ones who are right to the point where — well, they are, simply because you couldn’t go any further right without falling off the edge of the planet (or going full circle, of course, but these guys would never go full circle because then they’d have to admit that the planet wasn’t flat).

The Award Rules

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Rescuing Chichester’s Christian Bookshop: New Petition Launched

Phil Groom writes:

Yesterday morning we launched a new petition addressed to the Bishop and Diocese of Chichester: Rescuing Chichester’s Christian Bookshop. By midmorning 25 people had signed; by yesterday evening that number had more than doubled, and as with the Durham petition, my intention is to submit the petition to the Bishop whenever a multiple of 50 signatures is reached… so the first copy will be winging its way to him very soon.

Here’s the full text of the petition:

We, the undersigned, call upon the Bishop of Chichester and the Diocese of Chichester to rescue this once outstanding bookshop, previously part of the SPCK chain, from the control of Philip and Mark Brewer and their changing series of organisations (St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust / St Stephen the Great Limited and now Chichester Shop Management Co). 

The Brewers took control of this bookshop, of the entire SPCK Bookshop chain, with fine sounding words, but actions always speak louder than words: the former Chichester SPCK Bookshop is now but a shadow of its former self. Due to the failure of the Brewers to honour invoices for goods received, suppliers have been left high and dry at a time of recession; and the shelves stood empty until recently when stock was brought in from the former SPCK shop in Norwich, which has now been rescued by the local community in Norwich. 

St Olave’s in Chichester has a claim to be the oldest building in the city, yet is in a desperate state of repair. It was set up through covenant to provide information for the community, yet advertising anything that Philip Brewer considers contrary to the so-called ‘Orthodox’ aims of the charity is banned. Mark Brewer has claimed ownership of St Olave’s Church and has announced plans to turn it into an Orthodox place of worship. These men have abused staff, treated covenants and UK employment law with contempt, disregarded debts to their suppliers, fabricated a bankruptcy filing in the USA Courts and blatantly bullied anyone who has stood in their way: it ill-behoves the Diocese of Chichester to play host to them and their presence here casts a shadow over the mission of the wider church. 

Enough is enough: we urge you to take decisive action now to rescue this shop and St Olave’s Church from further depredation. We call upon you to step in, and to remove these men who are bringing Chichester’s Christian heritage into disarray and disrepute. We urge you, please: take back control of this building. It would be better for the shop to be closed than allowed to carry on in its current state. Then, as we see happening elsewhere around the country, people will be free to work together to create something new and bring light to this community. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the shop, you’ll find some information and photos here:

For information about the Brewers’ changing companies and their fabricated bankruptcy filing, see this post, Who are the ENC Management Company? — as cited in the USA Bankruptcy Court motions for dismissal of Mark Brewer’s case.

For information about their contemptuous disregard for UK employment law, refer to Usdaw, who have been fighting for justice on behalf of some thirty former employees (we hope to have more information about yesterday’s Case Management Discussion soon).

Finally for now, proof that those who are determined can break free of the Brewers: Norwich’s new Christian Resource Centre opens its pearly gates.

So please, if you share the concerns expressed, head on over there today and sign this petition. Let’s send a very clear message to

  1. The Bishop and Diocese of Chichester, that we will stand with them in taking whatever action is necessary to Rescue Chichester’s Christian Bookshop from further depredation;
  2. The Chichester Bookshop staff, that we stand with them and support them;
  3. The suppliers who have been robbed, that we share their distress;
  4. The Brewers, that their business practices are not welcome.

I could say more — much more! — but I’ll leave that to you: comments may be left on the petition and here.