Liam Collins and David Bone have both been in touch with us about this blog. They want us to take it down. We want the blog to clarify and open up the situation regarding investments with Collins & Bone. Here are some exerpts from what we sent to them this morning:
Dear Liam and David—
1. Just for the record: no promissory note (PN) or 'five-year plan' has been delivered to either of our email addresses. Any other investors who 'understand the situation' and are working with you will now have an opportunity to say so on the Blog.
2. Re-read carefully: the Collins & Bone Investors' Blog contains absolutely no defamation of character; it is a first attempt to clarify what appears to be a web of murky and dubious business affairs. Questions are asked in the blog, but no accusations are made. We merely invite everyone involved to help clear up the mess. The blog will be updated as further items of accurate information come in.
3. Diggs Lettings: it was only Liam's mention of this company that alerted us to its existence. On the 8th November 2011, he wrote us an email, from which we quote as follows:
"The other areas of our family business include Castle & Gateshouse and formerly Diggs lettings but this is now going into administration. Not an issue though as there are no investors in this so this is simply because we are finding lettings to be a huge drain on the resources at present."
This in itself is a rather strange admission from Collins & Bone, whose whole business has been based on the idea that student lettings are profitable and we quote from the Collins & Bone Investors' June 2011 Newsletter:
"The outlook for student and buy-to-let property.
"In the past decade this market has emerged from a niche, to a highly in-demand investment class as investors look to build wealth in a market now underserved ... According to Knight, Frank, student rentals have recorded growth of 5% over the last six years, compared to only 0.6% growth in commercial property. Now is a great time to start investing in this market."
4. Regarding Castle & Gatehouse, we quote from your newsletter to all investors of 18th March 2011:
"Your capital is safe and both David and I have our own homes as collateral to protect your assets as well as 27 other assets and the trading inside our sister company (Castle & Gatehouse) also acts as security with future contracts worth in excess of £3m at present."
"... our own homes ...": Do we surmise correctly that Liam's flat in Shelton Street, Covent Garden is an ex-Council property which was bought as a bargain by his family and is now worth a considerable amount?
5. In trying to explain where the investors' money has gone, you refer to "Queens council advise." Please note that Her Majesty does not have a Council, but there are Queen's Counsels. (She also has prisons of course, where guilty parties may be detained at her pleasure.)
In answer to the question, 'Where has the money gone,' Liam tells us in his email of 16th November:
"It has gone on salaries on overheads which we kept to long in the business, huge set up costs for all of the legal fees to set up 2 funds, one syndicate product, one collateral product, Queens council advise, top FSA advice to make sure what we are doing at all times it legal. Website costs, online maintenance, IT, business infrastructure, marketing, exhibitions, lead generation, Google advertising, PR and many other business costs."
However, please note that this is NOT what we invested in! We invested in a simple idea to buy cheap houses for cash, renovate them to a high standard and rent them out to students. Read that again.
7. If Liam is going to write to anyone at all, shouldn't he be sure to avoid useless bluster, to condense his thoughts and to have his writing checked by a responsible, more literate person? Here's one example as to why: in your latest email, of 16th November, your point 5, paragraph 2, we quote:
"So to conclude. if this blog is not changed with all the points I have made taken into consideration I will continue to take legal action against us and our solicitor says we have an excellent case."
We can hardly disagree with that!
So, as far as we are concerned, the case is quite simple. Pay us back without further delay or admit you can't run a business, go bankrupt, stop dreaming up high-flying schemes and get yourselves useful paid work. Liam should give up those mad ideas about bobsleighing. He could well injure his head, and that certainly would not improve his literary, commercial or intellectual skills.
With all best wishes for a speedy repayment of your debt to us!