Tag Archives: Interim Manager

A Tangled Web for Creditors as Durham Cathedral announces plans to Re-Open Shop under its own Management

Phil Groom writes:

Update, Feb 17, 2010

The original news item this report relates to has vanished from the Cathedral website. Now copied into a comment below for reference.

Following last week’s announcement that the Brewer brothers had pulled out of Durham Cathedral ahead of schedule, the Cathedral have now announced a date, 1st March 2010, for the shop to re-open under its own management: The Cathedral Shop – A New Beginning

Due to problems with the roof of the Great Kitchen, where the former SPCK bookshop was situated, the shop will initially open in the entrance area of the original shop with a “focus on the needs of visitors to the Cathedral”. Those who have raised concerns about the need for a good theological bookshop are offered some reassurance, however, as the announcement continues, “As soon as arrangements can be made, a larger shop will open with a wide range of theology books and church supplies.” The new shop is eventually expected to be located in the Undercroft, opposite the restaurant.

Parts of yesterday’s announcement, however, could almost have been written by Philip W Brewer himself and will no doubt leave creditors scratching their heads in bemusement:

From yesterday’s announcement:

The Cathedral cannot deal with any inquiries relating to the former shop which should be directed to St Stephen the Great Trust. …

Organisations will need to establish new accounts since this is a completely new business…

From Philip W Brewer’s instructions to staff when ‘Durham Cathedral Shop Management Company’ was established in March 2008:

Please work with your suppliers as a new entity. Ignore whatever was and whoever was in the past. We are now a new company, with no relationship to the old going forward. So, contact your suppliers, tell them the drill, that you are a new company and that you would like to begin trading. When and if asked about billing, tell them they should process that at vendor-accounts, as you are not aware of how they are paying old invoices, etc. they will need to chase Saint Stephen the Great Trust as they have been doing.

Last year I and several others contacted Peter Gotham, Interim Manager of the St Stephen the Great Trust, urging him to seize control of the Durham shop as he had with others. He responded by insisting that the Durham shop did not come under his remit and refused to take responsibility or comment further on the matter.

If not the Interim Manager, to whom should those with enquiries about the former shop address those enquiries? Perhaps the Cathedral Chapter, whom one hopes has a little more integrity than Philip W Brewer, will post contact details for the division of the St Stephen the Great Trust towards which they are directing enquirers?

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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.

Changing the Locks: Official Notices as seen in Chester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Worcester

Phil Groom writes:

  • Updated July 11, 2009

Thanks to our intrepid photographers in Chester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Worcester for these snapshots of the official ‘Changing the Locks’ notices (see previous post). Transcripts below the photos.

1. Chester

The locks on this property have been changed...

The locks on this property have been changed...

Notice:
The locks on this property have been changed under the authority of the Interim Manager of Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (1119839-1) who was appointed by Order of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, made under S. 18(1)(VII) of the Charities Act 1993 as amended by the Charities Act 2006, on 28 April 2009.

If access is required to the premises please contact Fergus Jack at DTZ on 0207 643 6579

Fergus Jack

DTZ
48 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NL
Tel: +44 (0)20 3296 4494

2. Newcastle-upon-Tyne

… and thanks to yet another intrepid photographer in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Again, transcript below the picture.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne - Keep Out, by Order of the Interim Manager

Newcastle-upon-Tyne - Keep Out, by Order of the Interim Manager

NOTICE

St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust
(Registered no 1119839-1)

8 Ridley Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8JW

Take notice that I, Peter Gotham, was appointed Interim Manager of the Business and Assets of St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust by the Charity Commission under case no. 685451 on 28 April 2009.

No entry to this building is permitted without my express authority.

Any enquiries regarding access should be addressed during office hours to:

Fergus Jack

Telephone: 0207 643 6579

P Gotham
Interim Manager
St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust

… and if anyone’s wondering, there is still some stock in the Newcastle shop:

Newcastle Shop, July 2009

Newcastle Shop, July 2009

3. Worcester

Courtesy of Doug Chaplin, aka Clayboy:

Worcester - No entry to this building is permitted...

Worcester - No entry to this building is permitted...

NOTICE

St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust
(Registered no 1119839-1)

105 High Street, Worcester, WR1 2HS

Take notice that I, Peter Gotham, was appointed Interim Manager of the Business and Assets of St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust by the Charity Commission under case no. 685451 on 28 April 2009.

No entry to this building is permitted without my express authority.

Any enquiries regarding access should be addressed during office hours to:

Fergus Jack

Telephone: 0207 643 6579

P Gotham
Interim Manager
St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust