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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor