The owner of a collapsed building firm has agreed to pay a “substantial sum” to mitigate creditor’s losses – but his former clients won’t see a penny.
DMB Solutions (UK) Ltd went bust in January 2018 owing what is now estimated to be more than £1.8 million, of which £894,211 was to customers.
But although one of its three directors – James Powell, 42, Christopher Bibb, 55 and Michelle Allen-Foord, 52 – has now agreed to pay the sum by November, all this will go to former employees and the bank.
The only director listed in Companies House has having significant control of the company is James Powell
Christopher Bibb, of Winton Avenue, Saltdean, declared himself bankrupt in January 2019.
A report from liquidator Jonathan Beard at Begbies Traynor said NatWest is owed £29,322 – but added it had not yet made a formal claim.
It said employees are owed £17,482 in wages in arrears, accrued holiday pay and pension contributions.
These sums are classed under preferential creditors, and have almost all been covered by the redundancy payments service, which may put in its own claim.
It adds: “Unsecured creditors were estimated on the directors’ statement of affairs as being £990,532 although this did not take into account any claim from customers, either in respect of deposits paid for work not done or claims for damages in respect of faulty or poor work.
“To date, we have received claims totalling £1,793,022 of which £894,211 is from customers.
“It is unlikely there will be funds available to enable a distribution to be made to unsecured creditors.”
One of the scores of customers owed money by DMB Solutions (UK), David Mead, said: “It’s a very strange world we live in.
“After this amount of time and the amount of money, which we are told is substantial, none of the people who are out of pocket will get a penny.
“The main people to win out of this are the insolvency practitioners.
“Back in the day when James Powell liquidated the company, he appointed Begbies Traynor. They are like a dog with a bone – they are very persistent and have deep pockets.”
Other unsecured creditors include trade suppliers, including David Cover and Sons, Ford Commercial Finance and Plumbase, HMRC, and employees owed sums not covered by their preferential claims.
The liquidators themselves have completed work worth £277,948.50, and incurred expenses worth £23,859.
The agreement to pay the sum was made in December 2022. The director has agreed to pay it by June this year.
Trading Standards closed its two-and-a-half-year investigation of DMB Solutions in September 2020, saying there was not enough evidence to prove a criminal standard of dishonesty against the directors.
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