In late 2011, Andrew Upton of Harper Macleod LL.P. put the following question to Jim Gallacher’s Trustee, Iain Forsyth of Carrington Dean.
AS THAT QUESTION CONCERNED THEIR MUTUAL CLIENT, THE SUBSEQUENT LACK OF RESPONSE HAD A SUSPICIOUS SMELL. WHY DID THE TRUSTEE FAIL TO ANSWER?
Jim Gallacher emailed his Trustee on 2nd June 2015. He reminded him of the contentious nature of the G.M.S.T. claim on his Trust Deed, seeking reassurance that the matter would be dealt with carefully. Mr. Forsyth replied promptly, affirming that he would ‘review everything before closing the Trust deed’.
On 5th August 2015, Mr. Gallacher’s Trustee discharged him from the Trust Deed, confirming that he had ‘fulfilled all of his obligations. Within days he received a copy of his Trustee’s ‘adjudication’, in which it was announced that a dividend of 1p in the pound was to be paid to the established creditors AND ALSO TO THE G.M.S.T. – A NON-CREDITOR!
Despite the findings of Strathclyde C.I.D., despite the Morton Trust having ‘body swerved’ proving its own Small Claims action in court, and despite the endeavours of his solicitor –
HE WAS ABOUT TO LOSE ‘G.M.S.T. v GALLACHER’ on the strength of a reprehensible ‘scam’ involving apparent complicity between two insolvency practitioners!
JIM GALLACHER’S TRUSTEE WAS OBLIGED TO PROTECT HIS CLIENT’S INTERESTS. HE WAS ALSO OBLIGED TO ENSURE THAT THE TRUE CREDITORS RECEIVED THEIR RIGHTFUL DIVIDENDS IN FULL.
IAIN FORSYTH KNEW THAT HE HAD DOCUMENTATION FROM HARPER MACLEOD LL.P., WHICH PROVED CONCLUSIVELY THAT THE G.M.S.T. WAS NOT A CREDITOR, AND ALSO THAT IN OCTOBER 2012, HIS OFFICE MANAGER HAD STATED THAT THEIR CLAIM SHOULD NOT BE ADMITTED.
Forsyth appeared to see Jim Gallacher as ‘a soft touch’ as he favoured fellow bean counter Nick Robinson who had boasted two months previously of ‘further repercussions being highly unlikely’.
THE SMELL OF COLLUSION WAS GROWING STRONGER.
Jim Gallacher ‘phoned his Trustee the following Tuesday,
‘I had a lengthy ‘phone call with him on Tuesday 11th August. He only comes in to Carrington Dean for about an hour every Tuesday. He said it was only 1p in the £ they’d been awarded and admitted he hadn’t looked at their claim and had just awarded it.
I explained in detail to him again the implications of his decision. I asked how I could appeal his decision, and he said ‘To a Sheriff’ – but when I said I would be appealing, he seemed a bit reluctant that it go to that stage.
He then asked me to put something in writing to him ALONG WITH MY SET OF ACCOUNTS – the ones that had been fully investigated by the C.I.D.’
Two months earlier Mr. Forsyth had assured Jim Gallacher that he would ‘review everything before closing the Trust Deed’. He understood the contentious nature of the Trust’s claim and the history of the sisted court case, and he possessed full accounts from Jim’s solicitor.
What was he up to, and specifically, why had Forsyth abandoned the interests of his client and the established creditors when he ratified a contentious and unproven claim? Why also did he require ‘something in writing’ when he already had everything in writing from Jim’s solicitor?
The G.M.S.T. claim should have been dismissed on lack of evidence, as previously advised by his Office Manager, but Iain Forsyth appeared DETERMINED to favour Nick Robinson.
THINGS WERE BEGINNING TO STINK OF ‘CAHOOTS’!
Jim was bewildered! His solicitor had been certain that the claim would be rejected, but Mortonjag had dealt with the legalities, and he had temporarily lost contact details. He found it hard to believe that his Trustee had deliberately acted dishonestly, and so in good faith, he forwarded a copy of original accounts which had been scrutinised by Strathclyde C.I.D. In the accompanying email, dated 17th August 2015, he said:
‘The case is currently sisted awaiting the outcome of their claim with yourself. Should any monies be awarded to them they will recall the sist and ask for the case to be found in their favour and full costs to be paid by myself.’
He spelled it out clearly for his Trustee. If he awarded the Trust even a penny, he would subsequently lose the Small Claims action. What followed can only be described as an unprofessional farce!
Iain Forsyth – Wednesday 19th August 16.49: ‘Thanks James, I note what you write and I will review the position and get back to you’.
Jim Gallacher – Tuesday 1st September 09.43: six days later ‘…..did you manage to have a look at the Morton Trust Claim…..’
Iain Forsyth – Tuesday 1st September 10.03: ‘Good morning Jim, I have gone through both sets of figures. Do you know if the court action has been sisted or dismissed? I will email you this week.’
Jim had told him only fifteen days previously that the action was sisted!
Jim Gallacher – Friday 4th September 13.40 having failed to receive email: ‘Hi Iain, any decision yet?’
Jim Gallacher – Monday 7th September 10.56, and becoming impatient. ‘Good morning Iain, any decision yet?
Iain Forsyth – Monday 7th September 18.02: ‘Good evening Jim. Sorry for the delay, I will get back to you on Wednesday.
Jim Gallacher – Friday 11th September 11.00 (having received nothing on the Wednesday): ‘Could you please advise a new date when I’m likely to receive an answer?
Iain Forsyth – Friday 11th September 11.38 ‘Good morning Jim, I have reviewed the position and found that the Greenock Morton Supporters’ Society Ltd. (GMSS) claim of £2,302 should be admitted to an ordinary ranking. I consider that the creditor has submitted sufficient documentation to support the claim. I am sorry this is not the decision you wished for.
You are entitled to dispute the adjudication to the Sheriff in terms of Section 49(6) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985.’
When Jim arrived home from work that evening, a ‘hard copy’ was waiting for him – dated 10th September.
SO THERE, IN BLACK AND WHITE, WAS AN IRREVOCABLE STATEMENT FROM NICK ROBINSON’S FELLOW INSOLVENCY PRACTITIONER.
HE CONSIDERED THE TRUST TO BE A ‘CREDITOR’ AND TO HAVE ‘SUPPLIED SUFFICIENT DOCUMENTATION TO SUPPORT THE CLAIM’!
Iain Forsyth knew full well that there was NO evidence to support the claim!
THE STENCH OF COLLUSION HAD BECOME OVERPOWERING!
Mortonjag’s readers may conclude that Mr Forsyth was a ‘naughty boy’, and the plot thickened when Jim re-established contact with Mortonjag, and questions were directed to the Trustee!
THAT’S FOR NEXT TIME FOLKS!