Council sells five-bed Eastbourne home owned by ex-Northampton Town Football Club chairman’s wife as payback of £450,000 from missing £10.25 million loan

High Court order followed ruling David Cardoza used cash to develop £1.3m Chapel Brampton house

Monday, 13th June 2022, 10:52 am

West Northamptonshire Council has banked £460,000 of the missing £10.25million loaned to Northampton Town Football Club ten years ago.

A report to go before the council's cabinet on Tuesday (July 14) revealed a five-bed property in Eastbourne seized from Christina Cardoza, wife of former Cobblers chairman, David Cardoza, has been sold for £765,000.

But council leader Jonathan Nunn admitted: “We certainly won’t be attempting to claim a big victory around this as the appropriate governance should have been in place to ensure it never went missing in the first place.

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The High Court ruled in 2019 Cobblers chairman David Cardoza used loan cash to redevelop the couple's home in Chapel Brampton

"But I can assure people that much better governance and diligence is in place.

“There have also been legal and other costs involved in recovering money, of course. Nevertheless, we hope that people will be glad to know that further public money has recently been recovered.”

High Court judges previously ruled that Cardoza used some of the loan money to develop a house in Golf Lane, Chapel Brampton — dubbed Northamptonshire’s most expensive street — which he then transferred into his wife’s name.

The property was sold for £1.3 million in 2016 but the former Northampton Borough Council was later granted a court order forcing Mrs Cardoza to pay the council £365,975.97 plus interest by June 2021, leading to the property in Eastbourne being taken.

The report confirmed: "Mrs Cardoza failed to make payment by the due date and therefore West Northamptonshire Council prepared for possession proceedings.

"Agreement was reached with Mrs Cardoza to allow her to leave the property on August 10, 2021.

"West Northants Council took possession of the property and as required by the court order, marketed the property for sale in order to meet the existing charge to Barclays Bank and the outstanding debt ordered by the court and interest."

The report reveals the council sold the property for £765,000 and paid back a £300,244.82 mortgage to Barclays Bank, leaving the council with £464,755.18 to offset against the outstanding debt.

A statement added: "WNC will continue to take steps to recover the debt provided that it is economically sensible to do so."

The payment takes the total recovered since West Northamptonshire took over pursuit of the outstanding money from the Borough Council to £750,000, at a cost of around £20,000 in legal fees.

Northampton Borough Council lent a total of £13.5 million to Northampton Town, then owned by Anthony and David Cardoza, to build corporate boxes, conference centre, hotel and gym complex.

But loan repayments stopped when work on the East Stand was halted in October 2014 amid contractors claiming they were owed £2.9 million.

Northampton Borough Council confirmed last year it had spent £2.3 million on its own investigations, although believe claim the true bill to council tax-payers taking into account the missing millions, costs and interest is in excess of £17 million.

An damning independent report last year criticised the borough council leadership over its handling of the loan.

In November 2015, Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Tuckhill looking into claims of bribery, misconduct in public office, fraud and money laundering.

One man pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates’ Court last year charged with making undeclared donations to Northampton South Conservative Association while five others are awaiting trials at Crown Court.

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