Thursday, July 09, 2009

Charity Commissioners clear the SPCK Smokescreen

Phil Groom has just published an official Charity Commissioners notice, now appearing on the doors of former SPCK bookshops around the country.

The CC are acting to recover the assets of the St. Stephen the Great Trust (SSG), an 'Orthodox' charity which took the bookshops over from SPCK a few years back. To escape having to pay suppliers and former staff, the SSG owners (Mark and Phil Brewer) moved all the shops overnight in June 2008 to ENC Shop Management, a limited company. They then tried to get SSG declared bankrupt in the USA - even though it was a UK charity - and were quite rightly thrown out of the courtroom. The Charity Commissioners moved in on SSG at the end of April this year after a formal investigation.

The CC have clearly seen through the Brewers fancy footwork, and so the ENC shops seem to have been seized as SSG assets. That just leaves, I think, Durham and Chichester shops, which are both on church premises and are operated by their own shop management companies, set up at the same time as ENC. Though they recently gave 12 months notice of eviction to the Brewers, it would be hugely embarassing for Durham Cathedral to have the CC changing the locks within their own precincts.

There is a deafening silence at the moment from the Brewers, who seem to have stopped throwing around legal threats (in 11 days it's a year since they jumped on Dave Walker, something which will be marked on this site).

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