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15 years of mental torture, harassment, persecution, intimidation, bullying and blackmail tactics - in the Jefferson House 'concentration camp' - in 'The Kingdom of Make-Believe'

My Diary - 2003

Year two of the horrendous, sheer utter hell nightmare.

The year of:

•  The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal hearings and so-called "determination" from which the impact was a reduction of nearly 70% on the global sum demanded - from £736,206 (US$1.3 million) to £236,000 (US$416,000)

•  Suffering extreme torment and anguish from the actions by West London County Court and Wandsworth County Court, as well as injustice

•  'Suffering appalling treatment from Piper Smith & Basham, solicitors, as well as professional misconduct by Mr Gallagher ('Allegedly' as my complaints have not been upheld by the Law Society and the Bar Council - nor by the Legal Services Ombudsman) (Subsequent note: NO 'allegedly': Gallagher- Summary of events)

•  The 'offer' by Steel Services of £6,350 (US$11,200) + interest (!!) (the initial demand was £14,400) (US$25,400)

•  The battles with the lawyers

•  Harassment and intimidation by Kensington & Chelsea police

•  The continuation of the bullying, intimidation, harassment and blackmail tactics by Andrew Ladsky et. al. and their aides

 

 

 

2 January 2003

On my return from holiday, I find an '"Expert Witness" report, dated 13.12.02 , written by Brian Gale, MRICS, Andrew Ladsky's surveyor, to the London LVT, in which, in effect, he calls me a liar as he claims on page 6 that I have been issued with a detailed costing of the specification. This report was delivered post the 17 Dec 02 deadline, and therefore in breach of the directions set by the LVT. (See Brian Gale and LVT sections)

I also find a letter dated 16.12.02 'from' Joan Hathaway', MRICS, Martin Russell Jones. (Comparing this letter with others sent by Ladsky / 'Steel Services' i.e. 25.01.01 , 02.01.02 and 14.11.01 , I conclude that it has most probably been written by Ladsky).

This letter is a work of fiction , riddled with lies and in which 'Hathaway' in effect calls me a liar.

3 January 2003 - 11h30

I can sense that somebody is in the corridor very close to the door to my flat. When I open the door in order to leave my flat, it is Andrew Ladsky - no doubt trying to listen in.  

He immediately goes down the corridor but, as this does not lead anywhere, he turns back. He ends-up walking barely a metre behind me and, as he is doing this, says, I am going to get you this year" with a lot of venom in his voice.

 

c. 17 January 2003 - 'The tribunal' refuses my request for a postponement

One or two days earlier I had received a reply from the London LVT to my 12.01.03 letter in which I requested a postponement of the 5 Feb 03 hearing. I gave as reason the fact that I "still have not been supplied with the priced specification and cannot therefore instruct an expert witness to determine the reasonableness of the cost of specific remedies and thus determine specific items of dispute for the trial" (i.e. as per the directions set by the LVT).

Please not that in my 18.12.02 letter to the LVT, I had already highlighted the breach of the tribunal's directions by Martin Russell Jones - and consequently my inability to implement actions as per the instructions). The LVT refused my request . (See LVT # 2).

So, in addition to West London County Court ignoring, so far, two letters from me ( 10.12.02 and 17.12.02 ), as well as my Defence, I have the tribunal which also opts to ignore the contents of my correspondence.

It leads me to the conclusion that both the court and the tribunal consider me as a non-entity and that I might as well have been writing in invisible ink. (See below, 'end January')

In the case of the tribunal, I kick myself for my naivety in believing in a claim made by a government department; in this instance, John Prescott's Office given that it covers the LVTs.

Indeed, the LVTs are positioned as a forum for resolving residential leasehold problems "without the need for professional representation" .

That is proving to be definitely not true. I am going to need 'professional representation' - and fast!

It leads me into a frantic search. I do not know where to turn to. I go back to the LEASE site which lists pages of solicitors claiming to be specialist in landlord-tenant disputes. (Several months previously, I had visited the site from which I identified two solicitors I met with. One of them refused to give me an idea of cost saying that this kind of dispute is unpredictable. Equivalent to saying: 'write me a blank cheque').

I take a leap of faith and select a solicitor. From a list of four names that he supplies me with, I end-up selecting a surveyor. Hence, another leap of faith.

Then starts the writing of correspondence to brief the solicitor and surveyor on events to-date, provide clarification, as well as copying of documents. More evenings spent doing this - added to all the other evenings, as well as weekends that this nightmare has so far robbed me off.

 

23 January 2003

I receive a copy of a letter, dated 20.01.03 'from' Joan Hathaway, MRICS, MRJ, to the LVT (following my (above) request for postponement of the 5th February hearing) in which she, in effect, calls me a liar claiming (like Brian Gale did in his 13.12.02 report) that I have been supplied with the priced specification. (See below, 5 Feb 03, for proof that BOTH LIED)

(Subsequent note: Yes, MOST DEFINETELY LIED - e.g. see, in addition to London LVT, Major works)

 

25 January 2003 - c. 12h40

As I had come up the stairs to go out of the building, Andrew David Ladsky was about to get into the lift. On seeing me, he says: "Better luck next time!" followed by a sarcastic laugh.

I conclude he is referring to the forthcoming 5 Feb 03 LVT hearing where he is clearly counting on getting the case closed.

(Subsequent note: I had guessed correctly: in addition to below events, see London Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, and 'its' 'summary of the case' ; Overview # 2)). I told him to 'f*** himself.

Having provoked me, he immediately run to his mates at Chelsea police to file 'a complaint' against me: Police page # 2

(Note that 3 weeks previously, on 3 Jan (above), Ladsky had told me: "I am going to get you this year!")

 

End January 2003 - The 'get lost' from West London County Court

In reply to my two letters (10.12.02 and 17.12.02 ) and my defence in December in which I highlighted that the same action had been referred to the London LVT and consequently requested that the action be stayed (suspended), West London County Court tells me in its 24.01.03 letter that I should ask CKFT whether it agrees to this. Unbelievable! As a Litigant in Person (i.e. not represented), and considering events to date i.e. CKFT's Silverstone letters of 07.10.02 and 21.10.02, I conclude that there is no point my doing this.

I also find it extraordinary that West London County Court does not see that it has a role to perform as a result of being informed of an abuse of process of court - committed by an officer of the court - which is what a solicitor is. (NB: There most definitely is an abuse of process.

Not only have LEASE and another solicitor said this to me, the following two letters provide further proof of this: Lisa McLean's letter of 09.04.03 to my then solicitor and the 12.12.02 letter from one of the leaseholders' solicitors to CKFT). Of course, as with every other government departments I have been in contact with: up to me to sort it out!

 

Not surprisingly, the London LVT refusal (LVT # 2.2) causes me enormous distress, torment and anguish.

What is going to happen next?

How am I going to deal with it... on top of everything else?

And more was about to be added very shortly.

 

30 January 2003 - A "Crime Investigator" at Chelsea police officially records a so-called 'complaint' made against me by Andrew Ladsky

I receive a letter from Neil Watson PC 206BS, Kensington & Chelsea Police , dated 27.01.03, stating:

"The police have been informed by a Mr Andrew Ladsky that you verbally abused him in public over some sort of dispute revolving around your premises.   Indeed, his version of events have been confirmed by a witness....

Of perhaps greater importance is the fact that any further such outbursts may result in charges of harassment being made against you, as this initial complaint has been fully recorded by the police.   I wish to make it clear that my role in this is purely neutral at the moment....".

He warns me that I had better shut up and not challenge 'Dear Mr Ladsky' "or there may be further consequences".   

( NB: Timing is just before the LVT hearing of 5th February 2003)

I laugh on receiving this letter as I visualise the scene: a (short) man, standing in a police station, saying,

"Mr Policeman, a woman swore at me"

(Or was it just a phone call to Kensington and Chelsea police?)

I am most definitely not going to phone him. The 2002 events (Feb-March and May-July) are still very fresh in my mind. I opt to ignore it and to wait and see what the next instalment brings.

(See Kensington & Chelsea police # 2 for detail of events - as well as what it capured - and failed to capture - on the police system in relation to this so-called 'complaint')

 

5 February 2003 - Letter from Lanny Silverstone, CKFT

Letter from Lanny Silverstone , CKFT, dated 04.02.03 , to me stating " .has come to [their] attention from Mr Ladsky, tenant ( !!!) of flat 35. you shouted abusive and foul-mouthed remarks at him . in front of a guest.  

We further understand not first incident of this description. incidents have been reported to police... Mr Ladsky or the police may take action against you ...

your behaviour constitutes breach of covenant... any repetition or further complaint our client will take injunctive steps prior to other proceedings being formalised to restrain you.

To date you have made quite improper and defamatory allegations regarding the probity of our client company and also of Mr Ladsky.

The due process of law is under way to claim the perfectly proper service charges that are due from you".

For Ladsky's racketeering mafia's definition of "proper service charges due from you", see: (i) 21.10.03 'PART 36 offer' ; (ii) My Diary 22 Nov 08: Threat of forfeiture (copy) (and bankruptcy) = FRAUD TOOLS - and contrast that with (iii) the 17.07.02 demand (My Diary 22 Jul 02 , Summer 2002), and (iv) 07.10.02 threat of forfeiture if I did not pay immediately (My Diary 10 Oct 02)

(NB: Ditto in terms of timing: calculated to arrive on the day of the LVT hearing). (Well, Ladsky did say to me on 3 Jan 03 "I am going to get you this year!" )

5 February 2003 - The London tribunal hearing

Before the start of the LVT hearing, my Counsel 'grills' me on previous events with the LVT, showing some irritation. I break down in tears. The stress of the last 12 months is taking its toll. The last thing I need is my Counsel also 'getting at me'. However, on the upside, we determine that, in sending me a copy of 'Steel Services' 07.08.02 application, the LVT had NOT included any of the supporting enclosures (LVT # 3 , # 10.3)

My brother arrives to give me moral support. (Not a blood brother, but a brother in every other way).

When we arrive in the main reception area upstairs, Joan Hathaway, MRICS, Martin Russell Jones is there. My Counsel introduces himself. Then my surveyor and solicitor arrive. This is followed by the arrival of Andrew Ladsky who looks at my party and goes to talk to Hathaway. Until the start of the hearing, Ladsky spends the time on his mobile phone. He looks very animated. (Internally, I have a good laugh. About time!)

Very clearly, he had not expected me to turn up with professional advisers. In fact, considering the atmosphere and eye contacts at the beginning of the hearing, nor have the members of the panel. (Until then, there had not been communication on my behalf from a professional adviser). The beginning of the hearing is decidedly 'frosty' - leading my Counsel to make a remark to the Chair.

At the hearing, Ladsky (who was a member of Steel Services party throughout the hearings) says to the Chair,

" Will Ms Rawé pay the £250,000 (US$441,000) of additional costs that will be incurred as a result of the delay in the start of the works due to hearing?"

The Chair replies that I am perfectly within my rights to challenge the application made by Steel Services.

This is captured in the 17.06.03 LVT/SC/007/120/02 report (ref. #992 on the LVT database) under point 64 "Although she is in the minority, the Respondent's legal right to challenge the Applicant's proposal, as she has done, cannot be fettered"

(NB : Both, Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor and Martin Russell Jones, subsequently accused me of being responsible for the LVT action (Case summary # 1.2). Please note that it is 'Steel Services' - not I - who filed the 07.08.02 application to the LVT.

For example, in the case of CKFT, Silverstone's 25.06.03 letter to me ".without going through the costly LVT process which has now resulted in a percentage uplift in the contract figure and a significant delay in the project" .

Ayesha Salim, CKFT, 'PART 36 offer' of 21.10.03 "Your client's decision to challenge both the LVT decision and to continue to defend these proceedings is her own. Her decision to do so has caused inconvenience and expense to all the lessees of the building"

Please note that it is 'Steel Services' that kept challenging the LVT report, not I - as evidenced by the statement in the 21.10.03 'offer' "our client has once again (NB: !!!) reviewed the revised apportionment dated 24 June 2003" . Note also that if 'Steel Services = Ladsky' was unhappy with the LVT report, the proper channel to follow was to refer it to the Lands Tribunal.

In relation to Martin Russell Jones, see Barrie Martin, FRICS,'s false accusations in his 04.08.04 letter to me - and my reply of 11.08.04 )

As to Hathaway's previous claims (e.g. 'her' 20.01.03 letter to the LVT) that I had been supplied with a copy of the priced specification, initially, she vehemently asserts this claim yet again during the hearing, by saying: "the porter has confirmed that Ms Rawé has looked at them" .   She then contradicts herself in reply to a question from my Counsel, by saying:   "Oh!, there are so many reports in the porter's lodge, he would not know which is which!"

This is captured under point 14 of the 17.06.03 LVT report

"Ms Hathaway (of Martin Russell Jones), on behalf of the Applicant, resisted the application for an adjournment. She maintained that Ms Dit-Rawé had seen the specification... but was unsure as to whether this had been a priced version"

The same damning evidence is found in Brian Gale's 24.02.03 report, under point 2.04:  "the un-priced or priced Specification...has been. freely available for all lessees to view" ).

See also LVT # 2.2 , # 3 ; Brian Gale and Martin Russell Jones for further evidence, namely letters from other leaseholders to Hathaway and the LVT - LVT # 1.4)

When my counsel raised the issue of the missing enclosures during the hearing, the Chair turned to the clerk asking him to confirm this - to which he replied: "Not all the residents were copied on the enclosures"

The outcome was that, while the LVT had denied my 12.01.03 request for an adjournment of the hearing, it was finally granted at the 5 February hearing - as captured under point 16 of the 17.06.03 LVT report: "In the interest of justice, the Tribunal agreed to an adjournment."

"In the interest of justice" (!!!).

Why had there not been 'justice' before?

I attribute this change of position by the LVT to the fact that I was represented.

Why was it necessary for me to spend a very significant part of my life-savings to employ a barrister (and concurrent solicitor) to repeat what I had already said to the LVT on numerous occasions previously?   (See LVT # 3 for more detail)

 

11 February 2003 - I receive another letter from the "Crime Investigator" at Chelsea police

I receive another letter from Neil Watson PC 206BS, "Crime Investigator", Chelsea Police, dated 06.02.03 - again asking me to contact him.

The only communication I am prepared to have with Kensington & Chelsea police is in writing.

I write a reply, dated 11.02.03, in which I ask for very "precise details - in writing - of the accusation against me" and send the letter recorded delivery.  

He ignored my letter. For subsequent events, see police section 2

(NOTE : As detailed previously, in 2002 (in relation to the handling of my complaint by Kensington & Chelsea police), I eventually escalated my complaint to the Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, asking for his assistance in my letter dated 05.05.02 .

After some chasing, I received a reply, dated 11.07.02, in which he wrote, among others "...the police must act only on the basis of established facts" .

Compare this with the 27.01.03 letter from Neil Watson PC 206BS following Ladsky reporting me for "swearing at him"  

" Of perhaps greater importance is the fact that any further such outbursts may result in charges of harassment being made against you, as this initial complaint has been fully recorded by the police."

Very clearly, no concern here about: "acting only on the basis of established facts"

And, obviously, another of the Chair's comment in his 11.07.02 letter that I must ".appreciate that officers have to act with consideration for resource and time expenditure when investigating a case such as this" did not apply in this instance either.

I concluded my 04.08.02 reply to the Chair by stating: ".my dealings with the police in recent months, have led me to totally - and for ever - lose my confidence in the British police" .   The above events in 2003 only served to reinforce my feelings. (And have led me to my current thinking that, if I am attacked, there is no point my contacting Kensington & Chelsea police)

(The 07.08.02 reply from the Chair's Office to my 04.08.02 letter, once again stresses the need for evidence for the police to act)

Additional food for thought: it seems that if Ladsky was 11 years old, I and the other residents would have been able to get an ASBO (Anti-social behaviour order) placed on him.   The attached Daily Mail article of 6 Jun 05 reported such a case "The... order...prohibits (the child)...from harassment that would cause alarm." .

Why is it that landlords and their aides are free to terrorise leaseholders?

(The Evening Standard article of 3 Dec 03 , headed "Left homeless for £25" (US$44) indicates that a leaseholder had a similar experience:

"neither the police nor Hastings borough council will act" )

 

13 March 2003

First day of the substantive hearing at the LVT. I feel very nervous and stressed, partly because of all the recent events, and partly because I have at the back of my mind Mr Ladsky's question to the Chair on 5 February "Will Ms Rawé pay the £250,000 (US$441,000) of additional costs that will be incurred as a result of the delay in the start of the works due to hearing?" .  

I also remember one leaseholder who wrote me in her 1 November 2002 letter

".Mr Ladsky acted like a petty tyrant, and I am not afraid to put on record that I believe that he is capable of any unscrupulous actions in order to achieve his aims" .

I also know what he and 'Steel Services' i.e. him, did to the Head of the Residents Association, the Elderly Resident, Other Residents and Nucleus .

At the hearing, the opening statement from Mr Warwick, Steel Services' Counsel , is that "the reason [I have] been challenging the service charge demand is because I did not want to pay it" . (Although it very clearly was not his meaning), damn right I am not going to pay £14,400 (US$25,400) without justification. (= same vermin as his client). (I repeat my Comments under Persecution (1)(4))

(NB: See LVT # 5.4 for the Ladsky mafia numerous other lies to the tribunal - to which it turned a blind eye)

Prior to the hearing, I had received a copy of Mr Brian Gale 24 February 2003 " Expert Report /Proof of Evidence " to the LVT. Sections 2 and 5 of this report can only be described as 'a pack of lies' .

My 13 March 2003 reply to Mr Brian Gale's section 2 and 5 was handed by my Counsel to the LVT Panel and Steel Services party on 28 April 2003 (third and final day of the LVT substantive hearings). (See Brian Gale for further detail)

And Mr Gale certainly proved to be a liar .

In his 13 December 2002 "Expert Witness" report to the LVT, Mr Gale wrote under Section 4 -1.4

"I am able to categorically state that the Specification makes NO provisions for any construction of an additional floor nor any future requirement in the building to create a penthouse flat"

In fact, when the works started in September 2004, so did the construction of the penthouse flat.

Jefferson House July 2002

 

Jefferson House September 2005

 

See also the February 2002 photographs taken by Mr Gale of the back of Jefferson House at the time he undertook the condition survey in January-February 2002.  

In the summary of his accompanying report in February 2002 he wrote:

"...the roof coverings will need to be replaced and provisions made.to cover any additional works may become apparent."

Evidently, such as the 'incidental' cost of building a penthouse flat and significant works to the flat below. Of course, as Mr Gale wrote in his February 2002 report

"...the roof had exceeded [its] modern life span" and there was ".water ingress" to "some of the properties" , "replacing the asphalt roof" "needed to be dealt with as a matter of urgency" .  

It was so urgent, that the works were started 2.5 years later in September 2004. See Brian Gale section for further detail.

As can be seen in his letter of 19 October 2005, Mr Gale continued to misrepresent the works undertaken to the very end:

"...Mansells, the contractors undertaking the works.have now completed the external redecoration" .  

"The external redecoration" ?

•  How about the construction of the penthouse flat?  

•  How about the conversion of flats resulting in the addition of three other flats?

•  These works resulted in 39 flats v. 35 flats at the start of the works. (For evidence of 35 flats at the start of the works see, for example, point 7 of the 17 June 2003 LVT report).

Mr Brian Gale proved to be a liar, like Ms Hathaway:

•  Her letter to me of 26 March 2002:  "Your suggestion that the appointment of professional advisors is in any way connected with any planning application is incorrect"

•  Her 30 August 2002 letter to me:  "We are informed that there is no intention to build the penthouse at the current time"

•  Her 4 March 2003 letter to Brian Gale (which was supplied as part of the evidence during the tribunal hearings in March-April 2003):

"...regarding the proposed penthouse...although the planning permission was granted it was subsequently found that the scheme was not a viable proposition...there are no plans to build the penthouse at the property"

And their 'dear' client, Mr Andrew Ladsky:

•  In his letter to me (and other leaseholders) dated 25 January 2001: ".the costs of any additional floor on the property will NOT be borne by the residents. All tenants are of course protected by the Landlord and Tenant Acts to ensure those carrying out any works do so reasonably."

(For other examples of their lies see Note to "Major works")

As to how the contractors, Mansell Construction Services and / or Mr Brian Gale, describe what they did to the roof (from the " description of the works " , headed with: Principal Contract: Mansells Construction)

"General repair and refurbishment of the main structure of Jefferson House, 11 Basil St, to include cutting out of spalled and defective brickwork and replacing to match, replacing asphalt roofs , redecoration externally, redecoration of internal common areas, replacement of lift"

Very clearly, Mansell - Mr Gale have a very unique interpretation of "replacing asphalt roof" ! Maybe it's a question of economy with words as they headed this "Brief description of work".

 

18 March 2003

For the second time now, I set-up another 'Keep safe' facility with the post office because my regular postman is going on holiday.

 

24 March 2003

I receive a notice of a Charging Order hearing, dated 21 March 2003, stating that it is due to take place on 4 April 2003 (This amounted to giving me a 7 working day notice. Typical of West London County Court that has consistently demonstrated the most amazing haste in responding to Steel Services i.e. Mr Ladsky et. al's / CKFT's requests for hearings).

I am in a state of shock and panic, as I have absolutely no idea what a Charging Order hearing is. It leads me into a frantic search which includes phoning the Department for Constitutional Affairs i.e. Lord Falconer of Thoroton 's department. The person I speak to says that she does not know the answer. (But she offers to send me a complaint form (!!!))

 

25 and 30 March 2003

I reply to the court on 25 March 2003 highlighting the fact that the LVT had specifically told leaseholders to not pay the service charge demanded until it had reached a decision - and it had therefore been implemented (we were given a leaflet to emphasise the point - see page 5) (LVT # 1.4 ; # 1.5 )

In spite of this letter, West London County Court still persists in telling me, in its 27 March 2003 letter, that the 4 April 2003 Charging Order concerns me "Please note that your request will be considered at the hearing on 4th April 2003"

I leave messages with the solicitor acting for me at the time, and send a fax. He does not return my calls. The next day I receive a letter from him telling me that he is advising me in relation to the LVT - not the court action. Hence, I need to pay £2,000 (US$3,500) in advance to receive advice. In other words, at the time, in order to get a reply to what is a straightforward question for a solicitor. (By then, I had already paid him c. £9,000 (US$15,900) in fees)

 

30 March 2003

At my wits end, on 30 March 2003 , I send a letter to the members of the LVT Panel - on which I copy the District Judge stating, among others:  

"...I requested (once again) that the action be stayed explaining, among others, that: 1. at the LVT pre-trial hearing on 29 October 2002 Mr J.C. Sharma JP FRICS had in effect told the residents to not pay the service charge demanded for the major works until the LVT had reached a decision. [LVT # 1.4 ; # 1.5 ]

How can it be that two government departments - who have been made aware of a conflict as a result of actions they are concurrently undertaking - have no line of communication?"

 

1 April 2003

Minutes away from giving an extra £2,000 (US$3,500) to my solicitor because I cannot determine what a Charging Order is (24 Mar 03, above), through my network of contacts, I am told that a Charging Order implies that a judgement has been entered against me. Has a judgement been entered against me? I reply that I have not received any communication to this effect.

Armed with this information - in particular the 'correct' terminology - I phone West London County court, now for the third time. Having said (at a very slow pace) "there cannot be a charging order against me because there has not been a judgement against me" , at this point I am put through to somebody else who, I believe, is the court manager.

Following my repeating the same thing (again very slowly), I get the reply: "No, the charging order is not against you, it's against other residents".

I went through days of hell, and nearly spent another £2,000 (US$3,500) of my life-savings, to finally be told that the action has nothing to do with me!  

And do I get an apology from the court? Of course not! (And not even following my 29 June 2004 'cry for help' to Lord Falconer of Thoroton. In fact, the 23 August 2004 'reply' from HM Court Service implies that I am a liar! (Falconer # 1)

My follow-up to the court on this is captured in my 1 April 2003 letter. You will see my statement that I attribute events to among, others, mismanagement.

Although denied by Lord Thoroton when challenged on this by the media, there appears to be a widely held perception of gross incompetence and mismanagement of the courts. Indeed, even a judge was reported in 2001 as holding this view ( District Judge used the term "gross incompetence" in relation to administrative staff in a Magistrates Court).

(Subsequent note: In the light of my experience by then, and subsequently (Kangaroo court), I change my attribution of the reasons to: conniving and corruption).

And more was yet to come from the courts. on four other occasions. (See 16 June 2003, 31 March 2004, 28 May 2004 and 12 June 2004)

 

4 April 2003 - A wasted journey to West London County Court that cost me over £700 (US$1,300)

During my conversation with the court manager on 1st April (NB: Events started on 24 March, above), he tells me that although the hearing does not concern me, there may nonetheless be benefit in my attending. Not knowing what to expect, I ask my surveyor to accompany me.  

When we arrive at the court, we are informed that the hearing had been cancelled. A consent order relating to the 7th Defendant, dated 2 April 2003 , had been faxed to the court by CKFT.

Of particular importance: the document states "Judgment against the Seventh Defendant dated 28 January 2003...." THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! SUCH INJUSTICE!

In addition to my surveyor's fees of £600 (US$1,000) , it also cost me half a day of my annual leave.   Added to the other days of my annual leave I had so far been using up - and would need to use (e.g. LVT hearings), I am not going to have much holiday left for the year.

As I am returning to work from West London County Court, when I arrive on the corner of [ ] and [ ], close to the KPMG building, I notice a man standing on the corner of [ ] and [ ]. He is looking at me. Aged in his 30's, he looks like a bouncer. Short dark hair, heavy features . He is wearing a suit.  

I turn left into [ ] and cross to the other side of the street in the direction of [ ]. Before going into [ ], I turn round. The man is still looking at me. I purposely hold his gaze. He turns away and walks in the direction of [ ]. I stay where I am and keep looking at him.   When he is at the height of the post office, on the corner with [ ], he turns round and looks in my direction. I stand there, looking back at him. We stay like that for c. 1 minute, at which point I go into [ ].

Subsequent note: CONCLUSION: What took place since 24th March (above) was a set-up organised by the Andrew David Ladsky mafia - with its devoted corrupt flunkeys in West London County Court only too happy to (continue) providing support to the extortion - hoping to get me to capitulate through a process of attrition.

As to the goon monitoring my return to the office: he was one of many more who have since crawled out of the sewers to do the same thing...and more!

 

Easter break 2003

There is no heating and no hot water for 5 days from Good Friday 18 April 2003 until Wednesday 23 April 2003.   Mr Ladsky is away during that weekend.

There is nothing the residents can do :  

the porter cannot be reached (the 'emergency number' diverts to an answer machine in his cubby-hole);

there is no emergency number for Martin Russell Jones;  

it is impossible to access the boiler - even if residents knew where it is - it is likely to be locked.  

While this event may be a coincidence, I very much doubt it.

May 2003

The difficulty of keeping track of when my regular postman will be away, added to the unreliability of the 'Keep safe' service, leads me to set-up a PO Box.

Doing this requires my needing to go to the sorting office some way down the Kings Road to get my mail. This is very inconvenient, but my only option for ensuring that I get my mail.

Note at 2005 and 2006: At least, that is what I was expecting. In reality, the service has proved to be particularly unreliable leading me to file several complaints, eventually to the CEO - to whom I wrote yet again, in March 2006. (Another example of being 'trapped' as there is no alternative. At least, I now have a 'direct line to the top' to which I report my complaints. Lucky me!)

End of May 2003

I receive a 23 May 2003 application for a Case Management Conference to West London County Court written by Mr Silverstone, CKFT, stating:

"As you are aware we are solicitors for the Claimant. The Claimant has obtained judgment or settled proceedings against all Defendants, except the following". The list states the 1st , 2nd , 5th and 7th Defendant.

But the LVT has NOT issued its determination. (It dated its report 17 June 2003 and I only received it on 22 June 2003) (see this date for further detail)

As there were 11 leaseholders listed on the 29 November 2002 claim, it provides incontrovertible evidence ( "has obtained judgement" ) that West London County Court was instrumental in making seven leaseholders pay before the LVT issued its determination.

Hence, West London County Court totally ignored the fact that leaseholders had very specifically been told by the Tribunal to not pay - until it had issued its determination - and it had been implemented .

For further evidence that it did this, see earlier on my 25 March 2003 letter to the court  in which I had - yet again - brought attention to the ongoing LVT action, as well as reporting - very clearly - that we, the leaseholders, had specifically been told by the LVT to not pay the service charge. (LVT # 1.4 ; # 1.5 )

See also earlier on: (1) its 27 March 2003 reply, insisting that the action concerned me; (2) my 30 March 2003 letter to the LVT Panel - on which I copied the District Judge - and in which I again repeated what we had been told by the LVT; (3) my being finally told, as a result of phoning the court on 1 April 2003 saying

"there cannot be a Charging Order against me because there has not been a judgement against me"

At this point I was told "No, the Charging Order is not against you, it is against other residents" (as captured in my 1 April 2003 letter to the court). (The fact that a Charging Order can only be issued once a judgement has been entered was also confirmed by the Court Service in its 23 August 2004 reply)

(NB: Remember also that between December 2002 and March 2003 I wrote four letters to West London County Court highlighting the LVT proceedings and consequently requested that the action be stayed. I had also referred to the LVT proceedings in my defence to the claim dated 17 December 2002 . As just explained, in two of my letters, 25 March 2003 and 30 March 2003, I had made specific reference to the fact that the LVT had specifically told leaseholders to not pay the service charge demanded)

This is so, so MORALLY WRONG. SUCH INJUSTICE.

Indeed, (jumping the gun here a bit), consider the above events in the context of point 64, on page 15 of the 17 June 2003 LVT report:

"...the Respondent and other tenants (NB !!!) could not be forced to contribute in the case of improvements and/or works not determined as reasonable by the Tribunal..." (See below, 22 June 2003, for further detail)

During the 24 June 2003 hearing, the judge told Mr Lanny Silverstone, CKFT, that he was "wasting my time and the court's time. The LVT report has just been issued. You need to give the Defendants time to review it" (leading the judge to award costs to me (and the other leaseholders present))

Consider the latter part of the judge's comment in light of the above.

Consider also the LVT's 21 July 2003 reply to Mr Silverstone's letter of 17 July 2003

"It is not the duty of the Tribunal to assess the particular contribution payable by any specific tenant but only to determine the reasonableness , or otherwise of the service charges as a whole to go on the service charge account from which no doubt you can assess the proportion for that particular tenant "

Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site: can you see why in the introduction to the site, I stated that there is 'no avenue open to me for justice and redress'?

16 June 2003

I receive a Notice of Hearing from West London County Court dated 12 June 2003. (WLCC # 7) It states that the hearing is due to take place on 24 June 2003. (Again, barely one week notice)

I have not received a copy of the LVT "determination" (as it signed it on 17 June 2003). I consequently see myself as, yet again, being hounded by the court.

In fact, I feel that 'persecuted' is by now a more appropriate description.

17 June 2003

In my 17 June 2003 letter to the District Judge, West London County Court (WLCC # 7), I state, among others:

 

"Why are you asking me to attend a hearing?

Why aren't you instead asking me whether the LVT has reached a decision?

Better still, why are you not communicating with the LVT?

For the second time now your court is causing me untold torment, anguish and distress.  

Why is your court putting me in this situation of needing to get very costly legal advice when in fact I have yet to hear from the LVT?

Why is it that your court is not waiting for this decision?   Until there is a decision from the LVT, what can you enforce?

But maybe I am going through this hell for nothing. Maybe this is a repeat of what happened in March. i.e. has nothing to do with me. Is that the case?"

22 June 2003

I receive the 17 June 2003 LVT/SC/007/120/02 LVT so-called "determination" (ref. #992 on the LVT database). It is a damning report (which endorses my surveyor's assessment of 24 February 2003) but it does not include a summary of the impact of the determination on the global sum demanded.

Hence, the LVT failed to perform its legal remit, under s.19 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (LVT # 4).

(Evidence that this was its remit, is captured under point 1 of its 17 June 2003 report and was also confirmed, for example by the LVT Clerk on his voicemail message to Piper Smith Basham ".the tribunal is looking to determine the reasonableness of the global figure that's attributable to the whole block" - as captured in Ms McLean's 9 April 2002 letter. It is also evidenced by the LVT's 17 July 2003 reply to Mr Silverstone)

(See LVT # 5.2 for my follow-up actions - IN VAIN with the Head of the LVTs: she twice refused my request to have a summary included. See also Mr John Prescott # 1.3 , # 1.4 )

(As an introduction to the next few paragraphs, please note that my surveyor, Mr Brock, LSM Partners, is a Chartered Surveyor, member of the RICS. To which I will add: a highly professional surveyor, with the utmost level of integrity)

Based on my surveyor's assessment (as the LVT, 'conveniently' for Steel Services, failed to provide a 'global' assessment), the outcome of the LVT determination, in relation to the original global sum demanded of £736,206 (US$1.3m) (£564,467 excl. VAT and 11% management fees) is:

•  Amount disallowed by the LVT because improvements: £169,498 (US$299,000) (£129,958 excl. VAT and fees) = 23% of the global sum demanded (point 48, 29 August 2004)

•  Amount for which the LVT could not make a determination due to lack of specification = £188,784 (US$333,000) (£144,745 excl. VAT and fees) = 25.6% of the global sum demanded (point 48, 29 August 2004)

•  A view supported by the LVT (*) , considering the terms of the lease, as well as Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors best practice, that the reserve fund should be used as contribution: £141,977 (US$250,000) - or 19.3% of the global sum demanded (point 48, 29 August 2004 )

Leaving an amount that can be charged of £235,947 (US$416,000) - or 32% of the original sum demanded. In other words: £500,000 (US$882,000) of the sum demanded was NOT considered "reasonable".

My share of this at 1.956% equals £4,615 (US$8,140) (vs. the £14,400 (US$25,400) originally demanded and for which a claim had been filed against me on 29 November 2002 with a Statement of Truth endorsed by Ms Hathaway.

Hence, it provides overwhelming evidence that the original demand was extortionate. A scam!

Without a summary, I foresee that that the battle with Mr Ladsky et. al. is going to continue. (I subsequently asked the Head LVT, to include a summary - as evidenced by my letters of 6 September 2003 and 6 October 2003 . Her initial refusal was in her 12 September 2003 letter, the second in her 26 November 2003 reply.

In between, I received a 6 October 2003 letter from Mr Prescott's Office (on which I had copied my 6 September 2003 letter) stating ".unfortunately, the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal is unable to re-open your case"

(*) In the £500,000 (US$882,000) I have included £141,000 (US$249,000) of contingency fund. My Counsel raised it as an issue during the hearing as Steel Services / Martin Russell Jones had not used it as contribution towards the costs - and were refusing to do so, in spite of, among others, having stated this in the 7 June 2001 letter. (This is captured under point 34 of the LVT determination). (But it subsequently did in my case - see the 21 October 2003 'offer'. I believe this to be because, among others, I had the 7 June 2001 letter from Ms Hathaway)

Although the LVT said to not have the jurisdiction to force Steel Services to use the contingency fund, considering Clause 2(2)(e) of the lease (captured under point 59 of the LVT report), under points 62 the LVT quotes from the RICS Code. (As you can see at the beginning of My Diary - Year 2004, as well as under the RICS section this 'so called' code is a complete and utter joke)

22 June 2003

As I have now received the LVT so-called "determination", on 22 June 2003, I write another letter to District Judge Wright in which I highlight, among others, that, "The judgement remains open to appeal to the Lands Tribunal." (WLCC # 8)

Well, in spite of this, the judge decides to nonetheless hold the hearing on 24 June 2003.

24 June 2003

A combination of costs and time factor (due to West London County Court's 'jumping' at CKFT's requests, as well as crass incompetence) lead me to represent myself at the hearing (WLCC # 8).

It is a scary, intimidating experience.

I have never set foot in a court in my life.

In addition, Mr Lanny Silverstone, CKFT, hands me in the court's waiting area, 10 minutes before seeing the judge , a Draft order and   Case summary , neither of which I have seen before .

I tell him that there is absolutely no way I am going to comment on these given the situation in which the documents are given to me. He mumbles something in agreement but, clearly intends to produce them during the hearing.

With these documents, Mr Silverstone also hands me a schedule of " Major works apportionment, revised" on Martin Russell Jones headed paper. Relative to the amount on the claim, the sum demanded of me (and five other leaseholders) has been reduced by 24.19%. Mr Silverstone does not supply me with any documentation, or indeed explanation, as to how this reduction has been achieved (WLCC # 8).

While we are waiting to see the judge, I also say to Mr Silverstone that I find it absolutely outrageous that the court has been instrumental in making seven leaseholders pay before the LVT had issued its determination (see CKFT 23 May 2003 letter to the court). He replies, "they made a commercial decision" . Yes, the Business model had worked - yet again!)

District Judge Wrightstarts by saying that the court has received "a useful letter" from me. At this point, I give a copy of my 22 June 2003 letter to the court to all those present. She turns to Mr Silverstone and asks him why he has asked for a hearing. Put on the spot, he looks very ill at ease, like a school boy being told off.

