Former MP pleads with council to ‘cut its losses’ in legal battle against former Cobblers chairman

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A former Northampton MP has called on the borough council to drop its legal fight against previous Cobblers chairman David Cardoza after the authority learned it would have to embark on a lengthy trial in order to win.

Yesterday it emerged Northampton Borough Council’s bid to reclaim £180,000 from Mr Cardoza would have to involve them winning an expensive High Court trial against the once Sixfields boss.

The former chairman paid himself that amount as a salary between January and August 2015, when the council claims he knew the football club was all but insolvent.

But a High Court judge ruled Mr Cardoza had enough evidence to argue against the council’s claim in a civil trial - and in fact had loaned the club £5.2 million during his time in charge.

Yesterday the borough council did not wish to comment on whether it would continue pursuing the former stockbroker money it says it was owed as the club’s largest creditor at that time.

But former Northampton South MP Brian Binley says the judge’s ruling should put an end to the action.

He told the Chronicle & Echo: “I want to publicly appeal to the leader of the council (Councillor Jonathan Nunn) to drop this action and not to appeal the decision so that Kelvin Thomas and his fellow directors can continue with the job of rebuilding Northampton Town.”

The council launched its legal case against the Cardozas in April 2016.

The background to the action being that the authority loaned Northampton Town £10.25 million between 2013 and 2014 to complete a stadium expansion, which never fully materialised.

The council agreed to take on the club’s debts to stop the Cobblers being wound up in November 2015, paving the way for current owner Kelvin Thomas to buy the club for £1.

At the same time the authority vowed to chase money it claimed to be owed as a result of the failed loan deal and has since set aside £950,000 of taxpayer money to do so.

But though High Court judge Sir Guy Newey agreed the council might have a case in reclaiming money from Mr Cardoza as the club’s largest creditor between January and August, 2015, he found Mr Cardoza had an equal chance of suing the football club for the amount he claims to be owed.

Mr Binley, who nearly took over the Cobblers himself as part of a consortium in late 2015, said: “I have been a businessman for most of my life and I know when it’s time to cut my losses.

“The money that the borough council is spending is public money and I fear that pride and hubris will feature in their thinking.

“If that proves to be the case many of the good council tax payers of Northampton will be very angry.”

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