Northampton Town stadium developers placed into liquidation after administrators realised no assets to pay creditors

The firm contracted to develop the Cobblers East Stand has been sent into liquidation.

The firm contracted to develop the Cobblers East Stand has been sent into liquidation.

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The company contracted to carry out the Sixfields stadium development has been placed into liquidation after administrators realised “no assets” to pay creditors.

Northampton Borough Council are set to appoint Deloitte to oversee the liquidation of the firm which it says will give it “direct access” to information about the business.

Back in January 2015, Mazars LLP was appointed to oversee the administration of 1st Land, the firm chosen to project manage building a new ground for Northampton Town.

But the final practitioner’s report has revealed that during the 12-month administration period, no assets have been realised and none of its creditors have received payment so far.

Northampton Borough Council, which loaned the Cobblers £10.25 million to complete the stadium works, is now set to appoint the firm Deloitte as liquidator for the company, which was 100 per cent owned by Bushey-based businessman Howard Grossman.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We are committed to pursuing the debt of £10.25 million owed by the football club.

Howard Grossman and former Cobblers chairman David Cardoza shake hands at the sod-cutting ceremony for the Sixfields development back in March 2014.

Howard Grossman and former Cobblers chairman David Cardoza shake hands at the sod-cutting ceremony for the Sixfields development back in March 2014.

“Through the memorandum of understanding agreed with the new owners (of Northampton Town), the debt owed by the club transferred across to the borough council, so that we are now 1st Land’s largest creditor.

“We have now moved to become the liquidator of 1st Land as this will give us direct access to information about their business and financial dealings and the best chance of recovering the loan.

“Deloittes acted for us in scrutinising the club’s financial position at the end of last year, and so will have a broader understanding of the business relationship with 1st Land.”

Mazars LLP stated it has sent a report on the conduct of the firm’s directors to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills Disqualification Unit. This is a statutory requirement at the conclusion of any administration.

As for the content of that conduct report, administrator for Mazars LLP Paul Maloney, said: “It has been submitted and we are unable legally to disclose the contents of that report.”

The Mazars LLP final administration report stated that the only assets the company held were “potential claims against various 3rd parties”.

One of those claims was that it made a loan to the former Cobblers chairman David Cardoza and his father Anthony to the sum of £2.65 million. The final administration report states this amount would be “uncertain” to realise in he future. Previously, Mr Cardoza said the money was not a loan but was a “joint venture fee”. It was understood the reference was disputed and that the chairman said he did not receive any money from 1st Land.

Read more: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/special-report-public-inquiry-must-be-held-into-how-northampton-town-got-to-the-edge-of-football-abyss-1-7061549#ixzz3wfecPBdS

Another claim was that the company was owed £53,428 from the dissolved firm, County Cemetery Service, which was also not realised within the 12-month window.

In total at the start of the administration process in January 2015, 1st Land owed £2.67 million to other companies, the largest of which being Buckingham Group Limited, the firm contracted to build the East Stand at Sixfields.

The £1.85 million debt to Buckingham Group was taken on by the Cardoza owned company County Developments (Northampton) Limited (CDNL) later in 2015 as part of a settlement agreement in order for the club chairman to continue with the stadium development. But since CDNL was wound up a the High Court on October 22, it is still unclear how Buckingham Group will retrieve its money, if at all.

The report states: “Due to the proposed settlement agreement with CDNL all further claims and investigations outside the joint administrators’ statutory obligations were suspended.

“However following the demise of the settlement agreement these rights might be exercised once the company has been placed into liquidation and position regarding CDNL becomes clearer.”

As the administration has realised no assets, none of the companies claiming to be owed money have been paid so far.

The total cost of the administration was listed at £64,645, but the report goes on to say that fee has not been paid yet because, again, no assets have been realised.

A spokesman for Mr Grossman has been approached for comment.

Editor’s note: For legal reasons, commenting will be enabled on this story on Monday.