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Developer banned over missing Northampton stadium cash

Sixfields stadium   1

The property developer behind the incomplete Northampton Town football stadium redevelopment has been banned from running companies for a decade.

Howard Grossman has been “banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company” by the Insolvency Service after failing to account for millions of pounds in council funding his company was given for the redevelopment of Sixfields Stadium.

Grossman’s company 1st Land received around £6M from Northampton Borough Council via Northampton Town FC to go towards the costs of redeveloping the stadium between December 2013 and July 2014.

In total the council lent £10.25M to the club to redevelop the East Stand of the stadium and nearby land.

But 1st Land went into administration in January 2015 before filing for liquidation in December 2015, and the work was never finished.

Insolvency Service investigators discovered that Grossman failed to ensure that the company maintain adequate accounting records and more than £5.6M worth of payments was unaccounted for.

One of the largest unaccounted for payments is for £2.65M transferred to two separate third parties, with no record of what terms the payments were made for.

Investigators were unable to establish the reason for a payment of approximately £1.5M to Grossman, his family and other connected parties.

Insolvency Service chief investigator Sue MacLeod said: “Howard Grossman, like all directors, had specific duties as a company director but he blatantly disregarded them.

“The company’s insufficiencies when it came to record keeping mean that we are unable to determine the exact nature of payments worth millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, who along with supporters of the football club are the real victims here.

“We have been able to secure a substantial ban for Howard Grossman and if he breaches his disqualification, he risks being sent to prison.”

Last month, former Northampton Town directors Anthony and David Cardoza were ordered to pay back £2.1M to the council after losing a civil case brought against them.

A spokesman for Northampton Town Supporters Trust said: “The conduct of Howard Grossman as a director of 1st Land Ltd has had a lasting and detrimental effect on the town of Northampton, its council taxpayers, the football club and its supporters and we welcome the banning order brought about by the Insolvency Service.” 

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