Daily Archives: August 29, 2008

Reflections on a Campaign so far, and SSG Not Bankrupt

Reposted and Updated from the Wardman Wire.

Breaking News


SSG Bankruptcy Case Dismissed in Houston

The application to make the UK charity Society of Saint Stephen the Great bankrupt at the United States Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Texas in Houston has been Dismissed with Prejudice, which means the Judge didn’t think a lot of the application, and they cannot refile. Score one for Randy Williams, the Trustee for Bankruptcy, and Due Process.

More detail:

Implications of Dismissal for Mr Brewer

Unity has a look at some implications of the decision in a post this morning Dismissed with Prejudice (summarised):

So what does this means for Brewer and his creditors.

First and foremost, if I’m correct in my understanding of the legal end of things in this country then SSG’s outstanding liabilities rest with the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust, which was and still is an unincorporated body.

Second, and this will depend very much on what the full written judgement states, Brewer’s application for bankrupcy includes what, on the face of it, appears to be manifestly false information. The company name he gave on the paperwork, SSG LLC, does not exist … and the judge was minded to take a particularly dim view of the application being made using false information then Brewer could be staring down the barrel of a charge of perjury.

Finally, for now, let’s not forget that Brewer is a lawyer and that he did his own paperwork, even to the extent of trying to score a retainer out of the whole gig. In my experience, the kind of professional associations that regulate the legal profession tend to take something of a dim view of lawyers who file false information in casess in which they have a direct personal interest. It’s unethical and just the kind of thing that can easily result, if you are a lawyer, in your licence to practice being suspended, if not removed entirely.

Brewer, to put it mildly, may well be right up shit creek and rapidly running out of paddles – and that’s before the Charity Commision and/or the UK’s Companies Investigation Bureau get started on him.

Read it all (new window)

The Last Month

It is a little over a month since Cease and Desist notices were sent to a series of bloggers.

I want to look back on what has been achieved – in both concrete terms and “soft” terms.

You can get up to speed by reading my “Introductory Guide“, or the list of people posting in support, or even the Press Room:

Dave Walker is a cartoonist who runs a popular website, which includes the blogs We Blog Cartoons, Cartoon Church and The Cartoon Blog.

On the morning of July 22nd 2008 he received a cease and desist letter threatening legal action unless he removed 75 posts from his Cartoon Church blog by lunchtime – i.e., half a day’s notice.

These 75 posts had reported the developing situation over a 2 year period in a UK book chain called SPCK, which had been taken over by a company run by Mark Brewer. Dave Walker’s was the main published source reporting the situation, asking questions about the management of the chain, and highlighting the treatment of the employees.

So, what has happened?

Public Interest

There have been several hundred articles written about the mismanagement of the SPCK shops, which Here are Blogpulse Graphs for “J Mark Brewer” and “SPCK“. Note that the first Cease and Desist notices were sent around the 20th of July.



Some Specifics

Things that have happened in the last month.

Continue reading

SSG Bankruptcy Case Dismissed

Thanks to rigorist for this update, posted August 29, 2008 at 12:11 am:

I just checked the US court system’s PACER service this afternoon (it is still afternoon on this side of the Atlantic). The bankrupcty case was dismissed at today’s hearing on the trustee’s motion.

The actual docket entry is as follows:

“Courtroom Minutes. Time Hearing Held: 11:00 am. Appearances: Mark Brewer for debtor; Randy Williams for Trustee. (Related document(s): 24 Chapter 7 Trustee’s Motion to Dismiss Case). Ellen Hickman present. Mr. Williams addressed the Court regarding the motion to dismiss. Arguments were heard by opposing parties. The Court announced its findings and dismissed the case with prejudice. (rsmi) (Entered: 08/28/2008)”

A written order with more explanation may follow, but as of right now, the bankruptcy case is dismissed.

– Phil Groom