Categories:North West

Halliwells’ ex-managing partner: ‘I gave my life to that practice’

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  • I'm afraid only a little of the Salford University stuff is in publication at the moment. Those with a specific interest should get themselves to the Manchester Civil Justice Centre on 22nd November if they want to learn the rest - or keep an eye on the press.

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  • Is this the hearing of a defamation claim or something else?

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  • How did Austin fare at the recent mediation over St James's Court. Has he done the honourable thing and coughed up or is he still denying he is liable?

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  • i walked past their old Spinningfields office the other day and it looks totally empty. What a total waste of space the Halliwells management team proved to be. Ian Austin was absolutely central to Halliwells demise. I wonder what would have happened if he had not been elected to the Managing Partners role. Lesson to every business out there.

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  • Austin may be the only one literally stupid enough to try to defend his decisions - but he wasn't on his own. The next few months are going to be very interesting.

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  • This story seems to have gone quiet? developments anyone?

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  • the story will come alive when Halliwells goes into liquidation and the liquidator brings various claims against the ex partners. As the man who negotiated the Spinningfields deal and pocketed a 75k bonus in addition to several hundred thousand pounds Austin will be in the thick of the action. Senior partner, managing partner, board members and heads of department may well find themselves in the firing line.

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  • Wouldn't it be helpful if the website had a control to just take us to the last comment or even the last page of comments?
    Hundreds of people across the land will now be trawling through 26 pages of previous comments to find themselves very disappointed by this one.

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  • Some interesting revelations today RE: the University of Salford case. I must admit that Austin's approach to civil litigation strikes me as highly unorthodox - does anybody know if he's been instructed on a libel case before? I'm disappointed to see he's not being pursued for the claim at St James' Court, but I've got my fingers crossed that some results will be yielded post-January 2011.

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  • Maestro Diaz-Rainey always used to do Austin's/Halliwells' libel cases. Ian's meant to be a property litigator although he hadn't been doing very much of that whilst attempting to manage Halliwells.

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  • That would explain it then. Property litigator or not, he is currently handling this Libel case and has submitted vast quantities of evidence so far, along with two witness statements and a Draft Order which in my opinion is never going to get off of the ground.

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  • As a property litigator myself I would venture that Ian knows next to chuff all about the subject. Mind you, a complete lack of experience and expertise never stopped any partner at Halliwells from dabbling in whatever took their fancy "International arbitration Ian? But I'm a non contentious IP lawyer" "Go and read a book on it lad"

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  • Ian may now hold himself out as a property litigator following his stint as head of insurance in the Sheffield office. He will soon be gaining valuable experience in a few other areas once the liquidator kicks things off

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  • He is lamenting the fact his partners turned on him. All done without a hint of irony.

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  • I don't think the humiliation is yet complete. The liquidator will publish his report and go after those responsible for this whole debacle. As Austin and Craig were at the heart of the firm throughout and as neither of them went to the (non) successor firms it seems reasonable to conclude that they will be firmly in the sights of the liquidator

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  • Ian Austin a property litigator? If he is, then what a pity he couldn't have taken a more aggressive line with the contractors carrying out the fit-out of Spinningfields, which overran by a staggering £10m to total £18m, I understand. The £18m was drawn on RBS facilities and representst the majority of the debt which is now owed to the Bank.

    Though while we're on the subject of the fit-out, there may be even bigger issues here than the unfortunate failure to control the vast overrun.

    While I'm told that the audited accounts show that all this expenditure resulted in some significant tenant's fixtures and fittings (north of £10m), the administrators apparently found little in the way of tangible assets were owned by the LLP (most tangible assets - even the paintings on meeting room walls - appear to have been leased). This just doesn't stack up.

    And then there's the question of whether the reverse premium would have been approved by the partners at such a high level if they had known that the cost of the fit out was going to be £10m higher than what they were told...

    The fit-out is one aspect of the whole debacle that has yet really to be aired, though I'm sure there are more revelations to come. The more one looks at this sorry affair, the murkier it seems to get...

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  • And more updates on the Salford University front - the veracity of Austin's draft orders was never put to the test as the information he sought was eventually handed over voluntarily. There'll be another hearing now on 21st December but the Judge ordered Austin and/or the claimants to submit another witness statement as in Austin's previous two he forgot to mention whether or not the allegations made against his compadres at Salford were actually false!

    I think it has pointed out earlier that some of the things that have emerged through FoI appear to directly contradict Austin's submissions to the Court. This hasn't been assessed by the Judge yet but will be come 21st December. Will be interesting to see what explanation he comes up with.

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  • Didn't the LLP buy the fixtures and fittings and then hock them when things started to go wrong? The cash was then poured into the money pit hence there were few assets owned by the LLP when the administrator went in.

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  • @hocked up | 23-Nov-2010 11:49 am

    I don't think the hocking of assets was disclosed to the partners.... when did these deals happen? You appear to have some interesting info - do tell!

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  • I bought furniture from the great Spinningfields jumble sale and the sales staff said that that they were not acting for RBS. Does this mean that Ian, Alec et al borrowed the money from RBS and then hocked it to another finance house?

    Whilst I can see how they wasted money on the reception etc I find it very hard to believe how it all adds up to £18M....

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