Tag Archives: SSG-LLC

Poetic Justice for J Mark Brewer: Asset Stripper’s Assets Frozen

Phil Groom writes:

J Mark Brewer, the Texas attorney who deprived SPCK’s booksellers of their livelihoods, who drove one man to his death, who doesn’t pay his suppliers, who together with his brother Philip has been systematically shuffling stock from shop to shop until no one knows who owns what or which way’s up, who faked a bankruptcy filing in the USA courts in an attempt to evade his creditors and who sold a shop for half a million when he thought no one was looking, has had his assets frozen in the USA’s Stanford Financial fiasco.

No surprisingly, he’s desperate and hopping mad; and he’s made a formal complaint against the Securities and Exchange Commission (also available as pdf) and — oops. Tricky one there, isn’t it, Mark? Against “Unknown Agents of the S.E.C. and an Unknown Number of U.S. Marshals.”

If it weren’t for all the others caught up in the Stanford mess, it would be truly comical: J Mark Brewer, Texas Bully Boy who beats up British Booksellers v/s Big Guys and Unknown Opponents.

In many ways it’s a mirror image of the situation that he and his brother Philip W Brewer have created here in the UK: one moment we’re up against SSGCT, then it’s SSG LLC — which turned out to be a complete Brewer fabrication — then suddenly we’re facing multiple trading identities in the guise of ENC, Durham Shop Management, Chichester Shop Management and Third Space Books, which mysteriously seems to embrace them all but can’t be pinned down to a specific location; and no one knows who was employed by whom, let alone where their pension contributions went…

I’ll be taking a closer look at Mark’s list of complaints later and their parallels with the SPCK/SSG situation: it all looks eerily familiar; but for now, a couple of questions for him:




Breaking the Silence

Two Brewers - but watch out, there may be more...

Two Brewers - but watch out, there may be more...

Phil Groom writes:

Have been rummaging through my backcopies of Christian Marketplace and found the article J Mark Brewer had them take down from their website, from the July 2008 issue, Industry News, p.6. Reproduced below for those who missed it; and if that’s you, good news: if you’re involved in Christian retail, a church leader or responsible for a church bookstall, you need never miss another issue — head on over to the UKCBD Blog to find out how to pick up a FREE subscription: Keeping Up to Date, Getting Up to Speed.

Reading through the article, I can’t see anything that’s even remotely sanctionable let alone libellous. This is straightforward, factual reporting. But I can see plenty of reasons why dear old Marky warky, bless his devious little cotton socks, would have wanted to suppress it. 

Finally, a reminder for anyone pursuing the Brewers/SSG for debts: neither the St Stephen the Great trading company nor the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust is in fact bankrupt. They have not gone into administration; they have not been legally declared insolvent. The USA bankruptcy filing was thrown out as an attempted fraud on the courts. Don’t let them fob you off with false claims of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy, closures, sackings…
From bad to worse at SSG

The SSG Bookshops story took a dramatic twist last month when it emerged that the company which owns the shops, St Stephen the Great – Limited Liability Company (SSG – LLC) had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that allows a business to continue trading and pay creditors over time.

Mark Brewer informed all staff by email on 6th June that on 6th June that “SSG has been terminated as the trading company to operate the bookshops formerly known as SPCK bookshops” and that “SSG-LLC has been placed into reorganisation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court”.

The email also advised staff that, “The bookshops will now be operated by ENC Management Company. Former employees of SSG-LLC are invited to apply for a position with ENC Management Company. If you wish to apply, please reply to this email so indicating.”

The directors of ENC, which was registered at Companies House on 11th March 2008, are listed as Sandra K Brewer, Mark J Brewer and Philip W Brewer and its registered office is listed as the address of the Chester shop.

Staff in the Chester shop received an email on 2nd June from Philip Brewer advising them of the “change in ownership/management to ENC Management Company with effect from 1st June.” The email also advised staff that they could continue “employment at the Chester bookshop … by applying for a position with the new company” (ENC) and that this was “not a transfer of your employment under TUPE.”

USDAW, the shop staffs Trade Union, who have been advising staff over recent months, expressed concerns at the latest developments. Christine Peacock, Senior Legal Assistant at USDAW, told Christian Marketplace, “We are currently investigating what effect, if any, SSG’s filing for bankruptcy will have in the UK.”

Peacock confirmed that there are fifteen claims lodged in preparation for Industrial Tribunals. The first of these (Alison Speddings vs Mark Brewer) which was due to be heard from Monday 9th June at the Sheffield Employment Tribunal, was adjourned because of the ‘bankruptcy’ situation and neither Mark nor Phil Brewer were in attendance.

She also said that USDAW were aware that ENC Management Company is also owned by the Brewer brothers and were “currently taking advice on the validity of these actions. We are concerned that they will have the effect of moving the assets to a place which means that there are no assets available to settle the claims.”

The Charity Commission are also to undertake an investigation into SSG; a spokesman confirmed that they are “currently considering whether this raises any issues for the Charity Commission to take forward.”

At the time of writing it appears that thirteen of the 24 shops originally passed onto SSG are now closed. A number have closed since the bankruptcy announcement, including Chester, Newcastle, Norwich and Worcester. A further three are independently open with doubts about the status on another four.

Currently there are three companies running the remaining bookshops. In addition to ENC there is Durham Shop Management Co. and Chichester Shop Management Co. and the listed directors are the same for all three.

Mark Brewer has again been asked to comment on the current developments but has not responded to any request.