The ArgusEx-chairman’s expenses request ‘manufactured’ (From The Argus)

Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.

Ex-chairman’s expenses request ‘manufactured’

The Argus: Roger Amerena at the unveiling of the blue plaque to Charles Dickens at the Holiday Inn Hotel Roger Amerena at the unveiling of the blue plaque to Charles Dickens at the Holiday Inn Hotel

A conservation group’s trustees have fought off claims from its former chairman which they believe would have bankrupted the charity.

Roger Amerena has been in dispute with the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association (MCHA) in Brighton for more than two years.

The conservation group’s trustees issued a court claim alleging the former chairman, who resigned from the post in May 2010 after being made bankrupt, had not returned some of its property.

Mr Amerena, of Montpelier Hall in Montpelier Road, Brighton, responded with a counterclaim for £7,120 in unpaid expenses and a loan – roughly twice what the MCHA’s trustees said it had in its bank account.

But in a ruling at Brighton County Court, which was handed down in November, Mr Amerena’s claims were deemed “wholly spurious” and all but one was rejected.

In summing up, District Judge Vivien Liston said: “The claimant had no option but to defend the counterclaim as the very survival of the association was at stake.”

Counterclaim

An eight-page document summing up the case showed MCHA, which was represented by chairman Jim Gowans, treasurer Chris Jackson and vice-chairman Mick Hamer, issued the initial claim worth £700 in January.

This included the return of commemorative plates, which the charity hands out at its conservation awards.

At a preliminary court hearing in May Mr Amerena returned some, but not all, of the property.

The largest amount in the counterclaim was an alleged ‘loan’ by Mr Amerena to MCHA for £2,938.22 relating to the Coach House project.

With money from 60 residents, Mr Amerena set up a community company to buy the 19th-century listed building in Clifton Hill, Brighton, for £325,000 in April 2006.

After it ran into financial trouble, MCHA paid bills to the company worth £2,938.22 in May 2007.

However, papers presented to the court said it was agreed that if the venture failed then the company would return the cash to the association.

Documentary evidence

The Coach House was sold in July 2008 but it took until August 2009 for Mr Amerena to pay the cash back to MCHA.

At the county court he claimed this was a personal loan and he was not acting for the company.

However the judge rejected his claims that the money returned to him.

She added a cheque stub, which had been apparently altered to read “loan for the Coach House”, proved nothing “save to illustrate the propensity of Mr Amerena to alter documents as and when the need arises”.

Mr Amerena claims for £2,368.98 in travel and telephone expenses going back to October 2004 were also rejected after he failed to provide any documentary evidence.

Judge Liston said: “I am at a loss to understand why he did not return all MCHA property to the committee when he resigned in May 2010; it took 21 months for him to start returning MCHA property.

She added: “It is clear to me that it was entirely necessary for the claimant (the MCHA) to bring the claim.

“The counterclaim in respect of the expenses claim and the ‘loan’ were in my judgment wholly spurious. The expenses claim was clearly ‘manufactured’.”

After all the claims and costs were added up, Mr Amerena was ordered to pay MCHA £5.41.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Amerena said: ““There were four claims and I won one and they won three.”

See the latest news headlines from The Argus:

More news from The Argus

Follow @brightonargus

The Argus: Daily Echo on Facebook - facebook.com/southerndailyecho Like us on Facebook

The Argus: Google+ Add us to your circles on Google+

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:11am Sun 9 Dec 12

qm says...

£5.41 and the litigation cost how much? The stupidity of people in this day and age feeding the sharks over a matter of principle for the price of a cup of coffee is beyond astonishing . . . .
£5.41 and the litigation cost how much? The stupidity of people in this day and age feeding the sharks over a matter of principle for the price of a cup of coffee is beyond astonishing . . . . qm
  • Score: 0

10:58am Sun 9 Dec 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Personality types.
Personality types. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

11:26am Sun 9 Dec 12

Valerie Paynter says...

qm wrote:
£5.41 and the litigation cost how much? The stupidity of people in this day and age feeding the sharks over a matter of principle for the price of a cup of coffee is beyond astonishing . . . .
The court case was not over £5.41.

Mr. Amerena sent back an MCHA cheque in settlement for about £600 and demanded thousands he was not entitled to instead!

Accounts could not be signed off at AGM by the MCHA because Mr. Amerena was still not returning material he was no longer entitled to be holding, etc. etc.

The MCHA is a registered charity and has to conform to charity law. When Mr. Amerena tried to claim thousands from them, what choice did they have except to counter claim - and in the courts - after a few YEARS of failing to get cooperation from Mr. Amerena?

It is all very sad as whatever good Mr. Amerena has been capable of doing in the world of Conservation has been utterly eclipsed by his shenanigans and growing notoriety over some years now.
[quote][p][bold]qm[/bold] wrote: £5.41 and the litigation cost how much? The stupidity of people in this day and age feeding the sharks over a matter of principle for the price of a cup of coffee is beyond astonishing . . . .[/p][/quote]The court case was not over £5.41. Mr. Amerena sent back an MCHA cheque in settlement for about £600 and demanded thousands he was not entitled to instead! Accounts could not be signed off at AGM by the MCHA because Mr. Amerena was still not returning material he was no longer entitled to be holding, etc. etc. The MCHA is a registered charity and has to conform to charity law. When Mr. Amerena tried to claim thousands from them, what choice did they have except to counter claim - and in the courts - after a few YEARS of failing to get cooperation from Mr. Amerena? It is all very sad as whatever good Mr. Amerena has been capable of doing in the world of Conservation has been utterly eclipsed by his shenanigans and growing notoriety over some years now. Valerie Paynter
  • Score: 0

2:09pm Sun 9 Dec 12

qm says...

Valerie Paynter wrote:
qm wrote:
£5.41 and the litigation cost how much? The stupidity of people in this day and age feeding the sharks over a matter of principle for the price of a cup of coffee is beyond astonishing . . . .
The court case was not over £5.41.

Mr. Amerena sent back an MCHA cheque in settlement for about £600 and demanded thousands he was not entitled to instead!

Accounts could not be signed off at AGM by the MCHA because Mr. Amerena was still not returning material he was no longer entitled to be holding, etc. etc.

The MCHA is a registered charity and has to conform to charity law. When Mr. Amerena tried to claim thousands from them, what choice did they have except to counter claim - and in the courts - after a few YEARS of failing to get cooperation from Mr. Amerena?

It is all very sad as whatever good Mr. Amerena has been capable of doing in the world of Conservation has been utterly eclipsed by his shenanigans and growing notoriety over some years now.
I understand that it wasn't about £5.41 Valerie but the sums were relatively minor and that was the outcome!
AND HOW MUCH DID THE LITIGATION COST?
[quote][p][bold]Valerie Paynter[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]qm[/bold] wrote: £5.41 and the litigation cost how much? The stupidity of people in this day and age feeding the sharks over a matter of principle for the price of a cup of coffee is beyond astonishing . . . .[/p][/quote]The court case was not over £5.41. Mr. Amerena sent back an MCHA cheque in settlement for about £600 and demanded thousands he was not entitled to instead! Accounts could not be signed off at AGM by the MCHA because Mr. Amerena was still not returning material he was no longer entitled to be holding, etc. etc. The MCHA is a registered charity and has to conform to charity law. When Mr. Amerena tried to claim thousands from them, what choice did they have except to counter claim - and in the courts - after a few YEARS of failing to get cooperation from Mr. Amerena? It is all very sad as whatever good Mr. Amerena has been capable of doing in the world of Conservation has been utterly eclipsed by his shenanigans and growing notoriety over some years now.[/p][/quote]I understand that it wasn't about £5.41 Valerie but the sums were relatively minor and that was the outcome! AND HOW MUCH DID THE LITIGATION COST? qm
  • Score: 0

2:44pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Will's blog says...

Gossip has it Mr Amerena has also fallen out with some of Tim Ridgway's chums in the local Tory party. So is this factual reporting or a vengeance favour?
Gossip has it Mr Amerena has also fallen out with some of Tim Ridgway's chums in the local Tory party. So is this factual reporting or a vengeance favour? Will's blog
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

There was a court case so the info would be in the public domain, but usually find that journalists are tipped off by people from within their own party.
I've had some very juicy tip offs from top office in the past and this has also happened locally with Labour and the Tories and it wouldn't surprise me if most of the stuff about the Greens comes from disgruntled party members as the volume of it is somewhat alarming.
Personalities and power struggles create leaks. Great for news.
There was a court case so the info would be in the public domain, but usually find that journalists are tipped off by people from within their own party. I've had some very juicy tip offs from top office in the past and this has also happened locally with Labour and the Tories and it wouldn't surprise me if most of the stuff about the Greens comes from disgruntled party members as the volume of it is somewhat alarming. Personalities and power struggles create leaks. Great for news. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Sun 9 Dec 12

John Steed says...

I love to make a further comment but the last one was removed
I love to make a further comment but the last one was removed John Steed
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree