Tag Archives: Philip Brewer

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.

Finding Phil Brewer

Phil Groom writes:

A number of suppliers and other creditors have been in touch to say that Phil Brewer is not responding to emails or other business correspondence. That’s his prerogative, of course, and hardly surprising given his shameful record of business practice here in the UK. I remain completely astonished that despite knowing the facts about his abusive treatment of his employees and the utter contempt he has shown towards his business partners, the powers-that-be at Durham Cathedral continue to provide him with a foothold and safe haven from which to operate: he should be summarily evicted.

Be that as it may, however, here’s a summary of the contact information that I have for him. All of this is drawn from publicly available sources, largely from a simple Google search for Philip W Brewer. A search for his brother, J Mark Brewer, is similarly rewarding, but for today, let’s focus on finding Phil:

You’ll find more info, as well as a round up of creditors already paid, here:

So no more excuses: send the man a Christmas card today; and why not drop the powers-that-be at Durham Cathedral a line as well to tell them what you think of the ongoing situation there? A Christmas card for the beleaguered staff at the Cathedral bookshop might go down well too, come to think of 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

Pursuing the Brewers: Contact Info, Facts and Resources

Phil Groom writes:

An unpaid supplier has asked for contact information for the Brewers with a possible view to pursuing them through the courts: I’ve posted the info I have at the bottom of this post, which is all a matter of public record, but I’d like to run through a few points before we get to that.

Suppliers Discussion Group

At the end of last year we set up a private online Suppliers Discussion Group in the hope of facilitating the possibility of a joint action and/or coordinated response. That group still exists: if you’re a supplier and would like to join the group, please request an invitation. Whether or not it achieves anything is entirely your call, of course, but if you simply sit there on the sidelines moaning that nothing’s happening and no one’s doing anything, what do you expect? Ask not Who’s going to do something? but What can I do?

Today is Good Friday and yes, if you take a stand there’s always the risk that, like Jesus, you’ll end up crucified. That’s part of the deal when you follow Jesus and if you didn’t take that on board when you signed up, that’s either because some evangelist wasn’t telling you the truth or because you didn’t read the small print, even though it’s writ large on every page of the Gospels. Christianity isn’t a shortcut to health-and-wealth: charlatans like the Brewers who use Christianity as a way to pimp their own egos and empires are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Sermon over: if you haven’t got it by now, you probably never will.

Taking a Stand

So what, in practice, has happened when people take a stand against the Brewers? They’ve been paid. Every case we have on record of either an individual or an organisation/company tackling the Brewers head-to-head has resulted in settlement; and when J Mark Brewer attempted to take himself to court in his bogus bankruptcy filing, the only thing he demonstrated was his own incompetence, to the point where the court threw him out as a laughing stock. The only way he was able to get out the hole he’d dug for himself was to hire another attorney to haul him out: the man is, quite frankly, an oaf. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, the facts are friendly. 

Cases Resolved So Far

1. Via this blog:

2. Listed by Brewer himself in the official SSG Statement of Financial Affairs (pdf) filed June 19, 2008, with the US Bankruptcy Court, Texas:

  • TBS, The Book Service: Stratford upon Avon County Court, refs PJS/091710 and  8SV00246, p.7.
  • Nick Johnson, refs 1806366/2007 and 1806489/2007, p.6.
  • Kirsty Smith, ref 7QT61858. Listed as ‘Pending’, p.6, but since resolved.*
  • Melanie Carroll, ref 2600803/2007, p.6.
  • Miss A C Speddings, ref 2801875/2007. Listed as ‘Pending’, p.6, but since resolved.*
  • Mike Pickering, ref 1502210/2007, p.6.

* Information supplied in private correspondence.

Most of these have been out of court settlements. Why? Because, quite simply, the Brewers know they don’t have a leg to stand on. The bankruptcy filing scam and the transfer of company assets to other companies were nothing more than a ruse set up in an attempt to evade SSG’s creditors: any review of the evidence will almost certainly result in them being laughed out of the court.

Certificate of Employers Liability Insurance

Certificate of Employers Liability Insurance

Furthermore, here in the UK, SSG has not gone into administration since the case was thrown out of the USA courts; and despite Philip W Brewer’s protestations that there was “no relationship going forward” between SSG and the Durham Cathedral Shop Management Co., we now have very clear evidence of precisely that continuing relationship in the form of the shop’s Certificate of Employers’ Liability Insurance issued in the name of St Stephen the Great Trust (Policy No. SB06000002/05ACI0125269) for the current period November 2008 – October 2009.