She continues, "you must give the residents time to look at the LVT determination" . (NB: How about the other leaseholders who were made to pay BEFORE the LVT issued its report? (as discussed under 'end May 2003')

THIS IS VERY WRONG. While I ended-up being the only leaseholder challenging the application (and none of the other leaseholders have contributed to my £32,000 (US$56,500) LVT costs), it does not alter the fact that the determination applies to the WHOLE block.

Indeed, this is captured under point 64 of the 17 June 2003 LVT/SC/007/120/02 report (ref. #992 on the LVT database) under point 64: ". the Respondent and other tenants (NB !!!) could not be forced to contribute in the case of improvements and / or works not determined as reasonable by the Tribunal")

The judge reprimands Mr Silverstone by saying "You are wasting my time and the court's time" .  

Great, how about my time?

And why is it that no notice was taken of my request to cancel the hearing? (My Diary 16 June 2003 ; 17 June 2003)  

Oh! but of course: who am I relative to a solicitor?

She orders that Steel Services pays my costs for the day (and that of other leaseholders present) - and obviously, refuses Mr Silverstone's demand that I (and the other leaseholders) pay his client's costs for the day. (This was captured in an Order dated 24 June 2003 )

Given these events, I hold the view that the hearing should not have taken place. What Steel Services-CKFT wanted out of the day was the opportunity to put more pressure on me (and the other leaseholders) to pay what it demanded - and the judge obliged (wasting taxpayers' money in the process).

(If you consider the cost of all the court and tribunal hearings connected with landlord-tenant disputes, the leasehold system is costing everybody in the UK a lot of money. (Consider that Steel Services only paid £500 (US$880) to file the 29 November 2002 claim against 11 leaseholders). Money that could be spent on hospitals, increasing 'senior citizens' pensions, caring for children with disabilities, providing homes to the homeless, facilities for the visually impaired, etc, etc.

It is sickening. All to help a minority line their pockets at the expense of the majority)

15 July 2003

I send a letter to the judge at West London County Court, dated 15 July 2003, highlighting the findings from the LVT determination and that Steel Services-Martin Russell Jones have not implemented them (WLCC # 9).  

Sunday 27 July 2003 - Around 13h00

My kitchen window is open indicating that I am in the flat.

Mr Ladsky holds a conversation with some people for c. 15 minutes while leaning against the railing immediately in front of my window.

I view this as harassment and attempt to intimidate.

(NB: I reported this (and the 27 August 2003 event) in my 28 August 2003 letter to Ms Lisa McLean , Piper Smith Basham, by then, my newly appointed solicitors. In her 1 September 2003 letter she wrote that she had "noted my comments about Mr Ladsky" .  

While in her 4 September 2003 letter she wrote "The references to Mr Ladsky are, I feel, a separate issue. If his actions (and of course it would have to be proved that they were his or his agents actions) amount to harassment and intimidation then you could consider injunctive proceedings. These would be entirely separate and as you can imagine not inexpensive. The matters you refer to are not sufficient (unfortunately) to justify an injunction being brought" .

While Ms McLean did not ask me whether other incidents had occurred, on 19 August 2003 I had supplied her with, among others, a copy of the 4 February 2003 letter to me from Mr Lanny Silverstone, CKFT, containing false accusations, as well as the fact that Mr Ladsky had reported me to Kensington & Chelsea police.

It is worth noting that I encountered the same kind of attitude from Mr Gallagher, counsel, when I reported, at the 28 October 2003 meeting with him, that I had suffered on-going harassment and intimidation, as well as assault from the time I challenged the true nature of the works.

Commenting on this under point 29(14) of his 9 June 2004 reply to my complaint, Mr Gallagher wrote

"Though I was virtually certain that NKDR did not have a viable claim against the landlord"  

This comment (among others) led me to write a 7-page reply in my 29 August 2004 response (under points 106 - 117) highlighting all the instances of harassment and intimidation I and other residents, as well as our local Citizen Advice Bureau had suffered.

Evidently not expecting that I had this comprehensive amount of evidence against Mr Ladsky, in his 11 October 2004 reply, under point 4(7) Mr Gallagher wrote "the allegations of harassment by Mr Ladsky and Mr Ladsky's complaint to the police etc - these are not matters that appear to relate to the allegations against me and were not matters discussed in conference, save for a very summary overview"

Funny how Mr Gallagher initially had an opinion that I " did not have a viable claim against the landlord" and then changed tack claiming that it was only briefly discussed. As I wrote under point 22 of my 31 October 2004 reply, "Mr Gallagher is underplaying my reply to his point 29 (14)"

9 August 2003

I write another letter to the judge in West London County Court, dated 9 August 2003 (WLCC # 10) - stating, among others:

"There are no side deals to be made with the Claimant . costs must be totally clear and transparent - to ALL lessees . What each lessee is required to pay is clearly defined by means of a fixed percentage (see the attached list of percentage for each of the 35 flats supplied by SSL-Martin Russell Jones in their 7 August 2002 application to the LVT"

Nowhere does the lease state that the share of the service charges payable by individual lessees is dependent on:

(1)Their amount of 'backbone' and courage to challenge a demand for money they do not owe

(2) Their resistance to prolonged harassment and intimidation

(3) Their determination to persist in the face of adversity and their ability to handle the resulting torment, anguish and distress"

In between CKFT's application for a hearing on 26 August 2003 and the 24 June 2003 hearing, it had sent me three letters ( 25 June 2003 , 24 July 2003 and 7 August 2003 ) in which it used what can only be described as bullying, blackmail and intimidation tactics in an attempt to force me to strike a deal. (No, I am not going to write 'allegedly'. I believe the evidence speaks for itself)

As can be seen under Mr Gallagher , he held the view that the fact I did not want to 'strike a deal' with Steel Services was one of the factors that worked against me

"consider the fact that NKDR had not accepted previous invitations to attend discussions on settlement in the light of the LVT determination" (point 66, 9 June 2004 ); [I] "expressly rejected CKFT's offers of a round table." (point 15, 9 June 2004 )

In other words, Mr Gallagher held against me the fact I have strong moral principles that prevented me from being treated differently from the other leaseholders i.e. striking a deal on terms other than those specified in my lease.

As you would expect, my lease (Clause 2(2)(c)(i) of) makes it abundantly clear that there is a set and equitable manner for the allocation of the service charges among the leaseholders. (Other evidence includes:

(1) Ms Hathaway's 30 August 2002 letter to me "The amount demanded is as the terms of the lease. There is no separate list. Details of the percentages are included in the schedules to previous accounts.   The sum demanded is based on the percentage of your lease, which is 1.956%..."

(2) These percentages were supplied by Steel Services-Martin Russell Jones with the 7 August 2002 application to the LVT. They are also clearly evidenced, among others by the documents supplied to the court by CKFT, for the 24 June 2003 hearing and the 26 August 2003 hearing.

(3) The LVT's 21 July 2003 reply to Mr Silverstone, CKFT, letter of 17 July 2003   ".duty of the Tribunal.. to determine the reasonableness, or otherwise of the service charges as a whole to go on the service charge account from which no doubt you can assess the proportion for that particular tenant " .

This clearly demonstrates that the LVT views the calculation of the service charges payable by individual lessees as being based on a fixed global sum to which the relevant fixed percentage share is applied - as the norm/ understands the terms of the lease as such - which indeed it is.

Mr Gallagher knew full well from the 28 October 2003 meeting with my surveyor, as well as documents he had been provided with, that Steel Services had not implemented the LVT determination. Hence, Mr Gallagher held against me the fact I had obeyed the instructions given to me by the tribunal at the 29 October 2002 pre-trial hearing to not pay the service charge demanded until it had issued its determination and it had therefore been implemented).

Yet again, in my 9 August 2003 letter to the judge, I emphasise the findings from the LVT determination - and the fact they have not been implemented.

16 - 19 August 2003

I write a letter I send to all the major newspapers (e.g. The Guardian), as well as Newsnight (BBC2), the BBC Radio 4 programmes 'You and Yours' and 'Face the facts', Private Eye, etc.  

A dozen letters in total. Every time I supply a substantial number of enclosures in support of my claim.

Two or three show some initial interest but, in the end, only one, the Sunday Telegraph, pursues the story in its 19 October 2003 issue, heading it "My property nightmare - Extortionate service charges" . Generally, it seems to me that the majority of journalists want 'easy stories', those that do not require time to understand and can be encapsulated into little bite size.

Landlord-tenant disputes do not fall into this category as, while the root cause which seems to me to be pretty consistent across the board is very straightforward to understand: ' rip-off ', the details of the case can be voluminous and consequently appear to be complex. Only an investigative journalist of the calibre of Anthea Messy who wrote the Sunday Telegraph article, has the competence to treat this kind of story (very clearly, she invested the time to ensure she understood the details of the case).

In addition to the 'multi-event' nature of landlord-tenant disputes which require time to understand, I suggest that conflict of interest is likely to be another factor that prevents reporting of cases such as mine in some media. Newspapers that generate significant advertising revenues from property developers are, I venture, less likely to run stories that risk killing the 'golden goose'. Likewise with newspapers that generate significant revenue from legal appointments ads by the private and government sector, etc.

Furthermore, for some media I am guessing that there are probably concerns that an attack on the leasehold system amounts to, in effect, attacking the very core of the British establishment given the profile of the biggest freehold owners in the U.K. - and they do not want to find themselves in a 'difficult situation' for the sake of highlighting the terrible misery suffered by 'nobodies' such as myself. However, to be fair, some of the more 'enlightened' press does occasionally write quite critical (and justly so) articles on leasehold-related matters.

With every letter I send to the media, I also copy several ministers - including the Prime Minister. (In my introduction to the site I state that "nobody can plead ignorance' of my case, nor of my views". You see what I mean).

It seems that the various departments forward my letter to Mr John Prescott's Office. It includes, for example, my letter to the Home Office as evidenced by the 27 August 2003 reply. (Note that in my letter I refer to events with Kensington & Chelsea police. Evidently, the Home Office does not consider that this matter comes into its court. Interesting!).

 

The several "get lost" letters I receive in reply from government departments, includes one from 10 Downing Street, dated 21 August 2003

26 August 2003 - The farsical West London County Court 'hearing' (WLCC # 11)

A hearing takes on 26 August 2003 following a 6 August 2003 application, signed by Ms Ayesha Salim, CKFT - under a Statement of Truth - "We CKFT intend to apply for an Order that (1) There be Judgement for the Claimant against the Second Defendant and Fifth Defendant...(2) The Defendants do pay the Claimant's costs of those proceedings - Because The Claimant believes that the Second (and Fifth) Defendants have no real prospects of successfully defending the Claim and the Claimant knows of no other compelling reason why the case should be disposed of at Trial"

It also states that "Following the decision on 24th June 2003, MRJ issued a revised Major Work Apportionment setting out the revised estimate for the works and calculation of the percentages due from each of the tenants"

This is not true as, among others, the documents include a " Major works apportionment 24th June 2002 revised " issued by Martin Russell Jones. Compared to the version issued for the 24 June 2003 hearing, this one lists all the flats.

In each instance, the sum demanded has been revised down by 24.19% i.e. the same amount as for the 24 June 2003 hearing (a document which had been handed to me by Mr Silverstone, CKFT, at the 24 June 2003 hearing - with no supporting evidence). The only difference is that in this instance the document covers the 35 flats (which was the total number of flats at the time).

Consequently, given the blatantly obvious (supported by my surveyor's assessment of 31 July 2003) that the LVT determination had not been reflected in the document produced for the 24 June 2003 hearing (and, in any case, a Section 20 Notice had not been issued following the determination), it follows that what Ms Salim's claim - under a Statement of Truth - IS NOT TRUE.

(And it is not the only false claim made by Ms Salim - under a Statement of Truth - in her 6 August 2003 application to the court - see CKFT # 6.6)

The judge did not challenge Ms Salim on the claims contained in the 6 August 2003 application.

This is in spite of my 22 June 2003 , 15 July 2003 and 9 August 2003 letters in which I related the main points of the LVT determination - and to the latter, attached, among others, a copy of my 31 July 2003 surveyor's assessment of the LVT determination - which clearly demonstrates that the LVT determination has not been implemented.

In other words: I might as well have been writing in invisible ink.

As I had found the 24 June 2003 hearing experience quite harrowing due to my lack of knowledge and experience, for this hearing, I opted to appoint Piper Smith Basham to represent me.

In my 21 August 2003 letter to Ms McLean (PSB # 2), I had made it very clear that I was not prepared to 'strike a deal' with Mr Ladsky et. al.

" About CKFT's offer "to discuss" with them i.e. try to strike a deal.   I am not prepared to do this. This would be a very unwise move as it would allow them to get away with the need to redraw the specification, thereby leaving me exposed to further demands at a later stage which, I can guarantee, would be made (letters from MRJ of 26 March 2002 and 15 July 2002 ).

I also added " By forcing them to do this, it will put a line under the costs i.e. they will not have any comeback and, if they do come back, I will be in a much better position to challenge them. Last but not least, I am also hoping that by doing this they will give up on the block as I am taking away their opportunity to illegally charge works to the residents " (How naïve of me! This scam had been in the making for years)

 Prior to seeing the judge, a conversation took place between Ms McLean, counsel and Ms Salim (I did not join this conversation).  

Given my position, it resulted in 'an understanding' to get me to pay the costs I had recognised in my 9 August 2003 letter to the court. (NB: Although note that the demand was in breach of the terms of my lease).

During the meeting with the judge, Ms Salim's explanation for the fact that her application referred to the full amount when, in fact, now, the sum proposed was less than what she claimed in her application, she replied: "it was a clerical error" . And this was accepted by the judge without the blink of an eyelid.  

At the hearing, I agreed to pay the sum of £2,255 (US$4,000) (26 August 2003 order). Yet, I did not owe a single penny because the demand was not compliant with the terms of my lease as it was not supported by certified accounts - as I had stated in my defence to the claim. In addition, it was in breach of statutory requirements defined under sections 20 and 21 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985.

Indeed, not only was the 15 July 2002 demand not a Section 20 Notice, following the LVT report Steel Services-Martin Russell Jones has not issued a Section 20 Notice .

 

What prompted me to agree to this payment were:

(1) the realisation that fair and just treatment of the case was evidently not on West London County Court's agenda - and that the dice were, in my view, heavily loaded in favour of Steel Services;

(2) I had been told by my solicitor and barrister 'acting for me' on the day that, if I did not make a payment, it would be likely to be held against me. I believed them.

Yet, this very action was highlighted by Mr Gallagher as a factor that worked against me "consider the fact that. summary judgement had already been entered on part of the claim" (point 66, 9 June 2004 )

 

27 August 2003 - 22h45

As I return from work at 22h45 and I am about 30 metres from the main door to the block, I pass Mr Ladsky on the pavement. He is accompanied by a blond woman. As I go by, he says to me: "Loser! "  

(I assume he told his companion that he had won the previous day in court (26 Aug 03, above). It can be argued that he did, but lost on getting his costs. A token of justice for me!).

 

31 August 2003 - Around 22h45

Somebody makes very loud, thumping noises with their feet in the entrance corridor. The level of noise is such that it is clearly intentional. The lift is activated for a long time.

I can only conclude that it is Mr Ladsky. Why would anybody else do this? In addition, he knew from my 9 August letter to the Court (WLCC # 10) that I can hear if noise is made in the entrance corridor.

 

4 September 2003

As explained, in my 21 August 2003 letter to Ms McLean, Piper Smith Basham (PSB # 2), I had made it very clear that I was not prepared to 'strike a deal' with Mr Ladsky et. al. Well, as can be seen in her 4 September 2003 letter, she and CKFT were not giving up on the idea:

"Incidentally (NB !!!) , I took a call from CKFT today and, in view of the costs being incurred by both sides they asked whether we would be amenable to any deals (NB !!!)

I said that I had noted that you had previously refused to deal with them but in the event that they wished to make an offer (NB !!!) I was, as they well know, obliged to put it to you (NB !!!)

They intimated that they will make a Part 36 offer (NB !!!) The relevance of this is that if they make an offer which is rejected and, following trial the judge makes a determination that is no better than the offer that they had made then you will have to pay their costs from the time the part 36 offer had been made up until the trial"   (NB Please note the threat)

Note the "incidentally" . This made it the second time in the space of three days that Ms McLean was trying to push me into making a deal with Mr Ladsky et. al.

I reply as follows on 9 September 2003

"I maintain what I said: the situation is the result of Steel Services/Mr Ladsky and MRJ's doing - not mine (nor indeed that of the other residents).my position has remained unchanged:   'No' as this does not achieve my objectives "

As the below events in October - December 2003 show, the machinery would go into full gear with the aim of getting me to 'strike a deal'

September 2003 - My 20C application to the London LVT (LVT # 5)

During September, I go through hell with Ms McLean and Mr Twyman, Piper Smith Basham, as I battle with them in relation to my 20C Application to the LVT (to stop Steel Services from putting its LVT related costs on the service charges). My reasons for wanting to go through with it are captured, for example, in my 19 September 2003 and 23 September 2003 faxes to Ms McLean.

Ms McLean and Mr Twyman claim that I cannot make a 20C Order Application for the whole block.

They both emphasise this most strongly at a meeting I have at their office on 22 September. I argue that their advice is incorrect given that my previous solicitor had, on 7 April 2003, informed the LVT of my intention to file an application - an action confirmed by my Counsel at the 28 April 2003 LVT hearing. (Ms McLean attended this last day of the hearing on behalf of another/other leaseholder/s Piper Smith Basham was acting for at the time).

 

 

I am in a dreadful state and break down in tears .

As I explained in my 19 September 2003 fax, I envisage leaseholders knocking on my door when they see LVT related costs in the accounts for the block.

(Although not related, I particularly remember Mr Ladsky's question to the Chair at the 5 February 2003 LVT hearing: "Will Ms Rawé pay the £250,000 (US$441,000) of additional costs that will be incurred as a result of the delay in the start of the works due to hearing?" )

I imagine that I am going to be ruined. This leads from tears to sobbing as I contemplate what I will do then.

I no longer trust Piper Smith Basham, especially as I subsequently remember the fact that before I became a client, Ms McLean had written to my then solicitors on 23 June 2003

"Are you able to confirm whether or not your client. will be proceeding with her application under section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. We note your client's views previously but we simply wish to know whether or not your client is making the application" .  

Not doubt here: HER application. Very clearly, she did not ask out of concern for my welfare.

As I wrote to the Law Society's caseworker in my 17 June 2004 reply (under points 20 - 30) (in the context of my 16 March 2004) complaint against PSB:

"Isn't this extraordinary? When Piper Smith & Basham is advising 2 other residents they hold the view that I can - by myself - make a 20C Order application for the whole block. However, when I become a client, they change their view in the totally opposite direction by saying that I cannot - on my own - make an application that will apply to the whole block - and, in the process, do their absolute damnest to ensure I do not proceed with my application. This begs the question:   WHY? "

I contact LEASE who confirm my view and point me to the Lands Tribunal case' Langford Court v Doren Limited in support of this.

(See Piper Smith Basham # 7.18 , as well as CKFT and Martin Russell Jones # 43 for further detail)

Sunday 26 October 2003 - At 19h30

A friend of mine and I leave my flat to go to a shop on Brompton Road. As we are walking along the back of Harrods, I feel somebody walking very closely behind us. I confirm this by looking in the Harrods windows. It is a man. He is c. 4 metres behind us.  

After walking down c. 20 metres into Walton St , by the church, I turn round and see the man who is Caucasian, c.1.70m, late 20s-early 30s, wavy hair, strong, middle-eastern nose. It seems to me that he might be of Jewish origin. He is barely 4m behind us. When I turn round he stops and pretends to look (in an admiring way) at the building closest to him - which is the church. (It is night time!).  

I tell my friend that the man is following us.

My friend does not share my view. I tell him okay, let's put it to the test.

We cross the road. The man immediately follows us.   We walk about 5 metres then cross the road again and look at him.  

He is looking at us with an expression of surprise on his face.

We cross Pont Street and continue on Walton St . We then cross the street again to go into Ovington Square. I know there is a deep recess on the southwest side of Ovington Square where we hide in the shadow.  

We wait c. 45 seconds. This leads my friend to say, "See, I told you. He is not following us" . I reply that we should wait a little bit longer. I barely finish saying this when the man walks by without seeing us.   We let him walk for about 15 metres then start walking quietly behind him.  

It is clear that he thinks we have gone up the square using the other side as, when he gets to the top of the square and he does not see us, he turns round. On seeing us, he crosses over to the other side of the street.  

As by then we have reached his height, my friend says to him "Good evening. Alright then, yes?"   The man becomes clearly embarrassed and disorientated, not knowing what to do. He walks back down the square, using the way he had come. My friend agrees with me: the man had definitely been following us.   Thank you I say. It is not the first time this has happened, and I know I am not imagining it.

22 October 2003

Ms McLean informs me that CKFT has faxed a " Part 36 Offer " the previous day. This 'offer' is for £6,350 (US$11,200) + interest (!!!). (The original demand was £14,400) (US$25,400).

Aside from the audacity of asking for payment of interest, this 'offer', written by Ms Ayesha Salim, starts with "Our client maintains that as a result of the LVT decision dated 17 June 2003, it is entitled to payment from your client of the sum of £10,917.27" (US$19,250). Which is totally untrue.

Among others, she also blames me for the LVT proceedings ".and to continue to defend these proceedings is her own. Her decision to do so has caused inconvenience and expense to all the lessees of the building..." . (As captured under point 64 of the 17 June 2003 LVT report, "Although she is in the minority, the Respondent's legal right to challenge the Applicant's proposal, as she has done, cannot be fettered" )

21 October 2003 was the date set by West London County Court in 26 August 2003 directions for the exchange of witness statements. The witness statements HAD to be in court by 16h00. Ms Salim faxed the offer at 17h43, hence nearly two hours later - and there was no witness statement.

I hold the view that the trigger for the offer is that, from liaising with Piper Smith Basham, CKFT and its client realised that I was prepared to go to trial over this action: I had written a Witness Statement and was appointing a barrister. The last thing they wanted to do was proceed to trial.

Why am I of the opinion that Mr Ladsky et. al. wanted to avoid proceeding to trial?

In my view, because a trial results in an official record of evidence available in the public domain - unlike when the leaseholder accepts / is made to accept 'an offer' which allows the rogue landlord and his equally rogue aides to come out 'smelling of roses' (and with their coffers substantially fuller than they should be).

Furthermore, I suggest that this consideration is even more important in the case of a defendant like me who has an overwhelming body of evidence against the landlord and his aides.

As evidenced by Ms McLean's letter of 4 September 2003 , this had been the intention all along (i.e. from the very beginning of my relationship with Piper Smith Basham)

" Incidentally (NB !!!) , I took a call from CKFT today .but in the event that they wished to make an offer (NB !!!) I was, as they well know, obliged to put it to you (NB !!!) They intimated that they will make a Part 36 offer (NB !!!)

28 October 2003

A meeting takes place with Mr Stan Gallagher (the Counsel 'I' selected), Ms McLean and Mr Brock, my surveyor, to discuss the reply to Steel Services' 'offer' of 21 October 2003 .

I feel there is a palpable lack of support for my case from Ms McLean and Mr Gallagher .

Ms McLean spends a substantial part of the time focusing on the negatives - placing strong emphasis on potential threats - instead of ensuring that I receive a balanced view. (As I captured under point 18 of my 16 March 2004 complaint against Piper Smith Basham)

It feels to me as though they are both overlooking the circumstances of my case . In an attempt to summon support, I emphasise that I have ended up in this situation through no fault of my own. All that I did was dare to ask the question

"You want £14,400 from me, what are you going to spend it on?"

I add that we are in the year 2003, not medieval times. Yet, not only am I put in this situation because I have dared to ask the question, I have also, as a result, suffered extensive harassment and intimidation, as well as assault, resulting in my being constantly in fear for my life. I add that, among others, this is a breach of my Human Rights. (Some of my comments were captured by Ms McLean in her 28 October 2003 attendance memo)

They are not considering my lease.

In a landlord-tenant dispute of this nature, it is paramount to look at the terms of the lease. (Consider that both claim to be specialist in landlord-tenant disputes).

It amounts to a continuation of my experience with Ms McLean as she previously ignored three requests from me to consider the terms of my lease (my letters of 3 September 2003 , 9 September 2003 and 21 September 2003 )

( NB: The issue about Piper Smith Basham not considering my lease is captured under points 23 - 27 of my 16 March 2004 complaint. It is worth noting that the Law Society did not pick-up on the reply from Mr Skuse, Piper Smith Basham , in his 1 July 2004 letter

"There is certainly no evidence on our file to suggest that this was a regularly raised topic" (!!!)

In particular, asking Piper Smith Basham why it (1) expects clients to identify the issues; (2) expects them to do this repeatedly; (3) and still not take action. I replied to this under point 12 in my 30 November 2004 correspondence to the Law Society caseworker)

In the process of forcing Mr Gallagher and Ms McLean to consider my lease, I take from my file a copy of the 21 September 2003 letter I sent to Ms McLean, from which I read some of the extracts.

I feel they are both uneasy at my bringing this up. Instead of considering, what I view as the relevant points, Mr Gallagher launches into a discussion on the rateable value and the arbitration clause.

He then dismisses both points as not worth pursuing (as evidenced in Ms McLean's attendance note of 28 October 2003 ).

Yet, 50% of the 13 November 2003 reply to the 'offer' he drafted relates to the clause on the rateable value. It barely touches on the real issue as the only comment he included in relation to my lease is "The absence of due compliance with the service charge certification provisions prescribed by the lease" ).

(This is captured, among others, under points 2.1, 26 - 33 and 64 of my 5 April 2004 complaint against Mr Gallagher, and under point 19 of my 25 March 2005 reply to the Bar Council. In these documents, I have described what Mr Gallagher wrote as 'unobjectionable padding'). (I communicated the issue to Ms McLean e.g. in my 26 November 2003 letter)

As to the 17 June 2003 LVT/SC/007/120/02 determination (ref. #992 on the LVT database), although a significant part of the time is spent discussing my surveyor's assessment of the ' offer ', I also feel that insufficient weight is given to the LVT determination .

It is a very damning report:   the impact was to reduce the sum demanded by nearly 70% from £736,000 (US$1.3m) to £235,947 (US$416,000). In other words, £500,000 (US$882,000) of the sum demanded was not considered as "reasonable". (See 22 June 2003 for further detail). Surely, it should be held most strongly against Steel Services.

How much more damning evidence is required?

This also amounts to a continuation of the battle I have been having with Ms McLean. Indeed, from the time I appointed Piper Smith Basham, I have been emphasising / explaining / pointing out to Ms McLean the issue / implications of the LVT determination at least 8 times (e.g. my letters of 21 August 2003 , 28 August 2003 , 3 September 2003 , 12 October 2003 ).

Eventually, in her 3 October 2003 letter, Ms McLean wrote:

"We had also discussed CKFT to prepare proper specification so that the items that were insufficient could be properly detailed."

This was a follow-up to my wanting to contact the LVT to ask for a summary of its determination (see LVT section for further detail).

Ms McLean also wrote "I accept that you had asked repeatedly for the specification. Where does this point take us now?"

It must also be noted that Ms McLean had attended the last day of the LVT hearing on 28 April 2003 ; had a copy of the 17 June 2003 LVT report and of my surveyor's assessment , as well as my letters to the court ( 15 July 2003 , 9 August 2003 ).

Furthermore, in her 23 June 2003 letter to my then solicitors she wrote

"There would seem to be a fairly substantial reduction in the sums claimed by the applicant." .

While in her 9 April 2003 letter, also to my then solicitors - (which was therefore before the LVT had issued its determination), she wrote,

"...we have spoken to a surveyor whom we had instructed. His preliminary view is that the service charges seem high."

Contrast the above with what Ms McLean wrote in her 28 October 2003 attendance note:

" ...they had sent her a demand for £14,400 which it now seemed was an incorrect figure."

(I remarked on the "seemed" in my 30 October 2003 letter Ms McLean - and also captured this in my complaint)

(Likewise, the Law Society caseworker opted to ignore this point in my complaint. In my 6 June 2004 reply to her 2 June 2004 letter I wrote, "... you have omitted.the findings contained in the 17 June 2003 report by the LVT which were persistently ignored by Ms McLean and Mr Twyman over a period of 4 months - during which time I emphasised / explained / pointed out the issue to them at least 8 times" .

The caseworker replied in her 8 June 2004 email: " I note the amendments you have suggested.   For the time being, I have not discussed these with the solicitors, but will do so at a later stage, if necessary" . As I highlighted under points 38 and 103 of my 30 November 2004 reply, she never raised this .)

During the meeting, I also feel under quite a lot of pressure to not argue and 'get it over and done with'.  

On two occasions, Ms McLean repeats what she has already told me 2-3 times previously:   "If you go to a hearing and the Court decides that the amount you have to pay is just £1.00 more than the offer, then you will have to pay for Steel Services costs" (e.g. her 23 October 2003 letter

As on these previous occasions, I reply that, because of the lack/insufficient specification identified by the Tribunal, it cannot be determined what, if any of this amount is actually due by leaseholders. Consequently, if the Tribunal could not determine the reasonableness of the sum demanded for these items, how could the Court rule that I owe even £1.00 more?

In my view, the reply ought to be handled differently but both my lack of experience of this type of situations, as well as lack of knowledge of legal matters (not to mention the obvious opposition I am facing) prevent me from challenging the discussion.

Yet, my gut feel is that I am right. My lease may be 'heavy going' in places, but it does not require a PhD to understand it - and certainly not the sections that are, in my view, of particular relevance. In addition, in relation to the LVT determination, not only are the findings clear, there is also the assessment from my surveyor. Likewise, I have the mental ability to understand the requirements stated under Section 20 of the L&T Act 1985. It is not rocket science.

I need to get another opinion but, who to turn to?  

The difficulty is finding another solicitor who not only specialises in this area but, of paramount importance, that I can trust.

There is also the issue that a lot has already taken place on my case. The stage I am at, it is unlikely that another solicitor will be willing to step in.

If I do find one, I am going to have to explain my case from scratch. It means that I am going to have to take more time off work (preparing file, etc). It is going to be difficult as I have a lot going on at work. Last, but not least, the solicitor's learning curve is going to be very costly. By now, I have already spent over £45,000 (US$79,500) of my life savings (£32,000 (US$56,400) of this related to the LVT hearings)

Ms McLean is evidently aware of the dilemma I am facing as, during the meeting, when I say that I am going to consult another solicitor, she says to Mr Gallagher, "so much has happened on this case" .   In other words, she is not too worried about my going somewhere else.

As you will see below from other events, Ms McLean and Mr Twyman tried to - ' allegedly ' - capitalise on my situation.

You will see that they are not averse to resort to psychological tactics, more precisely, bullying and intimidation to achieve their objectives. (I compiled what I view as a dozen examples of the use of these tactics under points 2 - 19 in my 17 June 2004 letter to the Law Society). (My ' alleged accusations ' as the Law Society does not share my view).

(Subsequent note: NO 'allegedly' as McLean, Twyman and Gallagher were in fact batting for Ladsky - see Gallagher-Summary of events)

While it is highly unlikely that I will find another solicitor to take on my case at this stage, I decide that it still does not stop me getting another opinion on specific areas. In the meantime, I also do some desk research in order to get a better, more balanced - and more accurate - assessment of my position.

 

1 November 2003 - C.A.R.L. AGM

There is an AGM for C.A.R.L. (Campaign for the Abolition of Residential Leasehold) and the Chair has given me a 15-minute slot to talk about my case. Two other people will also talk after me about their case.

About 60 people have turned up. The first speaker is Kevin Cahill. He has undertaken a major research project on land ownership in the UK, and published his findings in a book entitled 'Who owns Britain?'

The most shocking of his key findings is that, currently, 0.6 per cent of the British people own 69 per cent of the land - and they are mostly the same families who owned it at the beginning of the 19th century. However, apparently, ownership of c. half the country is not registered ("Who owns Britain? Biggest landowners agree to reveal large scale of holdings", The Independent, 9 Apr 07)

In one of the numerous press articles written following the publication of the book, a journalist wrote:

"Why does the Queen and eight of her immediate family need one-quarter of the land available.?"

"Why do 189,000 people own 88 per cent of the land, receive £4 billion [US$7 billion] a year in subsidy, yet pay no tax?" (Related article - "Plots of money - Why are the richest landowners beneficiaries of huge public subsidies? asks Kevin Cahill", The Guardian , 20 Aug 03)

(Subsequent notes:

See C.A.R.L.'s newsletter, The Leaseholder, (1) Spring 2003 -Issue 9 for a reproductioon of the Daily Mail article "Isn't it time to overturn this unfair law?" ; (2) Autumn 2005-Issue 15 "Land reform long overdue" ; (3) Member's 'Letter to the Editor', Spring 2008-Issue 23.

  • 28 Apr 12, Evening Standard article - "Wealthiest share £414bn fortune", reported that "the Duke of Westminster's central London property empire worth an estimated £7.35bn")

It helps understand why this island still has the archaic, feudal leasehold system in the 21st century.

(And they are exporting their medieval method of operating e.g. Duke of Westminster's acquisition of two famous flea markets in Paris who, within one year, announced rent increases of between 35% and 70% ("Siege of the people's castle - This British aristocrat cannot be allowed to destroy Parisians' beloved flea markets", The Guardian, 17 Oct 07)

It is my turn to speak. My emotions are raw from what I am going through, like a bucket continuously on the brink of overflowing. On 2-3 occasions, I have to make a big effort to fight back the tears. My throat constricts. I find it difficult to speak. Deep breath in, and I can continue.

However, it is good to be able to share this horrendous nightmare. 'Share' because I know that the majority of the audience has similar stories to tell. I know from some of them that theirs is worse than mine is. As I look at the audience, I think that their combined suffering - which is the direct result of the leasehold system - is of monumental proportion.

Fighting rogue landlords and their equally rogue aides - and the system that actively supports and helps them - is a very traumatic and extremely lonely experience.

Knowing that other people are going through similar battles is (sadly) a great moral booster. I am not alone. We cannot all be wrong in our assessment .

As I am speaking, I spot somebody from LEASE in the audience. He leaves the meeting the minute I finish talking.

I leave my 'friends in arms' feeling better than when I arrived.

4 November 2003

I meet with a new solicitor (following the above 28 Oct 03 meeting) (who very kindly gives me 1.5hr of his time free of charge). Among others, he endorses my view that, given the circumstance of my case, I ought to be claiming my costs against Steel Services.

In the evening (always the evening!), I start to compile a letter to Mr Twyman and finish it over the following two evenings in between doing more desk research.

In this letter, which I had biked over to Piper Smith Basham first thing on 7 November 2003 , I highlight various points: (i) false statements in the ' offer ';   (ii) the fact that the lack of specification identified by the Tribunal has not been addressed, which I calculate results in an overcharge of £1,735 (US$3,000);   (iii) non-compliance with the terms of my lease. I also do not agree to the payment of interest (thereby re-stating what Mr Gallagher had said at the 28 October meeting).

The main difference relative to what had been discussed at the 28 October 2003 meeting is that I am   disagreeing with a term of the offer, namely that "each party pays for its costs" - asking instead that Steel Services pays for my costs.

At the end of the letter, I ask Mr Twyman to liaise with Mr Gallagher and emphasise that I want to review the draft.

Thursday 6 November 2003

I try phoning Mr Twyman around 13h00 to let him know that I will have my reply hand-delivered to him first thing the following day. As I cannot talk to him, I leave this message on his voicemail.

Friday 7 November 2003

The courier's log shows delivery of my 7 November 2003 letter at 9:02 a.m. This leaves five full working days to the deadline of 13 November for the reply to the 'offer'.

Tuesday 11 November 2003

 

It is minus 48 hours to the deadline and I have not heard from Mr Twyman.

I phone him asking about the status of the situation.  

He is extremely curt with me and refuses to discuss my reply - other than say "you have rejected their offer" .  

When I try to explain, he says that he does not have the time to discuss .

I do not understand the implication of what he said, "You have rejected their offer" .   It worries me that I am doing something that will have serious consequences. Very clearly, Mr Twyman is playing on my lack of knowledge and experience of this type of situation - as well as the fact that I am 'trapped' (no chance of finding another solicitor).   I view this as an abuse of the fiduciary relationship.

He tells me that he has "just sent your letter to Mr Gallagher" and that he "hope [s] that he will have the time to look at it" .  

As forwarding of a letter is an activity that can easily be handled by an assistant, I view this and his appalling response as a psychological game intended to gain control / dominance by causing fear, anxiety, confusion and insecurity. In other words: bullying and intimidation aimed at making me do what he wants (as I captured in my 17 June 2004 letter to the Law Society). Events over the next 48 hours further confirmed my assessment.

Anxious, insecure and confused all accurately reflect the way I am feeling now. The psychological game is working but, bruised and battered as I am, I am also a fighter. The benefit of a childhood that has entailed, among others, spending time in an orphanage, has given me a very strong character and determination.  

In the evening, I continue doing desk research on Part 36 Offers. A friend looks at the Civil Procedure Rules and identifies the ruling by Lord Woolf on the requirements for the working of Part 36 Offers in the Ford v GKR Construction Ltd [2000] 1 All ER 802. I stumble upon it as well in the course of my research.  

Among others, the ruling states: "...the parties must be provided with the information which they require in order to assess whether..to accept that offer."

I have not been provided with this information - given that the LVT determination has not been implemented - and a Section 20 Notice has not been issued.   Indeed, I have repeated this several times to Piper Smith Basham e.g. my letters of 21 August 2003 , 3 September 2003 , 12 October 2003 and 7 November 2003 .

I have a near sleepless night.

Wednesday 12 November 2003

Given my telephone conversation with Mr Twyman the previous day, I try to speak to him again today. I am told that Mr Twyman is "out of the office all day" . I try to speak to his secretary.   She is unavailable.   I leave a message asking her to phone me back. She does not. Equal continuation of the psychological game.

I am in a state of extreme distress and anguish :  

I do not know whether Mr Gallagher has looked at my reply of 7 November 2003 nor do I know whether Mr Twyman will again be unavailable.

Another near sleepless night. What am I going to do?

I decide that, given the state of 'incommunicado' I am being placed in, I am going to come to the office very early tomorrow morning and write a letter I will fax to Mr Gallagher.

13 November 2003 - Deadline for replying to the 'offer' (See Gallagher-Summary of events)

As planned, I get in the office very early. I write a letter, 13 November 2003, I address to Mr Gallagher in which I explain my reason for contacting him directly. Among others, I state that the 'offer' is in breach of Civil Procedure Rules and include extracts from Lord Woolf's ruling. I also ask him to ensure that I see the draft of the reply.

As the attachments to my 13 November 2003 letter demonstrate, I send the fax to Mr Gallagher at 9h11 and to Mr Twyman at 9h26. (I also faxed it to my surveyor).

When I open my emails, I find one from Mr Twyman sent at 8h40 , which states "Please see urgent advice attached. May we please have your clear and unequivocal answer - will you accept their offer as advised or do you wish to refuse it? This must be dealt with today"

So, Mr Twyman gives me this ultimatum in the context of the fact that, during the preceding four working days during which he has had my letter of 7 November 2003 , he has point blank refused to discuss my reply.

Below his email, is an email sent the previous day at 17h09 , by Mr Gallagher to Mr Twyman. (Note that Mr Twyman has not commented on this email when he forwarded it to me at 8h40).   Mr Gallagher's email makes my blood boil as it includes a number of points with which I am very unhappy for a number of reasons.

For example, the claim that my "surveyor's calculations had demonstrated that this sum could not be bettered".  This is simply not true. (I pointed this out to Ms McLean in my fax of 20 November 2003 ) (Following my including this in my 5 April 2004 complaint against Mr Gallagher (under points 2.3 and 50 and 51 under which I disprove his claim), in the subsequent correspondence, I had a running battle on this with Mr Gallagher as he has maintained this position. (As can be seen from the summary I captured under point 41 of my 25 March 2005 reply to the Bar Council).

In the course of this exchange of correspondence, I resorted to contacting my surveyor. He confirmed what I had said (and I communicated this to the Bar Council). My surveyor did not say this . And he could not have said it (see Mr Gallagher for further detail - including the LSO who supported Mr Gallagher's claim, resulting, in effect, in both of them calling my surveyor a liar).

An example of another comment from Mr Gallagher that makes my blood boil is

 "...I can only repeat my advice, and that of Ms Mclean, that if this offer is not accepted and the matter proceeds to trial it is virtually certain that the Clamant will beat it and Ms Rawé will be ordered to pay the Claimant's costs" .  

What? Given the circumstances of my case!?

It represents one of many others items over which I battled with Mr Gallagher following my 5 April 2004 complaint - as can be seen from the summary I included under point 45 of my 25 March 2005 reply to the Bar Council.

 

At this point, it is probably useful to relate the key elements of Mr Gallagher's position.

They came to light - post the 28 October 2003 meeting - in three emails at the time of reply (17h09 on 12 November 2003; two emails on 13 November 2003, one at 10h12 and the other sent at 15h32 to which he had attached the draft reply and draft consent order ),

as well as his 9 June 2004 initial reply to my complaint which represents follow-up comments / explanations for his advice / position / actions.

They are discussed in detail under Mr Gallagher . Among others, they included an assessment that I was in a "very weak position" as I had "no technical defence to the claim" (29(5), 9 June 2004 ) . In particular because:

(1) "The LVT determination was a mix bag" . (point 21, 9 June 2004 ) I replied (point 72, 29 August 2004 ) "Really? In what way? "   I also added, "Given that the LVT determination is the crucial element in the resolution of the dispute, isn't it rather telling that, out of his 29 page reply, it is the only comment that Mr Gallagher has made about the LVT determination?"

As a result of my challenging him on this (points 32-48, 29 August 2004 ) by providing evidence that the outcome of the LVT determination had the effect of reducing the sum demanded by nearly 70% (a reduction of £500,000 (US$882,000) from £736,000 (US$1.3m) down to £235,947 (US$416,000) (see 22 June 2003 for further detail) , Mr Gallagher replied (point 4(1), 11 October 2004)

"I accept that the outcome was a significant reduction in the amount due from the tenants" (point 8)   "I accept that it is possible that, given the level of the sums disallowed by the LVT and the criticisms that could be made about the landlord's conduct, a Court may have been persuaded to make no order for costs"   (point 6) UNBELIEVABLE, especially when you consider what Mr Gallagher's views were in relation to my position on costs (see below)

Mr Gallagher then adds (point 4(1), 11 October 2004 ):

"At the time I did not consider that the course of the proceedings before the LVT was likely to carry much, if any, weight on the question of costs in the county court proceedings"

In my 25 March 2005 reply to the Bar Council (point 37) I wrote: "At the time". I read this as an admission that Mr Gallagher had not acknowledged the evidence supplied to him. (Which is obvious)" .

(2) "The landlord had substantially complied with the statutory consultation procedure" . My reply entailed quoting extensively from the LVT report which powerfully proves otherwise. It also included highlighting a comment made by Mr Gallagher himself:

"The acceptance letter did not include a reference to the inadequate specifications of the major works...there was no need to get into a criticism of the inadequate way in which the works had been specified or tendered "   (point 58, 9 June 2004 )

(3) "My surveyor had demonstrated" , this then changed to had "said that the offer could not be bettered" and that "was a central point" . (Briefly discussed above)

(4) "The "Part 36" Offer was not a pre-action offer" I argued that it was (point 103, 29 August 2004 ) "I disagree. The offer qualifies as 'a pre-action offer'. the LVT could not make a determination due to the lack of specification" .

(Please note that in his 10h12 email, in reply to my fax of 13 November, Mr Gallagher does not make any comment in relation to my identifying the ruling by Lord Woolf in the Ford v. GKR Construction case in relation to the working of Part 36 Offers. And nor did Mr Twyman)

(5) "I had refused opportunities to strike a deal ("not accepted invitations to attend discussions") . Among others, I replied that the LVT determination had not been implemented. Consequently, I had obeyed the instructions given to me (and the other leaseholders) by the tribunal at the 29 October 2002 pre-trial hearing, supported by a leaflet to not pay (page 5) the service charge demanded until the tribunal had issued its determination and it had therefore been implemented.

I also highlighted " This is all I wanted: to pay my 1.956% share of what residents are truly liable for - and in a manner compliant with the terms of my lease. I did not want 'an offer'. This is not the basis on which the service charges operate, doing a deal with one resident, another deal with another, and so on"

(I had made my position very clear that I did not want to 'strike a deal' - See 26 August 2003 and 4 September 2003 above)

Consequently, Mr Gallagher, and concurrently Ms McLean (as well as Mr Twyman) held against me the fact I have strong moral principles.

It should be noted that they are not alone in doing this. The courts can do this as well, including ignoring the directions given to defendants by another jurisdiction, as evidenced by events previously discussed under: 24, 25 and 30 March 2003 (which culminated in my being told by West London County Court on 1 April 2003 "No, the Charging Order is not against you, it is against other residents" ;

Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site: can you see why in the introduction to the site, I stated that there is 'no avenue open to me for justice and redress'?

(6) I had "only paid £2,255" (US$4,000) In actual fact, I did not owe this amount (see 26 August 2003). Likewise, this amounts to Mr Gallagher holding against me the fact that (at least for as long as I could) I had obeyed the instructions given to me by a tribunal.

(The claim was filed against me (and 10 other leaseholders) on 29 November 2002 . Hence, one month after the tribunal had told us to not pay. The tribunal signed its determination seven months later, on 17 June 2003. By the time of the 24 June 2003 hearing, it had not been implemented, nor by the time of the 26 August hearing (as explained earlier on). In fact, the LVT determination has never been implemented .

In this context I highlighted Mr Gallagher 's comment (point 23, 9 June 2004 ) "I am currently writing a book for Sweet & Maxwell on litigation in the LVT - Leasehold Valuation Tribunals: Practice & Procedure - and would be pleased to expand on the practical difficulties that the LVTs limited and overlapping jurisdiction formerly lead to and, to a lesser extent, continues to do."

(He was indeed writing a book, ' Leasehold Valuation Tribunals: A Practical Guide' which states that it " Sets out all the powers, responsibilities and jurisdiction of the LVT ". While I have not read it, this suggests that Mr Gallagher ought to know "the jurisdiction of the LVTs" )

(7) A "summary judgement had been entered against me" (see above, 26 August 2003)

Given Mr Gallagher's assessment that I was in a "very weak position" I consequently "could not ask Steel Services to pay for my costs" . In fact, I should be very grateful that Steel Services had made me an offer without costs.

In his emails of 17h09 on 12 November 2003 and 10h12 on 13 November, pressed the point seven times in total, with the 17h09 email 'loaded to maximum'. For example,

" .the show stopper is Ms Rawé's instructions that each party bear their own costs is unacceptable and that any compromise is to be on terms that C pay her costs. I am bound to say that it is not a realistic assessment of the strengths of the parties' respective positions." ( 17h09 email, 12 November 2004)

  "I can only repeat my advice and that of Ms McLean that that if this offer is not accepted and the matter proceeds to trial it is virtually certain that the claimant will beat it and Ms Rawé will be ordered to pay the Claimant's costs" . ( 17h09 email, 12 November 2004)

In any event, as Ms Rawé has only paid £2,255 (US$4,000) , it must be accepted that she is on risk for C's costs at least down to this figure at trial" ( 17h09 email, 12 November 2004)

As "the balance of risks was all against me" , if I did not accept this "life line" and the matter proceeded to trial, I would live to repent / learn my lesson when "in the likely event that the defence fails" I would be faced with a "final bill" and be "reminded that the disastrous outcome was in accordance with the original advice given" (point 66, 9 June 2004 )

Under point 135 of my 29 August 2004 reply, I wrote "Here we go again, now for the 8th time in Mr Gallagher's reply:   the invocation of 'the costs' - and this time, Mr Gallagher 'really goes to town' with this. This is just a continuation of the only thing I have heard throughout:   the threat of 'the costs'. It further supports my claim that the advice has been totally biased and unbalanced.   The LVT determination has been totally ignored"

From the point of view of the 'entertainment value', in addition to the above, I also draw your attention to the following (point 49 of Mr Gallagher's 9 June 2004 reply) that he "and Ms McLean saw the Offer , with its terms that each party pays its own costs as offering something of a life-line that NKDR would be ill-advised not to accept"

Seeing this comment made my blood boil, leading me to write a seven-page reply. It started under point 106 of my 29 August 2004 response with: "Steel Services was "throwing me a life-line"? Oh dear!   How ungrateful of me, I did not send a 'thank you' note.

Whilst I was at it, should I have perhaps fallen on my knees and asked for forgiveness, saying something along those lines: "O' Great One, member of the sacrosanct landlord sect so revered in this country. Thank you for trying to defraud me of £10,000 (US$17,600) , while clearly having the intention of coming back and asking me for even more money not due and payable. Forgive me for challenging you and thereby making you incur costs ."

