Shareout of £250,000 Leeds WMC sale is small beer EXCLUSIVE

LONG WAIT: From left, Mary Blair, Shirley Norman, partner Brian Jackson, and Teresa McDermott.
LONG WAIT: From left, Mary Blair, Shirley Norman, partner Brian Jackson, and Teresa McDermott.
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Since the sale of a working men’s club for £250,000 in 2007, its 200 members have been keenly awaiting a sizeable windfall.

But the YEP can now reveal the golden handshake for supporters of the North West Ward Working Men’s Liberal Club in Woodhouse – a mutual owned and run by its members – is worth little more than £33.

A cheque for that sum is to be posted out to each of the 220 or so members in the next few days, confirmed liquidator Andrew Bowers of insolvency firm Re10.

The news has come as a surprise to former lifetime member Brian Jackson, from Lovell Park, Leeds, who said he had expected more.

The 52-year-old said: “Our grievance has always been how long everything was taking.

“We knew the longer this dragged on the more we would lose in some cost or other.

“It’s taken five years to get to this point. At the last meeting in November [2010] they’d said there was maybe about £100 or more each.

“Obviously that figure has gone further down in the last year or so. In a way it’s better than nothing.”

In November 2010, members learned that most of the cash from the sale of the clubhouse and land on Woodhouse Lane had been swallowed up clearing the Club’s debts.

A £65,000 mortgage had to be paid back, £121,514 was owed to creditors, and there were ‘trading expenses’ worth £21,000 to clear.

After subtracting a further £7,000 in solicitor’s fees spent on winding up the society there was just £35,500 left in the pot.

But as the months and years drifted by Club members started to get impatient and fear they would receive nothing.

Mr Jackson’s partner Shirley Norman, 48, her mum Mary Blair, 66, and sister Teresa McDermott, 42, all former members, were particularly concerned that solicitor and liquidator fees were eating up any remaining dividend.

Liquidator Mr Bowers, who has finally had the Club put into solvent liquidation after almost 12 months on the case, said he charged a set £6,000 fee.

A delay occurred after he discovered £11,500 in Capital Gains Tax had not been paid on the sale of the Club, he said.

Full details of all costs, including £7,000 paid to the secretary of state, £2,200 spent on official receivers’ costs, £300 banking costs, £900 in disbursements and his own fees, will be sent to every member, he said.

A notice will also go up at TJ’s on Woodhouse Lane in Woodhouse. Any unclaimed payments will go to charity.

Mr Bowers said: “It would have cost me the same for one day or one year’s worth of work.

“I could have done without it really, but I am now ready to pay dividend.”

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