Whether a certificate issued in the name of one company to cover employees of what is ostensibly another company is valid is another matter, of course: I’ve asked Ecclesiastical for clarification. The point here, however, is that the Durham shop and, I’m told, the other shops are displaying this certificate: SSG accepts liability for the Durham shop employees. Any claims that the company has ceased trading and has no liability for other aspects of the shop’s business such as its debts are dubious at best if not complete codswallop. 

Thanks to Melanie Carroll for pointing out that the cost of starting a Small Claim through the Courts is relatively small — as little, in fact, as £25 for a claim up to £300 (Fees Leaflet [pdf]) if submitted via the Money Claim Online service, although this service requires an address in England or Wales where documents may be served. If you back up your claim with appropriate evidence — by visiting a shop and taking a photograph of an item you supplied but haven’t been paid for, for instance — you should be in with a good chance. See HMCS (Her Majesty’s Court Service) Making a Claim for practical guidance on submitting a claim or contact the HMCS Helpdesk.

Resources

Brewer Addresses

The Brewers’ addresses are a matter of public record:

1. From the SSG/SPCK Bankruptcy Filing documents:

J Mark & Philip W Brewer - addresses filed with the Texas Bankruptcy Courts

J Mark & Philip W Brewer - from the Texas Bankruptcy Court Documents

2. From Brewer & Pritchard PC, Contact Us page, which also includes a form for submitting messages directly online:

J Mark Brewer
Brewer & Pritchard, PC 
Three Riverway, 18th Floor
Houston, Texas 77056 
.
Phone: 713-209-2950
Fax: 713-659-5302
Email: brewer@bplaw.com
.

3. From Pima County Court Records, pdf | html (Links broken? Try a Google Search for P21-06-033)

Phil & Beth Brewer
2610 W Bountiful Lane
Tucson, AZ 85742
.

4. Phil Brewer’s Business Card, which he left lying around at asingleblog:

Brewer Enterprises

Brewer Enterprises

.

 

Disclaimer
For the avoidance of doubt: nothing included in this post (or any other post on this site) constitutes legal advice. Any action you may or may not take in response thereto and any consequences thereof are your own responsibility.

Brewer Enterprises: Affirm Yourself

Phil Groom writes:

Just repeat it to yourself often enough and you’ll be fine. Who knows, you might even convince the neighbours

Brewer Enterprises - How the West Was Won

Screenshot, 26th March 2009 - Brewer Enterprises - How the West Was Won

Competition time: what is a CAM? Best suggestion is a winner! Which you are, of course…

 

100,000 Pageviews… and Still Counting!

Phil Groom writes:

100,022 pageviews... and counting!

100,022 pageviews... and counting!

On Thursday 29th January 2009, one of you splendid people out there had the awesome privilege of experiencing our 100,000th pageview. Was it you? Did you capture that magic moment? I captured our 100,022nd as per the screenshot, right (though I was not actually the 100,022nd pageviewer: WordPress doesn’t count my visits).

This blog was launched on 26th June 2008, just over seven months ago: that’s 100,000 pageviews in 218 days, an average of almost 459 pageviews per day… just shy of one pageview every 3 minutes.

So, for the statisticians and the incurably  curious, I take this opportunity to present some more facts and figures:

All Time Top 10 Posts & Pages
(View Count as at 9pm, 30/01/2009)

 Durham  2,726 
 Steve Jeynes, RIP  2,258 
 About  1,170 
 “SSG tribunal claims mount”  1,065 
 Joy Jeynes: Please continue to pray for God’s work in Worcester  1,003 
 Rescuing Britain’s Christian Heritage: Durham Cathedral Bookshop   991 
 A Letter to Mark Brewer  989 
 Mark Brewer says, “Remove this page. Immediately.”  984 
 Philip Brewer says, “Immediately post this…”  899 
 SPCK/SSG: My Story, by Phil Groom  872 

 

The Upsy-Downsy Chart for the last few days

Pageviews 16.01.2009 - 30.01.2009

Pageviews 16.01.2009 - 30.01.2009

Busiest Ever…

Where Next? All Time Top 5 Destinations on Leaving This Site
(Click Count as at 9pm, 30/01/2009)

 iPetitions.com: Durham Cathedral Bookshop  1,113 
 Asingleblog  511 
 iPetitions.com: Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Signatures p.1   341 
 Matt Wills China Blogger  181 
 iPetitions.com: Chichester Christian Bookshop  180 

 

There are lots more stats available, of course: feel free to ask if you’d like more details on any particular page or post. Scroll down the sidebar for live updated lists of the current top posts and pages, pageviews and departure destinations.

