Who's Suing Whom: Sheffield Utd stays out of court

SHEFFIELD UNITED narrowly avoided a court battle with its own chairman last week over a proposed pounds 4m capital raising exercise. The reverberations may lead to a change of ownership at the football club today.

Carlo Colombotti, the chairman of Sheffield United, meets with the rest of the club's board today to consider appointing a new stockbroker and to hammer out a new format for the placing and open offer.

Sources close to the club suggest the meeting may allow Michael McDonald, who was bought out as chairman and owner of Sheffield United by Mr Colombotti in November, to buy back in and recover control of the club.

The chairmanship of Mr Colombotti, who was born in Tonypandy, Wales, has not been a happy one. When he attempted to buy Mr McDonald's 13 per cent stake last autumn the deal resulted in a dispute with the club's brokers, Collins Stewart, who then resigned. In the event Mr McDonald was left with 10 per cent of the club and remained a director. Mr McDonald holds his stake via his company Texas Group Plc.

Then two weeks ago Mr Colombotti, who runs his own law firm in London's West End - Amhurst Brown Colombotti - issued a writ against the club, Mr McDonald, Texas Group and two other directors.

Mr Colombotti was angry that they had raised doubts over his ability to underwrite the capital raising. He challenged the validity of the previous board meeting, which he said he had been banned from attending.

Peace broke out at a subsequent board meeting last Monday and Mr Colombotti withdrew his writ. A club spokesman described the rift as "a little spat". The legal action was also in the name of Blades Italia, a company co-owned by Mr Colombotti and two local businessmen who are keen Sheffield United fans, Philip Wood of Peter Wood Group, and Stuart Johnson.

The board meets again today and sources close to the club suggest Mr McDonald may attempt to buy the club back from Mr Colombotti.

THE THIRD week of a trial begins today of an action brought by 10 companies against a photocopier supplier that they say overcharged them for renting photocopying equipment over a four-year period in the early 1990s.

The companies, which include Trust House Forte, Lee Cooper and The Officer's Association, are claiming a total of pounds 600,000 in compensation from A:Copy (UK) Plc, a part of IKON Office Solutions, an American-owned giant that rents out 70,000 photocopiers in the UK.

The claim is for damages for fraud, breach of contract and misrepresentation, and centres on the activities of salesmen at Benworth, a subsidiary of Southern Business Group, which was in turn bought out by IKON in 1995.

In the first week of the trial, the High Court in the Strand heard that Benworth sacked four salesmen and two accounts clerks after it had discovered that they had fraudulently inflated meter readings to inflate their commissions.

The salesmen were paid on commission, and the Court heard how they registered higher meter readings on the rented photocopiers to make it look as if customers were using more copies than contracted for.

That resulted in some customers paying a one-off extra charge for copies that they had not actually used, and meant that some took out new contracts with higher minimum copy volumes than they needed.

The 10 corporate customers concerned are now claiming back the money they say they overpaid to Benworth. Last week the companies opened their case, and this Tuesday they will start presenting their evidence. A period of over 60 days has been put aside for the trial.

IN A VIVID demonstration of the complexities that can face an executor when a person leaves an ambiguous will, National Westminster Bank has been forced to take legal action to clarify which of 15 different people and bodies, including two schools and a church, are eligible to receive gifts under a recent will.

NatWest is the Executor and Trustee of the will, dated 5 July 1979, and codicil dated 12 September 1985 of Eric Wilton Simpson.

NatWest has issued a writ requesting the court to rule on whether Mr Simpson left his estate to be divided between five individuals, or to Tideswell Town Council, in Buxton, Derbyshire, for the benefit of Tideswell's elderly, or to half a dozen or so other trusts.

For instance, one area of confusion is whether Mr Simpson's reference in his codicil to a gift of pounds 10,000 for "church" is intended for the St John The Baptist Parish Church in Tideswell, or the Immaculate heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in the same town.

A similar dilemma arises over a gift of pounds 20,000 marked "bells" - to which church will it go? Another gift of pounds 8,000 marked "School" could be intended either for the Lady Manners School or the Bishop Pursglove Church of England Primary School.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments