Below is the text of a communication to Park First victims by Finnbar O’Connell, Joint Administrator of Park First companies, appointed by the directors of the companies to assist in their efforts to avoid an investigation and to obtain an outcome which writes off £115m and leaves them in control of the companies.
This was clearly an opportunity for Mr O’Connell to apologise to investors for misleading them over the claim that unless they voted for his proposal they would lose the right to the £33m held in escrow. He did not take that opportunity. In fact, he refers investors to that letter without advising them that it contained false and misleading statements in paragraphs 3 (iii) and 3 (iv). It would appear that Mr O’Connell is fulfilling his brief and doing everything within his power to assist the parties which appointed him in their cause.
THE COMMUNICATION TO PARK FIRST VICTIMS
Dear Sir / Madam
Re: Park First Freeholds Limited, Park First Glasgow Rentals Limited, Park First Gatwick Rentals Limited, Help Me Park Gatwick Limited (all in administration)
(together the “Companies”)
Further to my update on 11 October 2019, please see below the outcome from the Court hearing on 4 November 2019.
You will recall that the Administrators sought directions from the Court on 2 matters which I summarise below:
1. Directions sought: Directions concerning the admission of investors’ and creditors’ claims for voting purposes.
Outcome: The Court was sympathetic to the complexities of these cases, however, the Court declined to give formal directions in this regard. The Court said that the Administrators must use their own discretion with regard to the value of investors’ and creditors’ claims for voting purposes and also with regard to assisting investors and creditors as regards understanding which company or companies investors and creditors have claims against. The Court was informed that, due to the confusion amongst investors and creditors as to which of the Companies they would be allowed to cast votes with respect to, the Administrators intended to write to creditors and investors and to provide them with this information.
Consequences of the Directions Hearing as regards the admission of investors’ and creditors’ claims for voting purposes: To assist investors and creditors with the submission of their claims for voting purposes, the Administrators will include details of what they believe your claim amounts are and in relation to which company / companies within the next few days. Please note, if upon receipt of this information you believe your claim value to be different, you can amend the claim value or any other details.
Directions sought: Directions in relation to how to deal with requests to release investors’ and creditors’ names, postal addresses, email addresses and amounts owed to them in line with insolvency legislation.
Outcome: Given the number of investors and creditors involved with the administrations of the Companies, and the number of approaches that investors and creditors have received from scammers and other unwelcome parties, the Court ruled that the Administrators were under no general obligation to provide details of the investors’ and creditors’ names, postal addresses, email addresses and amounts owed to them whether with their Proposals or otherwise.
However, the Court also ruled that creditors may, upon providing certain undertakings, request investors’ and creditors’ names, postal addresses, but not email addresses, from the Administrators. These undertakings include: (i) to use the information for the sole purpose of liaising with other creditors in connection with the insolvency of the Companies, and (ii) not sharing the information with any third party.
(In this regard, please note that Trainer Shepherd Phillips Melin Haynes LLP, solicitors, (“Trainer Shepherd”) was represented at the Court hearing and, following the Court’s direction in this regard, and upon receipt of the relevant undertakings from Trainer Shepherd, the Administrators have provided investors’/creditors’ names, postal addresses and the amount of their respective debts to Trainer Shepherd. For your information, Trainer Shepherd is the law firm representing a number of creditors of the Companies who have proposed Modifications to the Administrators’ Proposals in order to place the Companies immediately into liquidation with the appointment of Insolvency Practitioners from Quantuma LLP and Dow Schofield & Watts as the liquidators. More information about this was set out in my update of 9 October 2019 .
Consequences of the Directions Hearing as regards requests to release investors’ and creditors’ names, postal addresses and amounts due to them from the Companies:
1. Investors and creditors are likely to receive physical correspondence from Trainer Shepherd, solicitors; and
2. Investors and creditors may receive physical correspondence from other parties related to the Companies should those other parties fulfil the criteria set by the Court for the release of the investors’ and creditors’ names, postal addresses and amounts due to them from the Companies.
What happens next?
I will provide investors and creditors with more details in the next few days setting out what their claim amount(s) are and against which company or companies. This letter will also set out what action you need to now take, and by what date, with regard to the adjourned creditors’ meetings set for Monday 25 November 2019.
Please continue to check the Joint Administrators’ website
Please continue to check the Joint Administrators website and Portal for future updates.
For and on behalf of the Companies
SOS Comment: In light of the foregoing we’re not sure how much value investors can put on updates from the Joint Administrators’ website. If the Joint Administrators are unwilling to correct their previous false statements it calls into question whether anything they say can be trusted.
We particularly like the positive spin they have tried to put on the fact that they lost the argument for keeping creditors in the dark in an effort to prevent them from being able to communicate with other creditors. The judgement in that argument was that investors’ representatives are entitled to be given the details of all investors despite the objections of the Joint Administrators. In the interests of honesty and transparency, in a case where investors are being asked to agree to the write-off of £115m without any explanation as to why, that can only be a good thing.
To view the previous article on Park First please click here.