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:
- The Interim Manager is in control of the two charities “Saint Stephen the Great”(1119839), and “Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust” (1119839-1).
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com 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.