Brewers Skewered as Charity Commission Takes Action – Part 1

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Phil Groom writes:

Hot news on the Church Times blog:

Charity Commission appoints interim manager to manage St Stephen the Great

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to manage St Stephen the Great (SSG), the charity running the former SPCK bookshops. The Saint Stephen the Great page on the Charity Commission website shows this latest status, and there has been a statement from USDAW about this and the tribunal hearings for former employees…

22 responses to “Brewers Skewered as Charity Commission Takes Action – Part 1

  1. It looks like we are now finally nearing the end-game of this tragic farce. I would hope that Dave Walker will publish something on the matter before too long, now these turkeys haven’t got a leg to stand on!

  2. Dave Walker gets the last laugh. Well he did get the first when Randy Williams took the Brewers to task and then told the court to read the Cartoonchurch blog still available at wordpress. I raise my hat to him.

    Goodbye Brewers. Hope that the Charities Commission will find the money that the Brewers got from the sale of Exeter, confiscate the plane (Bodmin Beast) and pay those workers fired by e-mail.

  3. Adrian Beney

    I wouldn’t worry about the plane. It’s not worth a great deal. Certainly nothing in comparison with the debts outlined in the bankruptcy proceedings.

  4. But then again money might be tied up anyway in Stanford’s bank.

  5. In fact the plane is up for sale for £14,500 which is about right. Not that anyone’s bought it… shows it as registered to Mark Brewer with a slightly different registration number to the one actually on the FAA database

  6. Those Brewers never miss a trick. It was Mark’s charity until his law firm got stung and everything was moved to Tucson. It was Phil’s plane with a Tuscon address that led us to House Bountiful and Mark Brewer was a co-owner. Now Mark Brewer is the sole owner. It’s why I hope that there is a forensic accountant on the case. Heaven knows what other little assets are been hidden.

  7. Hey Adrian, the cost of a plane might just cover some wages. Hopefully it will cover the cost of just one of those fired by e-mail. £14K is not to be sniffed at – not for those up against the coal face. There are many people presently employed by the Brewers who face the sack. Those who work in properties owned and covenanted by the SPCK will lose out. Those who work in the Chichester shop will lose out. Those who work at the Durham Cathedral shop will lose out especially since they got caught up between the Brewers and the plans for the renewal of the Heritage site. The scenario is horrendous.

  8. I agree, to anyone who has lost their job or wages, it’s a great deal of money. But if one is looking at a possible recovery of assets for a charity now being run by the Commission’s administrator, the cost of impounding an unremarkable 68 year old plane and then selling it for cash in the current depressed economic climate means that probably no more than a single number of thousands would raised from doing it. Thus the Commission would be better advised to go after some of the more significant assets first if that is what they need to do. That was the only point I was making.

  9. Yes this is a MAJOR step forward (Yay!), but there’s still a heck of a long way to go. If you ask me, it will be years.

    What this CC thing does is to demonstrate that they accept that there is a problem that needs to be sorted out, and means that proper legal processes can begin to untangle the SSG charity. The CC appointed solicitor have a statutory duty to defend the assets of the charity, which means fighting the tribunals – although the SSG case is thought to be weak (read between the lines; I’m not putting it explicitly a week before a hearing that I’m not a party to).

    We still have:

    Staff that are not in the tribunal.
    Staff wages, pensions, national insurance contributions are lost in the Texan fog somewhere.
    And of course all the other trusts and entities, American setups, shop companies etc.

    The instruction to leave Durham is for 2010, and the loss of any contribution to the cathedral from the shop for 2007-8 (which vanished into the bankruptcy proceedings) or 2009-10 (which may or may not appear) may cost the cathedral £50k-£100k. That’s my estimate based on rough figures I have picked up along the way for past contributions.

    And there is still the small question of where the $700k taken out of the Durham shop ended up.

    Oh yes. Forensic accountants needed in spades 🙂


  10. Pingback: Life: It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world « Phil’s Boring Blog

  11. Valiant for Truth

    Following the illegal sale of the Exeter shop – an asset- what happens to the other shops owned under covenant by the Brewers?

  12. At some point in time the SPCK will have to step into the fray. I hope that the person who brought the Brewers on board has either resigned or is doing everything possible to avoid public donations going into the Brewer black hole.

  13. Valiant for Truth

    Wonder whether the two churches in Poole and Bradford belonging to the SSGCT are classed as assets? The former SPCK shops, as stated before, were bought from 300 years of charitable giving by people in the UK, so their actions should not be sullied by the Brewers.

  14. I agree with Matt
    There are many, many staff who are not included at the Tribunal…..who suffered at the hands of the Brewers, or, who are still working for them…our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  15. This might be a moot point. The Brewers earmarked about 42 churches in Britian. They obviously won’t get them now. Does anybody know how to find those earmarked churches so that the Church Comissioners can be warned.

  16. Valiant for Truth

    They lost the one they wanted in Durham Diocese and I feel sure that the Bishop of Durham would have warned the Church Commissioners as he was fully aware of what the Brewers were doing with the former SPCK shops.

  17. New post on this on Bishop Alan’s Blog: SPCK / SSG: Brewers Skewered | Stats for this link

    For twitter conversations see #SPCKSSG | Stats for this link

  18. I like that Bish. I really do.

  19. Pingback: GroomNews Christmas 2009 « Phil's Boring Blog

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