Weep for Wales 16

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

How better to start a new year than by catching up with old friends and meeting some new faces. Though as many of us – me included! – are still paying the price for recent over-indulgences this is a ‘shortie’, but still very interesting.

I urge you to pay particular attention to the familiar faces’ foray into luxury kitchens and the strengthened link with England’s oldest ally.

UNCIVIL PARTNERS

Some of you, especially those who read the Daily Post, will be aware of the spat between the former owners of Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor, Paul and Rowena Williams, and the new owners, represented by Myles Andrew Cunliffe. (Though the Gruesome Twosome and Cunliffe & Associates may still be partners, for who owns what is not entirely clear.)

As I reported in Weep for Wales 15, the first inkling that all was not well came in this December 2 report on the possibility of Plas Glynllifon Ltd being struck off the Companies House register because accounts were overdue.

Though what I found strange was that even though the accounts covered the period before Cunliffe came on the scene it seems to have been him holding back on submitting them.

The accounts for Plas Glynllifon Ltd, due 31 May, have still not been submitted.

Later, in the run-up to Christmas, came news that staff at Seiont Manor were not being paid (again), or else they were being paid late. Things got so bad that just a week before Christmas itself staff staged a protest outside Seiont Manor.

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We read: “Mr Cunliffe has stated that neither him or Mylo Capital (his company) are responsible for the wages or the running of the hotel. They say that is down to the tenants, with workers saying Seiont Manor Ltd is the company that pays their wages.”

Here’s a letter sent to Seiont Manor staff ‘explaining’ why they haven’t been paid. Though I’m told that certain employees ‘loyal’ to the management were paid, it’s just the majority – 25 in total – that lost out.

Note how the message ends with, effectively – ‘We didn’t start this, but we’re we’re gonna finish it. Oh yeah!’ It seems there are some people who just can’t write anything without it containing a threat, explicit or implied.

And then, when the unpaid staff tried to get their money, their elected spokesman was given the old heave-ho for ‘gross misconduct’! I am delighted to report that this latest attempt at intimidation has backfired gloriously.

An application has been accepted to have the unpaid employees’ case heard at a tribunal, and it’s hoped this will be held in mid-February. Also, Companies House has been informed of the dispute (in case anyone should try to dissolve the company).

UPDATE: BBC Cymru reports that there is to be a hearing in the High Court 17 January. Paul and Rowena Williams allege that Companies House documents have been changed without their permission. This could get interesting.

For the record . . . Staff also went unpaid when the Williams duo was in charge. And to my knowledge, there are still two former members of staff waiting to be paid the damages awarded them by Industrial Tribunals against Paul and Rowena Williams.

So it’s a bit rich for the Gruesome Twosome to now present themselves as model employers.

Here’s the letter of dismissal sent to the workers’ representative. It’s a gem of it’s kind, with a few sparklers worth highlighting.

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First, the addresses. Whoever penned this masterpiece couldn’t spell ‘Llanrug’ in the hotel’s own address or ‘Caernarfon’ in the addressee’s. There is no quotable reference, no telephone number, no e-mail address, no signature, not even a name. Just ‘Seiont Manor Ltd’. The sole director of Seiont Manor is Thomas Jacob Hindle, but I doubt if he wrote this letter.

But anyway, who is Thomas Jacob Hindle?

UPDATE 03.01.2020: Staff have been sent a letter telling them that the hotel is closing. Let’s hope that the ‘Welsh’ media (in English) and local politicians now start taking an interest, because up until now they’ve avoided it like the plague.

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UPDATE 04.01.2020: The Seiont Manor gang made the front page of the Daily Post. Though I cannot understand why people like the Williams duo and Cunliffe draw attention to themselves in this way. Given how they operate you’d think they’d want to stay out of the limelight.

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NEW BOY, TOM

Despite him resigning 18 November, ten days after the appointment of Thomas Jacob Hindle as sole director, I’m told Myles Cunliffe still runs Seiont Manor Ltd on behalf of Jon Disley and perhaps others.

On the same day Cunliffe officially left Seiont Manor Ltd Hindle also replaced him as director of Goldmann PLC. Then on 8 November, Hindle became a director of Glynllifon Mansion Ltd, again ‘replacing’ Myles Cunliffe. (Glynllifon Mansion Ltd recently transmogrified into Waterford Interiors Ltd. Read about it in the next section.)

The only other company I can find with which Hindle is linked is T Hindle Consulting Ltd, a company Incorporated as recently as 10 July 2019.

It is universally agreed that Hindle is nothing more than a dupe. One good source even says Hindle’s almost a decent guy, who may not fully understand who and what he’s got himself involved with.

Is Hindle the ‘tenants’ referred to in the Daily Post article?

WHAT’S COOKING IN THE KITCHEN BUSINESS?

And now we come to a truly bizarre twist in this saga, for on 12 December Glynllifon Mansion Ltd changed its name to Waterford Interiors Ltd, a company specialising in luxury kitchens!

Now I’m used to companies changing their name, and for all sorts of reasons. But this is more than just a change of name, this is shape-shifting. Which at first sight makes no sense . . . unless we do a little digging.

First, let’s look at the Waterford Interiors website.

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It looks glossy . . . but sort of basic. It’s supposed to be a family firm in Bolton that’s been in business for “almost 30 years” and yet there’s none of the intimacy one would expect, no names are mentioned. And the images could have been downloaded from the internet.

If you scroll to the bottom of the home page, where you’d expect to find the name of the website designer with the year it was launched or updated, there’s nothing. As I say, this website is very basic, and perhaps unconvincing.

And there seems to have been no company called Waterford Interiors registered with Companies House before Glynllifon Mansion Ltd changed its name last month.

Certainly, someone has been trading as Waterford Interiors in recent years, there’s evidence in this Lancashire Life article from August 2017. The article even gives us the name, Jon Hubbard. Who crops up again on this site of testimonials.

One that caught my attention mentioned “a customer in Marbella, Spain” and I thought to myself – who do we know in Marbella? And then it came to me – Jon Disley was the ‘King of Marbella’, though he may now have come back to Blighty.

But also resident in Marbella is the ‘other’ Cunliffe, Neil, currently director and CEO of Arden Wealth Ltd, which was Incorporated in June 2018 and threatened with strike-off by Companies House last September. Maybe he was the Marbella resident who bought the upmarket (£50,000+) kitchen.

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Staying on the Waterford Interiors website, click on the ‘Retailers’ tab and you’ll bring up a page listing five other companies or outlets. (Available here in PDF format.) Here’s what I’ve been able to find out about them:

  • Harwood Homes Interiors Ltd (formerly Harwood Holmes!), seems to be the only one listed with Companies House. Though the accounts suggest it might not be in good financial health.
  • Blue Swan Design Ltd was dissolved in September 2019.
  • Greensmith Interiors Ltd was dissolved in November 2018.
  • Luxury London Interiors Ltd was dissolved in May 2019.
  • Which just leaves the Kitchen Company of Uxbridge. There are a number of companies using that name registered with CH, but none of them in Uxbridge. But there is such an outlet, and here’s the website. Even though it says the company was set up in 1985 the website only came online in 2019. 

So we have six linked companies or retail outlets, three of which have recently been dissolved and the other three may not be in the best of financial heath. And yet the Waterford Interiors website looks new, so why does it list three dissolved companies? Though if the website’s not new, why hasn’t it been updated?

Or maybe the real question is – why is Thomas Hindle, fronting for Myles Cunliffe, fronting for Jon Disley, getting involved in luxury kitchens?

UPDATE: Although there was no evidence of a company called Waterford Interiors, I have been told of a kitchen furniture company called Waterford Reproductions Ltd, in Farnworth, Bolton.

Also in Farnworth, there was a company called Waterford Freeman Ltd, until it was voluntarily dissolved 2 April 2019.

The deadline for submission of Waterford Reproductions’ accounts was 31 December, and a cynic might suggest it’s about to go the same way as Waterford Freeman. Which would make it attractive to the kinds of people who appear in this saga.

UPDATE 03.01.2020: As might be expected, Waterford Reproductions is being dissolved. Here’s the notice from The Gazette. So once again we see Myles Andrew Cunliffe getting involved with companies about to go belly-up. Doesn’t anyone wonder why?

OS LUSÍADAS (Canto XI: The arrival of the diamond geezers.)

One of the directors of the now defunct Luxury London Interiors – James Ezra Nasser – lives in Portugal. Another Cunliffe connection with that country was Goldmann & Sons (Portugal) Ltd. And now I know of a third, and more recent connection.

For which I am indebted to a source who drew my attention to GEN5 PLC, set up 18 October. There are just two directors, Myles Cunliffe and Darcy Rebecca Stoker, a resident of Portugal. What’s more, eighteen-year-old Darcy is also the sole director of Stoker Family Investments Ltd, which was set up just three days before GEN5 PLC.

These companies are obviously linked and both give as their correspondence address the offices of RfM Accountants in Leyland, Lancashire. What’s more, I suspect that young Darcy, like Cunliffe, is ‘representing’ others.

So that gives us three Cunliffe connections with Portugal. Coincidence?

And, finally . . . North Wales Police has had a quiet word with Myles Cunliffe regarding his penchant for threatening letters delivered by hand after dark.

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I’ve received two, so far. The first 26 March, and the second 28 August. Plus of course letters from solicitors.

♦ end ♦

 

26 thoughts on “Weep for Wales 16

  1. Stan

    The kitchen is a bespoke Smallbone – it was in magazines for months. Just a typical design; see https://www.smallbone.co.uk/galleries.

    Am I surprised they are taking this route now – no. High end services can quickly see very large amounts of cash going through a bank account without question. The kitchen industry is notorious. The bank could see a contract for £50,000 and the industry expects that after extras and changes that price normally moves to £100,000. The money is transacted in three lots. Deposit 50%, after preparation before fitting 40%, final account with extras.

    Even Smallbone who have an established reputation are constantly purchased ‘for their brands name’ – Hmm. So banks in this sector won’t bat an eyelid. I’m afraid you will find if you look up their parent company SMWF Limited the same structure these Ronnies have created exists. This does not mean SMWF are suspicious I merely point out the Ronnies are following a traditional ‘industry’ model that covers up a multitude of questions through multiple companies being formed – resale company Ltd, property owner Ltd, workshop making product Ltd, financing company Ltd. See https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/11824956/filing-history

      1. Stanley

        Again Jac, they can get a bank account with ease, pass through cash then close the ‘business’ or move the current account and longer term borrowers. Unfortunately in this case they are having to cope with you, so they may be trying to get a new type of layer in place ‘high end kitchens’.

        Im afraid you are causing too many to be dissolved. Without you they could transact through the bank with small accounts for years and not be spotted. The bank on an annual review (if done at all) may ask for a copy of the odd contract but that contract means nothing because often they are given the details of someone abroad.

        You can often see companies that eventually do get closed. This happens when a large group takes over a messy potential bankruptcy. In those cases a member of their staff buys the business as a going concern, gets all the legals done, gets the business and its customers to move operations into the large group and then closes the damaged bankrupt company and drops the creditors for an agreed sum in the £1. So when you look at an individual on companies house you see a stream of companies passing through their name but on LinkedIn you then find in that period the group they were working for.

        This isn’t happening in the names published because the group names are also closing and aren’t branded companies.

        So you move to the world of the Forensic Auditors who will tell you the common practice is to start with a cash business and then create layers on top of them of other opaque companies. Through them invoices can be raised to one another, and inter-company loans and personal loans transacted. Most of the layers transact 95% of their business with one another.

        At some stage if they are good at it all those opaque companies get sold out to an established branded name who just wants turnover. This is where the man from the city came in, apart from his origins were questionable and he has no business experience so he isn’t quite getting there.

        The stages are always the same – small time disjointed (stage 1), tidy up to a bigger offshore player (stage 2) who can clean it up, sell off to a branded name (stage 3)

        Stage 2 would sell within the family, and often this is at a discount on the accounts (but you’re still talking millions) and they bring together the layers and in the accounts you often see the inter-company creditors and directors loans go because of ‘restructuring with a valuable tax credit being created’.

        In stage 2 they are getting it ready for a ‘proper on sale to a branded company’ and then the Forensic Auditor will see that the middle layers of the work being done to ‘add value’ stops and moves to outside companies. This sometimes takes a while as they reorganise and sell off odd companies and in that time you get whopping transactions taking place.

        So hypothetically when stage 2 starts they may see hotels (company 1) as the cash business, and they can be empty it doesn’t matter the cash passes into the bank regardless. This leaves the buildings and fixtures held in another company ‘developer Ltd’ (company 2) raising rental invoices. The developer company gets the grants and often shafts small suppliers. The actual asset of the building is then in ‘property Ltd or Partnership’ (company 3). Cash flows at all levels under this scenario with different sizes of transactions and its very common to see related party loans taking place.

        So stage 2 gets the books in order and a ‘holding company’ appears (company 4). Assets are sold off and more people directly employed. After this the company often then gets sold off to an established brand name in the marketplace who is just looking for growth through purchased turnover. The ‘baggage’ is taken care of and the branded company doesn’t have the records.

        Main thing is that at every stage money just keeps churning and if they don’t have this they could start to get physical problems !! If you keep on as you are I’m sure you will find Wales wont be a comfortable area to take up residence.

        The trouble is in the meantime, as i have found legitimate business people wont come to the hills and you need that help because your Government hasn’t a pot to piss in to help after the cowboys have left !!

        1. Brychan

          There is a trade in ‘second hand’, cast offs, and brand snatchers. See my comment below. The key is to identify the good legit businesses you want for inward investment, and then send the cowboys home.

  2. Wynne

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”. Sir Walter Scott.

    Pleased to hear that the police have now made contact with Cunliffe who, I assume, is assisting them with their enquiries.

  3. Brychan

    The Kitchen Company Limited (01913143), it is located at the showroom at 23-27, Belmont Road, Uxbridge, UB8 1QS. It appears to be a solvent business turning 100k profit per year and 200k cash in the bank. Creditors of £335k is typical of such a business, solvent to be able to pay and debts within the year.

    Chronology shows that Myles Cunliffe handed full ownership and control of Glynllifon Mansion Ltd to Mr Thomas Jacob Hindle on 8th November last year. Hindle then changed the company name to Waterford Interiors Limited on 12th December. Then opting to operate it as a sale agent for The Kitchen Company Limited of Uxbridge.

    The photos of glamourous kitchens on the website of Waterford Interiors (name changed from Glynllifon Mansion Ltd) are same/lifted from the website of Kitchen Company of Uxbridge, the trading name of The Kitchen Company Limited.

    Maybe Mylo the snowflake owed money for carpentry work at the mansion and handed the company to legit operators of bespoke kitchens, they have big hammers and sharp chisels a carrying when they want to recover cash owed?

    1. Brychan

      I also notice a company called T.Hindle Consulting Ltd (12095139) which is wholly owned by Thomas Jacob Hindle of 85 The Boulevard, Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 7DY. This house was purchased in 2007.

      https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detailMatching.html?prop=14603353&sale=34097457&country=england

      Best not to look at this house on Google maps as his next door neighbour is shown standing at the front door. Google software (2012) has pixilated his face but not his hand down the front of his grey trackie bottoms holding his willy. You have been warned.

      1. Yes I’ve seen the company. I mention it. I’ve also seen the Google Earth image. Not a pretty sight. Looks like some local loafer out for a rollie and a scratch of the gonads. Ah! the simple pleasures of life.

      2. Moquet

        Well, today, the 9th of January 2020, appears to mark, as Churchill would have said, “The beginning of the end” for this sorry band of shitty Carpetbaggers. With the falling into administration of the owners of Plas Glynllifon and the Seiont Manor Hotel perhaps our lovely part of the World will finally be rid of these shysters for once and all.
        I’m sure there will be a future for the Seiont Manor, but I do really grieve for poor old Glynllifon.
        But at least, whatever happens, we can continue to enjoy the Country Park.

