Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Post freehold purchase

If you cast your mind back to a previous blog http://pleasurama.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving.html

"What is abundantly clear is TDC complete on the sale of the Freehold thereby absolving themselves from any further interest in the ownership of the site. Now all they have to do is hope the Development Agreement to build is watertight and that Mike Stannard can actually build out the site because if he cannot the ball is firmly back in TDC's hands assuming they have a watertight Development Agreement. (Something they have a poor track record of enforcing)"

Well further information has arrived in my mailbox and a quick check on Companies House has given up the following information.

 Seems that Stannard has resigned from SFP and Colin Hill's tame accountant has taken over. The Company has changed name and the registered address has gone back to where it started from. So what happened to Cardy Ramsgate Ltd the real owner of the freehold
Well Colin Hill has finally stuffed TDC, Stannard has gone and it's all in Colin Hill's hands so how will TDC enforce the built.

Q 4. What provisions are in place to ensure that the site will be developed? 

In the agreement, there is a long-stop date of three and a half years with measurable milestones, by which the site must be developed. If it is not developed then the council has an option to buy it back. The first milestone relates to the completion of piling (and certified practical completion of that piling) for the hotel within two years. The second milestone relates to completion of the building works so they are ready to be fitted out within three and a half years. If those milestones are not met, the council has an option to purchase the site back from Cardy Ramsgate Limited. 

 Note the agreement signed by the previous Labour administration forces TDC to buy their own site back if it isn't developed. Now remind me isn't that what happened to Peterborough Council in 2010. It cost them £8M to get their land back and it cost Hill nowt. Nice little earner. http://pleasurama.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/making-easy-5-million.html

From this

To this

A prediction Hill will not build and he will hold out for the next 3 and a half years and force TDC to pay him circa £10M to get the site back.

I would like to say a belated well done (sarcasm) to Iris Johnson, David Green and Rick Everitt for selling TDC and the people of Ramsgate down the river. For what? circa £3.5M over 7 years. what will it cost in lost revenue? who bloody knows.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The gift that keeps on Giving

Today the latest on Companies House shows a charge secured on the recently acquired Freehold (Land Registry ref K838703) by a company registered in Panama. Another well known tax haven but also infamous for hiding the details of ownership from us lesser mortals. In this case however they may have made an error because all charges are now available for download from Companies House. And guess what? Who owns Mintal none other than the moneyman Colin Hill first identified as behind this lash up in June 2013


 So it seems that promises made by Cabinet members verbally have been wiped out by people far cleverer than the TDC officers tasked with ensuring everything is above board. Now it seems there are two stories doing the rounds firstly that Colin Hill has stumped up the £3M so the freehold can be purchased and along with the £5M already invested has increased his stake to £8M. The Second story, which I favour, is that far from actually buying out Keegan/Hill Mike Stannard has done a deal with Colin Hill and still owes Hill £5M which had already been invested into SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd and that sum is what Hill wants to protect hence the charge on Cardy Ramsgate Ltd.

What is abundantly clear is TDC complete on the sale of the Freehold thereby absolving themselves from any further interest in the ownership of the site. Now all they have to do is hope the Development Agreement to build is watertight and that Mike Stannard can actually build out the site because if he cannot the ball is firmly back in TDC's hands assuming they have a watertight Development Agreement. (Something they have a poor track record of enforcing)

Interesting choice of lawyer to witness especially to those that followed the Ezekiel trial.

Details of the last unaudited accounts by Keegan's accountants no less

Here is a link to Ian Driver's Blog


 Any further news I will add to this later
Council Statement
Thanet District Council can confirm that the sale of the former Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront completed on Wednesday 20 July 2016 with Cardy Ramsgate Ltd.
The council has received the monies from this sale.
The site has transferred to the south-east based firm who will be responsible for delivery of the scheme.
Once complete, the development is set to include a hotel, residential apartments, leisure/retail facilities, cafes, shops and a playground. This is in line with the existing planning consent.
The scheme is expected to employ up to 200 people. This would include opportunities during construction and jobs in the hotel trade, commercial units and in the servicing of the residential areas.
The council understands separately that Cardy Construction Ltd. has filed a notice of intent to appoint an administrator. The council does not have any further information in relation to this process at this stage.
The Sale Agreement for the site was completed on 13 March 2015. This marked the exchange of contracts binding the council to complete the transfer of the land.
As with the original development agreement, the council retains ownership of the cliff wall and completed works here in April 2016."

Last May this is what an FOI asked
Dear Thanet District Council,
Please provide details of any payments the developer(s)/buyer(s) of the Royal Sands Development, Ramsgate is/are contractually bound to pay Thanet District Council as per any legally extant planning permission, development agreement, contract of sale, memorandum of understanding OR any other document which might contain this information.
Where payments have or will be made please provide the following information for each amount:
(a) Name of organisation providing the payment
(b) Purpose of payment
(c) Date funds paid/will be paid to the council
(d) Details of any conditions attached to payment
Yours faithfully,

and the response

Thank you for your communication received on 15/04/2015 where you
requested information about contractual payments regarding the Royal Sands
I apologise for the delay in responding to your request, it is the
councils intention to publish this information once the legal process
concludes so this information is exempt under section 22 of the Freedom of
Information Act and is therefore being withheld.

Whether anyone believes the current statement from TDC or not it hasn't gone nearly far enough to answer the above FOI.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A perfect storm

Thanet's beleaguered UKIP council are currently finding life tough at the top. Firstly they are in danger of losing Dreamland (where they own the freehold) to receivership.
Secondly the saga of Manston airport rumbles on and yesterday they announced spending another £50K of ratepayer's money on another viability study which they say will feed into the proposed Local Plan. This despite spending £100K already.

Thirdly the latest news coming out is that Cardy will be appointing an administrator as they are likely to be looking for a buyer "Workers for Cardy Construction Ltd, based in Canterbury, report they were told to collect their tools due to a stop on works this morning." Full story here

For regular readers of this blog will know that after the 2009 Development Agreement ran out in February 2014 TDC have put their faith in Cardy buying out Shaun Keegan's ltd company SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd and this has recently occurred See here 
It seems now the carefully constructed change over has started to unwind. So where does that leave Ramsgate? And TDC?

The current situation is Cardy Ramsgate Ltd (Mike Stannard) owns SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd which in turn owns 3 leases sold for £550K by Sandy Ezekiel's Tory administration in 2009 and further to that £1M was paid to TDC as a surety. 
SFP's accounts show that just over £5M has been deposited into the company by means of director loans, so it seems likely Cardy have input some of that money (into the tombstones) and the rest by Shaun Keegan.

Has this been paid back to Keegan when Cardy Ramsgate bought out SFP?

Has the surety money (£1M) been used for the deposit to TDC?

The state of play with TDC and Cardy is explained here
So contracts may have been exchanged but the purchase of the freehold has yet to be completed so it seems Pleasurama is in the same position as Dreamland that is TDC still hold the Freehold but the leases are held by a company in financial difficulties.

What hasn't changed is there is extant planning for 107 apartments which remains on the site in perpetuity.
It is possible that a new buyer comes forward and takes over the development however if any new buyer takes over Cardy Ramsgate Ltd and decides to 1. continue the current incomplete deal with TDC 2. Decides to put in New Planning (which would trigger an expensive Flood Risk Assessment) Either way the losers are the tourist industry and by extension the people living in the area.
It was May 1998 when the Pleasurama site caught fire and in looks like the people of Ramsgate have a 20 year anniversary fast approaching without resolution of the site.

What next aliens taking over?
On the 20th July 2016 Mike Stannard, owner of SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd via Cardy Ramsgate Ltd completed on the deal with TDC by payment of approximately £3M. TDC then would have handed over the freehold and taken back the 3x199 year leases issued to Shaun Keegan in 2009.

We await a statement from TDC as to the development agreement and its long stop date. When TDC issue a statement I will update.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

What's a million between friends

For those who have not followed the twists and turns of this saga a brief resume of the shenanigans in 2009 under leader Ezekiel.

The former legal eagle at TDC concluded in 2014 that TDC did little "due diligence" on SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd and even though they paid TDC £1M surety in September 2009 the risk to TDC was too great and the Chief Finance officer was right to recommend not to agree the 2009 amendments.

So where did this £1Million come from. According to the Finance Officer it was via the UK clearing banking system however when pressed she said they had NEVER identified the source of the funds. However it is clear from the letters in TDC's possession this money had arrived via Tortola, one of the British Virgin Islands. A tax haven in anyone else's eyes, however sadly not in TDCs.
SFP Services Ltd is really SFP Services Inc based in Tortola and run by Colin Hill the money man behind Shaun Keegan.
Now where is this money now?
It seems TDC doesn't want to answer this question although it seems likely this is the same £1M referred to by Lin Fairbrass in her answer to "What's happening with the Cardy build"
It seems the money has already been partially spent however the money seems to have passed through many hands so identifying the true source seems to be a moot point as it has effectively been well washed.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Sean Keegan- an obituary

