St Camillus Legal Action
We recently advised the St Camillus Sales Agent Group (“SCSAG”), which is masquerading under the title of ‘St Camillus Investor Group’, of a legal action established by a UK solicitor. The legal action is focused on the lawyers who represented investors, but it also extends to any other party which may have liability to compensate investors. This includes, amongst others, the sales agents who sold the hotel rooms to investors. Many investors feel the sales agents bear some responsibility for their losses.
We asked the SCSAG to communicate news of the legal action to the investors in its group. They chose not to respond. In other words, they withheld information from the very investors they claim to be representing.
It’s an understandable reaction because they must protect the sales agents. They have to find a way to prevent investors from taking any action against sales agents because it is they who provide SCSAG with investor email addresses. Their solicitor, who claims to be on the side of the investors, is working with the sales agents and has been for some time. That’s quite a conflict of interest considering investors may have a claim against those sales agents.
In our previous article on St Camillus [LINK] we described how the solicitor and his sales agent partner were asking for £580 from investors without giving any indication of what the money was for or who it would go to. Fortunately, due to our article, they have been forced to drop that scheme, but we believe investors will be asked for a payment of some kind fairly soon.
There’s another potential conflict of interest for the lawyer/sales agent team which is being ignored. Investors generally fall into two camps. Those who want to commit more money to the investment in some way e.g through coming together to buy the assets in administration, and those who do not want to commit any more money and would like to get the highest amount back from the administration. On the one hand we have a group that wants to force down the price they pay for the asset and on the other there is a group that wants to achieve the highest possible price for the asset because that should result in a greater distribution for them. This solicitor/sales agent team want to buy the assets, but they seem to want non-buying investors to contribute towards establishing a structure with the administrator which could actually work against the interests of the non-buying investors. It’s odd, unnecessarily complex and doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than generating fees.
In administration, if you want to buy the asset you make an offer. If it is acceptable you pay the money. You can then sort out any deal you like with leaseholders. It’s true to say that the majority of St Camillus investors who have contacted us are those who don’t want to pay any more money and are concerned they will lose out to those who are trying to push the price down.
We have decided to publish an overview of the legal action below so that investors can ask the SCSAG why they weren’t told about it. This is the most comprehensive legal action we have ever been involved in because we feel St Camillus investors are in the same position as Qualiacare investors i.e they are being manipulated. Unfortunately we came to Qualiacare too late to be able to warn investors.
We can’t go into detail on the legal proposal because that is for the solicitor to present to investors, but we can list the key points.
1. It is a large law firm running the action and the solicitor is very experienced in professional negligence claims, including hotel room scams. He has experience in prosecuting room scams and this includes to trial. It is quite rare to find a solicitor who has taken a room scam into the courtroom (and won). The action is ready to start with everything in place.
2. The action is fully-funded i.e investors do not have to make any upfront contribution. The fee will be payable at the end of the case if it is successful.
3. The action is not a “we expect the claim to settle out of court” scenario. That would be nice for all investors if it happens that way, but it is best to have everything in place for a full-on court process just in case the opponents opt to take the case to court. We’ve seen investors signing up to a limited action service only to find that the opponent will not settle out of court. At that point investors are asked to put their hands in their pockets. This action is fully-funded from start to finish and includes ATE insurance. The solicitor has covered the requirement for court action all the way through to appeals if necessary.
4. The team is already involved in large claims against two of the main law firms who represented investors in the sale of the hotel rooms. Those firms are Gordon Brown Law Firm and Maxwell Alves. That makes life much easier.
5. The funding arrangement also includes ongoing costs related to investigating the roles played by third parties e.g sales agents, providers of professional services etc, with the aim of identifying additional recovery actions which can be added to the existing legal actions. This is a valuable feature which it is hoped will lead to greater recoveries for investors.
6. The arrangement includes FREE legal advice to the solicitor’s clients on the administration process and any proposals which are brought forward that affect the clients.
7. It also includes FREE legal advice to the solicitor’s clients on their leasehold position, how to protect it and how to get the best outcome when a buyer appears on the scene. This benefits investors who are concerned that the sales agent’s solicitor may not be acting in the best interests of non-buyers.
8. In effect, the funding proposal removes the need for any participating investor to have to pay the solicitor/sales agent team for any service related to both the insolvency and their leases.
If anyone would like more information they can contact us via our Contact Page.
If any investor has instructed the solicitor/sales agent team and decides not to use them any longer they can de-instruct them by sending an email advising the solicitor that his services are no longer required. They can ask him to return any money held on account if they have made any payment.
It is always wise to be wary of any investor group which bars investors from joining the group on the grounds that they ask too many questions. Also, any investor group which does not pass on information to group members should be regarded with suspicion. It suggests it has its own agenda which may include diverting attention away from parties which could be prosecuted .
St Camillus legal action.