    2. The only thing that has been ‘handed’ to Thomas Jacob Hindle is a poisoned chalice, with the possibility of having his collar felt.

      1. Brychan

        May I introduce another Myles Cunliffe company.
        GMF Bond 1 Limited (11988063)

        Myles Cunliffe has had to sign the strike off application for this company twice. The first attempt he put in the wrong date (10/09/1979), and had to try again.

        https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/11988063/filing-history

        Date of birth is only needed to prove your identity. For example – to North Wales Police.

        Companies House were just asking for the signature date. He got it right on the second attempt (15/10/2019). This might be a clue as to the author of the grotesquely written Gross Misconduct letter to staff at Seiont Manor.

        1. Well, well, well! Another company that existed for only a short period. What is the answer to this rate of attrition?

      2. Brychan

        The chalice of directorship contains certain responsibilities, one of which relates to the payment of at least the minimum wage for any hours worked. If, after 14 days of contracted pay date, there is still no payment then any employees who are at or near to the minimum wage should calculate the hours worked and the payment made (pay minus the shortfall). If that works out at less than the following..

        https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

        then they should contact the below number. HMRC have a enforcement task force who will not only extract the required sum up to the statutory minimum. This enforcement out-prioritises any payment to directors emolument or trade creditors of the company and ensures payment is made.

        0300 123 1100

        The spat between current/previous directors or historical changes of ownership is irrelavent. There is also the provision to prosecute the director/s of the company during the non-payment episode to a sum of £20,000 per employee, and HMRC will enforce this, which can include compulsory disposal of assets by bailiffs.

        Any attempt to wind up any company or previous entities that cover the period or employment affected can be halted by HMRC until the matter is resolved.

        1. Stan

          HMRC have tremendous power but that power is exercised at their discretion. Much of their interest i’m afraid is based on economics and what level of recovery might be available. This is a hard and I’m afraid cold fact.

          Bankruptcy law is very clear regarding the entitlement rights of various classes of creditors and how directors must respond. HMRC, if they feel the need do take historic snapshots of when a business started to get in trouble, and look at how creditors may have been prioritised by Directors.

          For this reason Directors would be unwise not to be holding formal meetings and taking minutes of the financial and creditor position. They must also record factual statements on what the likelihood is of them being able to meet the debts of creditors.

          If creditors were not prioritised with a ‘fair hand’ (i.e. Directors Loans were repaid, or an associated family company received a payment that wasn’t critical to the business) ahead of them say paying NI over to HMRC then HMRC can hold those Directors responsible for the damages caused to the ‘preferred creditors’ as stated in Bankruptcy Law.

          HMRS do not as much have an ‘enforcement tax force’ but ‘enforcement powers’ that may be used by the Inspectorate.

          So the questions that needs to be answered are:

          When did the Directors know that the business had financial problems.
          What did the Directors do about it do about it, to verify that the business had legs and creditors could be repaid.
          Who did they communicate with, along with what was said and what were the commitments they negotiated.
          What happened that they took the final decision that the business was insolvent and how did they deal with the creditors at that point.

          As you say legal disputes between third party Directors as long as they had a signed lease has nothing to do with this matter. However if it can be shown that those disputes harmed the business by disrupting its ability to trade, then creditors could as appears in this case take out action against the Williams couple.

          The question of why Williams were contacting staff is one that does need to be considered. Duties of infidelity need to be looked at as well as breaches in anti-competive laws and any threatening behaviour. These cross Criminal and the boundaries of Company Law.

          The letters I have seen thus far did not provide a ‘priority creditor’ with the information they needed to manage their own risks. The injured parties must set out for the hearing next week a lot of very cold facts, to have the questions ready to be answered during the hearing.

          Directors getting fined as stated is rare. In this case given the history, it would need to be presented constructively so that a request for the strike off of the Directors can be applied for, and the matter referred for wider investigation.

    3. Stan

      Brychan, that catalogue of work wont be their work look at Smallbones and Clive Christian Kitchens. Also see their accounts you need a set up worth millions to produce that type of work and even they struggle to make a profit !! Just another fantasy probably been developed by the fact that the owners of ‘Freemans and Reproduction’ appear to live across the road from Christians.

      1. Brychan

        £26.2m to be precise.

        I think you’ll find that a company that provides such bespoke kitchens at £30k plus per installation would be checked out by the customer prior to them enlisting a fitting. They will employ the best (self employed) tradesmen, carpenters, plumbers and electricians to provide the installation. These do not come cheap. The kind of trades we need in Wales with appropriate pay packets, with a “C” tax code.

        Following your brand suggestion, Stan….

        I took the liberty of looking at some of the ‘players’ in the industry. I notice, the ‘front end’ companies, as in my previous example, the trade creditors are well within the ratio to be covered by cash in the bank. The business model is a company further up the tree, who do the manufacture of stuff like CNC machined casements is where the assets like machinery is held. This is a middle tier enterprise. Longstanding and solvent. They also contract the imports of top-end cookers, aga, customised white goods.

        Then discovered the holding company, that provides the service of stuff like corporation tax arrangement. All on-shore in the UK. No dodgy hidden wide boy with ex-con mates on the Costas. Such arrangements can only be done via an established going concern, using the 7 year application of balancing of tax liability. £286k liability declared being paid off at about £96kpa in corporation tax. A mark of a going concern.

        Following my phone call to the legitimate company, who were very concerned about the antics of the likes of Mylo, (see Jac’s latest update), one of the senior directors, after having had a chat with his copywriter lawyers, called me back. Amongst other things we also had a chat about genuine investment in Wales. I suggested that both the manufacture stages as well as the holding company might consider re-locating in north west Wales, after the pond life are expunged. Apparently, the era of cheap rents in old Manchester cotton mills are ending and locating in the Caernarfon area would add some ‘country estate’ kudos to these legitimate business.

        It’s not my remit to make such decisions, that is the job of people employed my the Welsh Government, but their too busy dishing out grants to ‘tourism’ enterprises like the loan sharkers (see Weep for Wales) and zip wires. I suggested the ‘eminent provider of luxury interiors’ locate their middle tier ‘manufacture’ operation in some industrial unit in Blaenau Ffestiniog, launch a ‘Made in Snowdonia’ tag, and a new showroom in Betws y Coed to keep the riff-raff from the door mat.

        It was also re-assuring that they always treat their staff with respect and dignity, especially the tradesmen. It’s the only way for their business to be successful. If I may, I would also like to make the point that there are genuine ‘northern’ businessmen in England, who would be most welcome in Wales. Mylo and his chums are not representitive of that part of the world in their business dealings.

        The chat was not difficult.
        Is there anyone down the Bae that does this?

  4. Dafis

    Lisa Nandy, prospective contender for leadership of UK Labour Party is quoted as saying – ” It’s not about whether you’re radical or not; it’s about whether you’re relevant.” Politicians in Wales across all parties would do well to heed the message of that one brief sentence. When it comes to relevance most of them seem to have spent years looking the other way.

  5. Rambler

    Seems like the House of Cards is tumbling down. First we note the Receivership of Plas Glynllifon, Seiont Manor Hotel and Polvellan Manor. All the work of the so-called “Property Developers” the Williamses. Two crumbling mansions and a hotel which can’t pay its staff, and turns two fingers up at the Industrial Tribunal rulings.
    And now, according to the Daily Post, the Gruesome Twosome are about to line up in court against Myles (“Get me a car”) Cunliffe. Will make interesting news in the coming weeks! Hope the lawyers concerned get their fees in advance!

  6. Cymro

    Intriguing article in Saturdays Daily Post. Who is trying to do what, exactly?
    Must say, from the most recent pics of the Gruesome Twosome, our Paul looks a bit worse for wear. Such a strain, being a successful Property Developer!

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