Friday 13 November 2020

Reason To Be Bovvered?

Here we go again? The Trust says it ‘isn’t bovvered’ by Paul Elliott’s ‘order’ to Thomas Sandgaard to ‘leave the club’, with Richard Cawley indicating that the club feels the same way. I’m not a lawyer and I hope I’m wrong, but I am bovvered, at least to the extent that Elliott seems to have the legal grounds to do what he is doing.

The Trust’s Lauren Kreamer, who is a barrister, points out that a ‘notice’ in the current context is nothing more than a letter. Fair enough. But that’s a bit like saying because you get a letter demanding payment of a debt it doesn’t amount to a court order and therefore you don’t have to pay. A letter, or notice, is surely the necessary first step before going to a court to get an actual legal order. So while Elliott’s ‘order’ may well not be legally binding, this does not mean that one might not be in the pipeline (if there is no settlement in the interim).

There also seems to be some misunderstanding over what Elliott is claiming, namely that he may well now own ESI but so what? ESI no longer owns anything. I don’t think that’s the case. If the court has ruled that Elliott now owns ESI, that is not on the basis of something that happened yesterday. Elliott’s claim is that he was the legal owner of ESI (and consequently the club) before Sandgaard came along, even if the sale to him had not then been completed and shares transferred. The fact that there had been no actual transfer of shares is not conclusive. If Elliott had a binding agreement to purchase ESI, one which would be completed when EFL approval had been secured, that stands even though the application for EFL approval was rejected. There was an appeal process in place.

If I understand things correctly now, since Sandgaard’s purchase of our club Nimer et al have done a runner, he is no longer a director of ESI. So when the court here requested information from him related to the case he presumably decided he had no interest in replying. The absence of a reply seems to have left the court with no option other than to find in favour of Elliott (Lex Dominus), ie that Nimer no longer owned ESI at the time that Sandgaard bought the club from ESI.

Sandgaard’s case all along has been that it didn’t matter whether or not there was a court injunction in place to prevent the sale of ESI per se as this did not prevent him buying the club from ESI. The injunction only applied to the sale of the company. But somebody has to agree to a sale for it to be legal and that can only be the owner(s). If Elliott has now secured the court’s backing for the position that he was the owner of ESI before Sandgaard came along – and whether we like it or not it is indisputable that Nimer said at the time that was the case, with Elliott for a period of time acting as the undisputed owner of our club – and that the sale was going to be completed, I find it hard to see that a court can rule that Nimer had the authority to sell the club.

I should stress that I seriously hope I’m wrong and that Elliott’s efforts come to naught. Equally I don’t think any of this is ‘letting the cat out of the bag’. If it seems apparent to someone with as limited a knowledge of the law as me it will be evident to anyone Elliott engages to represent him. It may well prove to be the case that Elliott is just trying to get money. I hope so. Problem is that Sandgaard I think said he would not deal with him, thought he had found a way not to have to deal with him. If that is and remains the case, we have not heard the last of it.

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