When SFP Venture Partners based in Tortola (In the British Virgin Islands) created a UK Ltd Company in 2006 it was done to satisfy the need for a UK entity in negotiations with Thanet District Council. Its ownership (1 share) has always been in the hand of Shaun Patrick Keegan, the father in Law of Colin Hill the money man controlling this land banking scheme.
This company was called SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd (registration number 05666803) and until recently has been the owner of 3 leases but not the Freehold.
On the annual return in 2015 Shaun Keegan was still the owner of the one share however when the return was sent to Companies House on the 7th January 2016 this had changed.
Which means on the 31st December 2015 Shaun Keegan relinquished control of SFP to an entity called Cardy Ramsgate Limited. So who controls Cardy Ramsgate Limited?
So the takeover of SFP was in the favour of Michael Stannard a director of Cardy based in Wincheap, Canterbury and the builders taken on in 2009 by Shaun Keegan. Now according to the TDC Portfolio Holder completion on the new development agreement brokered by the previous administration is imminent and building can commence
So some good news for the eyesore that is Pleasurama, however Thanet's finest (sic) detectives are again alleging that there is a restrictive covenant on the site despite all of their investigating and conspiracy theories no one outside their very small circle can come up with any shred of evidence and even an FOI has produced a zero response
My last blog on this was last July ( link here) so they have failed to find any trace of this phantom piece of paper and so the conspiracy goes on unabated

I won't go into why there is no covenant as it was all detailed in the July 2015 blog however after having a chat with a Councillor who was in the original Cabinet who made the decision to award the build to SFP he did point out the following facts.
1. There is no knowledge of a restrictive Covenant stating the land had to be for leisure*1
2. No Local authority would fetter their actions by creating a restrictive Covenant on land they might sell*2
It seems that the conspiracy theorists are having a field day because something that doesn't exist is subject of various theories of how it has vanished.
Kandy knows full well that Janet Woods had lent me her folder and it was copied and returned. If Janet moved and thrown her papers away so be it, What I had was before FORS even existed as it wasn't a constituted group until November 2013. The paperwork to which she refers is the treasurers stuff (cheque book, final accounts, and a cash box) and nothing to do with any files which have been collected over many months and clearly scanned and posted into the files section of the FB page for anyone to download.
The paperwork given to me with a promise not to pass them to Kandy and her co-cconspirators were returned to David Green before I left Ramsgate. I presume he has shredded them after he lost his seat in the 2015 election.

*1 There is a RC covering the view from Wellington Crescent which any developer's solicitor would discover in a local search
*2 This would preclude Ramsgate Corporation and TDC from creating one.

I will point out one thing for the latecomers into this conspiracy John Davis will have NO personal knowledge of FORS prior to March 2015. He wasn't part of the original steering group created at the beginning of 2013, neither was he at any time part of the constituted group. Original group members were Bayo, Duncan Smithson and myself. Even Kandy didn't put herself down for any of the main jobs for reasons only known to herself. Duncan came off as secretary because he couldn't pass Money Laundering for the bank account. John Davis only wheedled his way in after March 2015. To date no accounts have ever been published not even the interim ones I left with the treasurer's stuff.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

18 long years

On bank holiday Monday May 25th 1998, a major fire broke out on Ramsgate's sea front. Fire fighters from all over Kent went to tackle the blaze, about 150 in all. Local residents watch the blaze as it ripped away at the once palace of fun since 1927-1997.

On the 25th May 2016 it would mean 18 long years since the arson attack on Ramsgate Main Sands biggest draw. A whole generation of children who have missed out on summer fun. Both Labour, Conservative and TDC have failed the electorate and have missed plenty of opportunities to enhance the Ramsgate offering with currently work yet again stalled on building 107 flats that, to be quite honest, no one really wanted.
So what went wrong and I make no apology for this post.
After the fire James (Jimmy) Godden put in plan after plan and TDC refused mainly because the intent was leisure and Jimmy wanted Yuppie flats. Eventually he got TDC to agree a leisure complex including shops and a cinema however no work was started making it obvious he was holding out for flats. Eventually TDC's patience ran out and they threatened to CPO the land but to ensure Jimmy wouldn't fight it they TDC and the Labour Cabinet agreed to let him keep the insurance money. So in 2001 TDC got the land back and Jimmy got (allegedly) £1/2M in Insurance money.
What did Ramsgate get.
Which became this by 2003
So what did Labour do? Well they create a sales document which makes it quite clear leisure is what they want for the area

So with that document they make it clear that what is important is to enhance the character of the Royal Harbour and which enhances the quality of Ramsgate's waterside. So what do they do?
In November 2002 they choose an offer from an opaque overseas group who propose building 107 flats

What is odd is the offer is not from the chosen group SFP Venture Partners but is from a local estate agent.
So the Labour cabinet completely ignore their own document and agree to 100 flats with a hotel and ancillary A3 however by May 2003 they had lost the election and the Tories took over and in November 2003 planning is applied for and the flats have increased to 107 flats. Planning was granted in January 2004.
As people know no building started and the only change was an increase in the footprint and the "tombstones"

After various false starts Ezekiel's Cabinet signed a development agreement in 2006 and again in 2009 however this still failed to get a development and finally in February 2014 the 2009 agreement terminated, however did TDC take back the land from SFP? Did it heck another opportunity lost and 2 years on Cardy have yet to start building and so we get to 18 long years with nothing substantial happening on the site and councillors who have failed the people of Ramsgate wondering why there is little trust by the electorate in their ability to help and support the regeneration of Ramsgate.