Graham M. Bradbury, the director of Guardian Self Storage Ltd. in Worcester, England, has been banned from acting as a company director for five years, following an investigation by the British government’s Insolvency Service. Bradbury admitted to selling the contents of 29 self-storage units to a third party for £29,000 in cash, less than a month before Guardian entered voluntary liquidation, according to the agency.
The investigation determined that bailiffs working to recover overdue rent on behalf of the company's landlord had seized assets on Guardian's premises, according to the source. Bradbury told investigators the cash was used to pay wages to subcontract laborers, redundancy, an accountant, the prospective liquidator and solicitors, as well as to repay a loan to an employee, according to an Insolvency Service brief. However, the unit contents that were sold did not belong to Guardian, according to the source, and the distribution of the funds violated the terms of the liquidation because the money was not spread among all creditors.
“The law is very clear; all creditors of an insolvent company should be treated fairly so that each obtains a share of any payout, rather than creditors being cherry-picked,” chief investigator Sue MacLeod said. “Mr. Bradbury had already been in contact with an insolvency practitioner before he sold company assets, yet used that revenue in such a way that some creditors received nothing at all while others were paid in full. The consequence is that he is now disqualified and cannot continue in business, other than at his own risk.”
Bradbury will not be able to act as a company director, nor manage or control a limited company, until May 2019.
Guardian entered liquidation on Oct. 26, 2012, owing creditors a total of £178,626, including £65,000 to the landlord, £27,121 to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and £14,646 to a bank, according to sources.
At the time of the liquidation, news reports said several tenants had been unable to access their items or remove belongings from the facility. Customer Jeanette Weir claims to have lost irreplaceable items, including photographs, gifts and family heirlooms, worth up to £30,000.
“I think a lot more should be done. A lot of people have been affected by it,” Weir told the source. “People have lost everything but received no compensation. The way everything was handled was disgraceful. [Bradbury] should be held personally and financially responsible.”
No criminal charges have been brought against Bradbury in the case.
Guardian Self Storage Ltd. is not related to the U.S.-based operator by the same brand name.