Now, changing the subject entirely: let’s plan ahead for February. Who’d like to design a couple of Valentine’s Day Cards for J Mark and Philip ‘Dubya’ Brewer? Let’s show them some true blogger love and appreciation.

Silence is golden, but my eyes still see…

Phil Groom writes:

Today, 6 months on from Dave Walker’s announcement of his Cease and Desist letter from J Mark Brewer, we mourn Dave’s silence; but whilst that silence may be golden to J Mark Brewer and his cronies, our eyes still see. 

Fun to Shop at the SPCK

It was fun to shop at the SPCK ... until J Mark and Philip W Brewer wrecked it.

Here’s how Dave told what happened, courtesy of Stephen at Cease and Desist:

TUESDAY, 22 JULY 2008
‘Cease and desist’ demand from Mark Brewer
This morning I was sent a ‘cease and desist’ demand from Mark Brewer relating to the posts I have made about the former SPCK bookshops. The demand says ‘Confidential – not to be redistributed or posted’, so I am not posting the text.

The demand says that if I do not remove all SSG-related material by noon today, July 22, 2008, an injunction will be sought against me and legal action taken for damages for libel.

I have therefore removed all of the SPCK/SSG posts on this blog, as, although I believe I have not done anything wrong I do not have the money to face a legal battle. The removal of these posts is in no way an admission of guilt.

To say I am not happy about the decision I have been forced to take here is an understatement. I feel as if I have let many people down who have relied on this site over the last year or more.

I am not allowing comments on this post, though I can be contacted as usual. I cannot of course stop you writing about this elsewhere.

And we did.

(Thanks to the Tremeloes for this post’s title)

Orthodox Liars to the Glory of God

Phil Groom writes:

Recently, a friend suggested that I might be able to find better things to do with my time than keep blogging the Brewers, and I have to agree: there are many things that I’d rather be doing — so many books to read, for instance! So why do I carry on? Is it just mindless bleating, like a sheep caught in a briar patch? Or is there something more to it?

My friend also thought that the shops were closing down as a result of the recession. I explained:

…the closure of the SPCK bookshops has very little to do with the recession: they’ve been run into the ground by their unscrupulous new owners, who accepted them as a gift from SPCK on trust that they would invest in them and their staff and maintain them as Christian bookshops.

Instead, however, they attempted to foist illegal contracts upon the staff and drove them to despair with their reprehensible behaviour (most walked out in disgust; one had a nervous breakdown; another committed suicide), then proceeded to close shops down, clearing out the stock without paying the suppliers; they attempted a spurious bankruptcy filing in the USA, changed their trading identities here in the UK and continued trading in the stock they’d acquired from the shops they’d closed — all supposedly in the name of “Orthodox mission”. In September they sold the Exeter branch for £507,000 and — in direct breach of a legally undertaken covenant — have allowed it to become a jewellery store.

In the meantime, the staff they drove out have not received their wages and the suppliers whose stock they took have not been paid.

So for me, the online campaign to expose these evil men and, yes, to bring them down, remains a truly worthwhile use of my time and energy.

In some ways it’s rather like having a toothache: something you can’t ignore until the rotten tooth has been pulled; or even more bluntly, it’s as if the Brewers are a boil on the backside of British bookselling. Until that boil’s been lanced, I, as a British bookseller — and more to the point, as a Christian bookseller — simply can’t sit comfortably.

It’s about justice and truth versus injustice and lies; about treating other people with respect rather than contempt; about honesty and integrity, concepts that J Mark and Philip W Brewer seem to know nothing about.

As for the title of this piece, “orthodox liars for the glory of God” — that’s from one of my all time favourite writers, Geoffrey A Studdert Kennedy, otherwise known as Woodbine Willie: After War, Is Faith Possible? (reprinted by Lutterworth Press 2008, p.68 ). I’m using it completely out of context, of course: it’s from a piece he wrote back in 1919 entitled “Why does God permit war?” — but even so, even from ninety years ago, I find Studdert Kennedy still speaks to our situation:

Christian preaching has very often consisted in pious attempts to make evil good in order to save God’s face. We have suffered from what Hilary of Poitiers called irreligiosa sollicitudo pro Deo, and have become orthodox liars to the glory of God. Passive resignation to evil as though it were God’s will has been exalted into a virtue, and consequently the Christianity which should have turned the world upside down has been turned into a method of keeping it as it is and meekly accepting its wrong-side-upness as the discipline of Almighty God. The Revolutionary Christ has been disguised as a moral policeman.

That’s just a very short snippet of Studdert Kennedy’s writing, enough, I hope, to whet your appetite for more; but more to the point, to emphasise that walking away or doing nothing in the face of evil is not the way of Christ. Christ does not call us to be doormats to be trampled underfoot by the likes of the Brewers; Christ does not call us to accept wickedness as a mysterious part of God’s will in the hope that all will be well in the end because God is ultimately in control, the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. No! God calls us to follow Christ, to call whitewashed tombs what they are, to expose hypocrisy, to be light in the darkness — because our God, the God revealed in Jesus, is not some remote deity who will put everything right at some dim and distant point in the future: our God is here and now, hands on through you and me. We are his hands and feet.

And that’s a call to live dangerously: because Christ’s hands and feet get nails smashed through them. If we raise our heads above the parapet for the cause of Christ, for justice, truth and love, we’ll find ourselves, like Christ, wearing a crown of thorns. Blood will flow and it will be ours, and our enemies will treat us with contempt and wash their hands of us and ask, “What is truth?”

My point, gentle reader, is this: if you are one of the employees or suppliers whom the Brewers have not paid, and if you have decided not to fight for what they owe you because you believe that such fighting is somehow unChristian, that as a follower of Christ you are called to set aside your rights to reparation because it’s all in God’s Almighty hands and he will see it right in the end — then I urge you to think again. Your rights, my friend, are indeed in God’s hands: and God’s hands on earth are your hands and mine, joining hands with our oppressed and dispossessed brothers and sisters to become a joint responsibility to stand together against injustice, lies and dishonest business practices as together we work to fulfil Christ’s call for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven.

God’s kingdom is not some distant never-never land of pie in the sky when we die (although yes, we have that hope) — it’s about how we live now, about turning the world with its twisted values on its head. That’s why, although there are many things I’d rather be doing, I’m still here blogging the story of the Brewers and their rundown of the former SPCK Bookshops.

Getting Involved in 2009

And finally, for any members of the UK’s (or even the wider) Orthodox community who may be reading: most of us here, I think, are well aware that the Brewers are mavericks who do not represent you or your faith; but any formal measures or statements that you may be willing to take or make to emphasise that distance would be warmly appreciated by us and should, I hope, help the Brewers to recognise their increasing isolation. Thank you.

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.

Peek-a-Boo: Where are you? Playing Hide and Seek with the Charity Commission

Phil Groom writes:

As the Charity Commission say, it may simply be an oversight. J Mark and Philip W Brewer are not usually backward about coming forward. But in the meantime it seems that the Charity Commission investigation into SSG may have run into a wee problem:

Chester shop is also still using bags with the SPCK name and charity number on.

I have contacted the charity commission to complain about this and they told me that at present they have no contact address for Saint Stephen the Great as any letters are being returned to them as not known at the address.

When I said surely no charity can operate without a contact address they said it was probaly just an oversight that no one had thought to give them a new address.

yorkshire pride, January 6, 2009, 8.01pm

The good news is that there are other options; as I said in response to yorkshire pride:

It should be possible to contact J Mark Brewer here:

Brewer & Pritchard PC: Contact. Assuming he’s still with the company, of course. But if not, as a wannabe US Congressman, his campaign address is also a matter of public record: Campaign Money: John Mark Brewer.

(Don’t get too excited about the outstanding debt of $559,846 from his 2000 campaign; it was self-loaned: “Brewer ranked fifth among U.S. House candidates for self-loans during the first half of the year” – Texas Weekly: ‘Tis the Season to Spend Money.)

Mark, old chap, if you or any of your colleagues should happen to be reading this, please do get in touch with the Charity Commission, there’s a good fellow. Thank you.