Leeds cafe’s fight over ‘missing rent’

Gary Hendrickson, outside Taste cafe in Oakwood, Leeds. Pic: Simon Hulme.
Gary Hendrickson, outside Taste cafe in Oakwood, Leeds. Pic: Simon Hulme.
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A LEEDS entrepreneur fears his businesses may be shut down after being the victim of an alleged fraud.

Gary Hendrickson, owner of Taste café in Chapeltown, told the YEP he is in dispute with landlords Unity Homes and Enterprise after an employee rent collector allegedly pocketed two years of rent, worth £13,000.

Mr Hendrickson claims he paid rent to their employee on their monthly visits – sometimes paying over the set fee to keep him in credit.

But the company, which aims to support black and ethnic minority communities, claims none of the money was received.

Gary, 41, who was born and raised in Chapeltown, said he has been visited by bailiffs and served court summons, despite giving evidence to police in relation to the Unity Homes employee. He said: “It’s scandalous. I’ve now got a county court judgement against my name.

“I have all the paperwork to prove I have paid up – I’m actually in credit by £2,500.

“It’s only a small business that I’ve built up for myself and they could take everything I’ve worked for. Other people could have been duped by this too.”

He added: “My wife’s pregnant with our second child and this has caused arguments and stress we didn’t need.”

Ex-social worker Gary also owns a café in Oakwood and hit the headlines after offering free food for the homeless.

A spokesman for Unity Homes and Enterprise said: “Litigation proceedings prevent us from discussing the member of staff who has since left his position with Unity.”

They added it would be ‘inappropriate’ to comment further due to the ongoing County Court proceedings with Mr Hendrickson.

* If your business has been affected, e-mail yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk.