Saturday, 23 November 2013

HG Wells - The War Of The Words

As many readers have already seen, there has been a protest going out outside the HG Wells pub today. Four gentlemen from the company London Plant Displays who did all the hanging greenery at the pub are complaining that Richard Morgan who apparently owns a dozen or more pubs including this one has weaselled out of paying the twenty thousand pounds he owes them.

The protesters, who were moved on by the police just before 6pm, told the blog that Mr Morgan has a habit of paying people a few hundred pounds as an 'interim payment' for a job worth thousands just to keep them working and when the debts add up he 'goes bust' and reopens the pubs the next day under a new company.

Jack, the manager at the HG Wells told the blog that back in February the pub was owned by a chain called the Butcher And Barrel which Richard Morgan did own. However several of the pubs were losing so much money that even the others subsidising them wasn't enough to keep the overall business afloat and he needed to call in the receivers. Apparently this and other pubs were sold to another pub chain also owed by Mr Morgan.

Richard Morgan does indeed seem to have numerous pub chains to his name in various different states as can be seen here on the Company Check website.

The most unfortunate thing here is that whatever you may think of the owner of the pub chain, Jack and his staff are all extremely friendly, welcoming and professional (IMHO) and I would hate to see them suffer because of any alleged wrong doing by the overall boss. If people stop drinking here, it will be the staff that suffer more than the guy who owns it plus a dozen other pubs.

Jack did also tell me that Richard Morgan wasn't an unpleasant person at all, in fact he found him to be quite a nice guy. He understood the predicament of the people protesting but said that there were better ways to resolve these problems.

Click to enlarge
The gentlemen protesting showed me invoices for unpaid work and said they plan to pitch up with their signs at other pubs owned by Mr Morgan. While this debt has not put them out of business they did mention that someone else they knew, a butcher's, had gone out of business due to similar non payments by Mr Morgan.

There seem to be many unanswered questions here. Like how the director of a company that had 'gone bust' could remain a company director. And how assets may have been transferred straight to another company run by the same person when surely an administrator should have sold them to the highest bidder to minimise any creditor's losses. And how it is these people didn't manage to get at least a percentage of what was owed from the sale of the assets. I sense that like most things, there is much more going on here than seems immediately apparent. There may be more to come...

5 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Whose round is it? said...

It all happens in KT4, doesn't it? I just noticed the van is actually wheel-less and propped up on bricks - it looks like the process of moving them on must have been less than straightforward!.

guest D said...

I bet that the company that goes bust doesn't have any assets!

A common trick is to horizontally integrate the company, so the company at the top owns the assets, the buildings etc, that leases them to a tenancy company, which then leases the buildings to the tenants, who are forced to use the provisioning company that provides things like food stuffs, floral decorations. That company then buys them from yet another company at cost and it is this final company that goes bust and Mr Morgan is probably not a director of that company.

The whole technique is explained beautifully in Catch 22, where Plum Tomatoes are bought at 5 cents each and sold at 4 cents each and the Milo still makes a profit, (because at the bottom of the layers he buys them at 0.5 cents from the farmers).

By the way it is not automatic that directors are disqualified, the Insolvency Service has to apply for a Disqualification Order from the courts, they will be unlikely to do this if the person is a director of many companies, the vast majority of which are solvent. If they did it would be very hard to find directors for FTSE companies

Quote : “Alan Sugar is associated with more failed businesses and ideas than
successful ones. Having him on board doesn’t guarantee success.”

So as you say we probably have only heard the surface layers of the story.

Good on 'em! said...

Didn't see the police all day and live close by and police wouldn't do anything if they wanted - civil matter (trespass at the most). Wheels started going back on both vans at 17.30 of protesters own volition by all accounts. They'd been there since 06.30 as it happens so a long day just standing around. Feel sorry for the staff though - its their livelihood. Bloke at the top seems to be a first class snake - alledgedly.

Guest C as in Concise said...

Or to put it another way: Mr Richard Morgan has failed to pay London Plant Displays an agreed and owed £20,000. As a result, the unpaid contractor's representatives are deeply unhappy - FULL STOP

J. Doris said...

sounds like a snake to me... accounts are risky business these days. Garden company should have known better than to commit to such a job without a fair deposit

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