It took-up seven pages because I captured the harassment, intimidation and bullying that I, other residents, as well as Nucleus Citizen Advice Bureau had suffered. I concluded the reply under point 118 stating: "I must say O' Great One, you certainly appear to have a penchant for harassing and intimidating women, or men if they are elderly and frail"

I also draw your attention to these:

"it was unrealistic for NKDR to seek an order for costs in her favour : each party paying their own costs (to the date of the offer) was as good an order on costs as NKDR could possibly get (point 66, 9 June 2004 )

[I] "was virtually certain to lose if the claim went to trial and costs would be awarded against her and certainly would not be awarded in her favour " (point 63(1), 9 June 2004 )

Furthermore

"Having reconsidered this conclusion for the purpose of preparing this response, I do not resile from in any way" (point 49, 9 June 2004 )

"I remain firmly of the opinion that my very pessimistic assessment of NKDR's prospects was correct . PSB were similarly pessimistic before instructing me to advise and my advice reinforced their opinion" (point 64, 9 June 2004 )

"I therefore gave advice to that effect in clear terms both in conference and in my email of 12th and 13th November 2003. I consider that advice to be correct and that it was my duty to give it" (point 65, 9 June 2004 )

ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! (See Mr Gallagher for further detail, including the dismissal of my complaint by both, the Bar Council and the Legal Services Ombudsman who wrote on page 3 of her 30 August 2005 reply "The outcome of the (LVT) determination was largely favourable for your landlord" ( NB !!! Evidently Mrs Manzoor has a problem reading )

From reading Mr Gallagher's emails on 12 and 13 November, it becomes clear to me that 'my advisors' do not consider that breach of my lease, statutory rights and Civil Procedure Rules, a damning report by the LVT, filing of a false claim against me in court, etc, etc, qualify as sufficient reasons to challenge the 'offer'.

Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site, I think you will agree that the above amply supports the statement I have made in various sections of this site that, in the case of a service charge dispute of this nature, the business model heavily relies on leaseholders being made to strike a deal with the landlord - in breach of the terms of their lease and of their statutory rights.

I am now in a state of extreme stress and anguish :

 

•  I have a solicitor who is refusing to talk to me - (and has done so throughout)

•  I have a barrister who, in his email of the previous day, misrepresented events, as well as overlooked facts which I believe are highly material. In his 10h12 email Mr Gallagher talks of a "counter-offer" but:

(i) I do not understand what this means in practice;  

(ii) Mr Twyman's does not want to discuss this with me;  

(iii) the impression he and Mr Gallagher are giving me is that it could have very serious consequences for me if I were to opt for this option.

•  I must get on with my work rather than spend my time on personal matters (It happens to be a particularly demanding day for me as I am making a presentation in the afternoon)

I speak to Mr Twyman mid-morning.   I draw his attention to the fact that my reply had been hand-delivered to him by 9:00 am on Friday 7. Also, that I had left him a voicemail message at lunchtime the previous day to forewarn him of this. Hence, this last minute rush could have been avoided as it gave a total of five working days.

He angrily replies, "When was it that you met with Counsel?" and asks whether I think he has nothing else to do other than deal with my case. Equal, continuation of the psychological game. Needless to say that he does not give me any feedback on the fax I sent him earlier on. Hence, among others, no comment on what I have identified in relation to the working of Part 36 Offers.

Although I have all these reservations, I am reassured by the fact that in his 10h12 email, Mr Gallagher wrote:   "...accept the offer, subject only to the possibility of tweaking it as discussed in conference.."

Mr Twyman and Mr Gallagher's tactics work as in I end-up relinquishing on some of my key objectives...

...one of which is claiming my costs back from Steel Services i.e. Mr Ladsky et. al... in spite of holding the ABSOLUTE belief that I am totally justified in expecting Mr Ladsky et. al. to reimburse me of ALL my costs.

Bearing in mind that I do not have the time to reply as comprehensively as I would like, at 12h26 I send an email to Mr Twyman and Mr Gallagher. I record that ".I find some of the comments difficult to reconcile with events/facts. Although my views and wishes as to what 'should be said' and 'should happen' remain as expressed in my communication of 7 and 13 November - I am accepting your advice:   to accept the offer..Can you please thus, be kind enough to draft a reply for my review - with the 'tweaking' you detailed"

I hear nothing until sometime after 15h30 when I see that Mr Gallagher has sent an email at 15h32 to which he has attached the draft reply and draft consent order .

I get very angry and experience unbelievable stress from panic. It is the first time I see these documents . I am making the presentation at 17h00. My colleague is due to arrive shortly. What is written does not reflect what had been agreed at the 28 October 2003 meeting:

•  There is no reference to the fact that the lack/insufficient specification has not been addressed. What Mr Gallagher wrote is "...your client=s claim, as adjusted to take account of the LVT=s determination remains proceedings."

•  The interest has been left in

•  The only reference made to the terms of my lease reads "The absence of due compliance with the service charge certification provisions prescribed by the lease"

•  Two points which, it was agreed at the 28 October 2003 meeting were not worth mentioning, make-up 50% of the contents of the letter

Mr Gallagher also refers to a 16h00 deadline. This is the first I hear of this. As I discovered subsequently, it is nonsense. A 16h00 deadline only applies in the case of the courts.   In this instance, office hours apply as evidenced by e.g. the fact that CKFT faxed the 'offer' at 17h43 on 21 October.  

Hence, it amounts to another of Mr Twyman and Mr Gallagher's 'tricks'. This time I am not going to say 'allegedly' as I give the following as further evidence in support of my claim .

As I am reading the documents sent by Mr Gallagher, I receive an email from Mr Twyman, sent at 15h53 . Hence, 21 minutes after Mr Gallagher's email.   He states "I confirm safe receipt of Counsel draft and will be sending it to the other side as drafted save with removal of brackets at the end of the letter as he has advised in the next 10mins or so"

In the next 10 minutes?  

The pressure tactic has gone into overdrive.  

It is abundantly clear to me that the situation has been, ' allegedly ' engineered by Mr Twyman to minimise the probability of my being able to input into the reply.   (This is in addition to taking prior events into consideration)

(Subsequent note: NO 'allegedly' - see Gallagher- Summary of events)

Again, please bear in mind that it is the first time I see these documents.

Given the unbelievable pressure under which I am being placed, the best I can do is to handwrite two key points on the documents .

•  On the draft consent order, next to 'interest': "On 28 October - Mr Gallagher said "no because works had not started" .  

•  On the notice of acceptance' "+ Non-compliance with Section 20 for some items, as a consequence of which the LVT was unable to take a decision" .  

It is only much later on that I noticed that, as drafted, the consent order leaves the door wide open to Steel Services to come back and ask me for another contribution for the major works, and so on, and so on.   Why?

What had been agreed at the 28 October 2003 meeting is, as captured in Ms McLean's 28 October 2003 attendance note , that the reply would state: "..that this payment was in full and final settlement of the current major works."

What was captured in the Consent Order is very different from what was agreed, in particular the fact that it states: "under this claim" and "to which this claim relates" . In the Particulars of Claim , the sum for the works is described as "Major works contribution"

In his 9 June 2004 reply (point 29(7)(ii)) Mr Gallagher wrote " To tweak the offer by stipulating that it was in full and final settlement of NKDR's share of the totality of the costs of the major works "

I pointed out (point 89, 29 August 2004 ) what he had written was very from what he was then claiming.

(NB: I subsequently agreed to the following consent order: "The Claimant having received the sum of £6,350.85 [US$11,200] from the Second Defendant, this action has been settled following the determination by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal of an identical claim, in a report dated 17 June 2003" . It was endorsed by the court on 1 July 2004 .

In spite of this, it has not protected me from further demands as, three months later , I received from Martin Russell Jones an invoice dated 21 October 2004, for £14,500 (US$25,600) - without any explanation whatsoever. I did not respond.

Another invoice followed one month later, dated 16 November 2004 , for £15,500 (US$27,300) - likewise, with no explanation whatsoever.

I did not acknowledge them and, consequently, did not pay anything. (Please note that in my letter of 31 December 2003 i.e. nearly one year previously , I had informed Ms Hathaway that I had accepted the offer and paid the sum to CKFT).

I view this as an act of vengeance by Mr Ladsky et. al. for my challenging the service charge demand)

More than one year later, in January 2006, I received another invoice from Martin Russell Jones, dated 9 January 2006, this time stating a "Brought forward balance" of £5,625 (US$9,900). Yet again, no explanation provided (Overview # 6).

Obviously, CKFT was very keen to have this Consent Order endorsed by the court. In her 19 November 2003 letter to Piper Smith Basham, Ms Salim wrote, "Would you please endorse the draft Consent Order and re-submit the same to us with your cheque in the sum of £15 representing half the court fee. We shall then submit it to the Court." (It took another seven months of fighting before I obtained a Consent Order endorsed by the court. ( See West London County Court section)

As to the Notice of Acceptance drafted by Mr Gallagher and sent by Mr Twyman to CKFT, it does not challenge a single statement in the ' offer '.

I fax the documents with my annoted comments to Mr Twyman and Mr Gallagher at 16h29 - in other words, within less than one hour of receiving them.

In light of the following events, it is worth noting that I use the same fax machine as I have done in the morning when I sent the fax at 9h11 to Mr Gallagher and at 9h26 to Mr Twyman.   Because the fax machine has not been reset to wintertime, it records the time as 17h29 (instead of 16h29).

I leave my desk at c. 16h50 to go to the meeting room where I am making the presentation. I do not hear anything from Mr Twyman.

 

14 November 2003

I receive a letter from Mr Twyman, dated 14 November 2003 , attached to an email, stating: "I sent you an email yesterday regarding transmission of Counsel's draft indicating that the same would be sent by approximately 4pm. In accordance with that direction understanding this to be you instructions (NB: !!!) the same was sent at that time. At 17h37 (NB: !!!) a fax was received here with your comments on it which on the face of them are inconsistent with a request for inclusion in any event.."   (NB: !!!)

I view this letter as absolutely appalling and a continuation of the treatment I have received from Mr Twyman throughout.

This letter contains two lies (No need for me to include 'allegedly')

•  What he sent were not my instructions. When, in my 12h26 email of the previous day I wrote "I am accepting your advice:   to accept the offer..Can you please thus draft a reply for my review - with the 'tweaking' you detailed" I was obviously referring to what had been agreed at the 28 October 2003 meeting. And this had been confirmed by Mr Gallagher in his 10h12 email:  ".accept the offer, subject only to the possibility of tweaking it as discussed in conference..."

•  In addition, I had annoted (as best as I could given the time pressure) the draft documents with what had been agreed.

•  The second lie is the claim that I faxed my reply at 17h37. I was able to prove this by the fact that Mr Gallagher had sent a 10h12 email in reply to my fax of 13 November for which the transmission recorded the time as 10h11.

In its 1 July 2004 response to my complaint, Piper Smith Basham maintained that I sent the fax at 17h37.

In her 3 August 2004 reply, the Law Society caseworker wrote "The solicitors state that they are unable to comment on the timing of the fax machine (NB !!!) . It is not relevant whether the fax was sent at 4.37 pm or 5.37 pm as Mr Twyman left the office between 4 pm and 4.30pm".  

To this I replied, under point 146 of my 30 November 2004 correspondence "So, when Mr Twyman sent me the email at 15h53 saying "I confirm safe receipt of Counsel draft and will be sending it to the other side.as he has advised in the next 10mins or so" in fact, what he did, was to send it immediately (if it had not already been sent!) . And how, equally fascinating to see your response: "Even if the fax had been sent at 4.37 pm.".   "Even if"?   Look at the evidence"

The above events are captured in my 2 December 2004 letter to Mr Richard Berns, Senior Partner and Mr Ian Skuse, Complaints Officer at Piper Smith Basham. I think you will agree that it is an extremely generous letter given the treatment I had received from Ms McLean and Mr Twyman.

November 2003

The stress of the battle I am having with Piper Smith Basham to get them to send a substitute reply to CKFT affects me so much that I lose 5kgs (nearly a stone) during the month of November . (I am not overweight).

I can barely eat.

Most nights, even though I go to bed at midnight, or later, I wake up by 4 - 5 a.m. unable to get back to sleep.

I get some very concerned looks from many colleagues at work. Somebody tells me that I "look like death". I think to myself, what would you say if you saw me without make-up?

I certainly feel absolutely awful: weak, extremely tired and, at the same time, in a constant state of terrible turmoil, extreme anguish, anxiety and distress. I think I am heading for a nervous breakdown.

My brother recommends some over-the-counter remedy to help me sleep. The first night I take three times the recommended dose. It makes no difference whatsoever.

The following night I increase the dose to five times the amount. Still no effect.

On 18 November I see my doctor to get some sleeping pills.

At last, I am able to sleep.

But I do not want to take a sleeping pill every night. Among others, I am concerned that I must be able to react quickly if something happens during the night - because I certainly cannot call on the police to come to my assistance (see Police )

Dealing with all of these battles, combined with the fact that I am in full time employment, places me under an unbelievable amount of stress as I have the worry of not letting my work suffer.

On some days such as e.g. 13 November 2003, dealing with this and 'keeping up a front' at work, requires what feels like, a super-human effort. The pressure is horrendous.

Latter part of November 2003

One Saturday morning, as I am in the entrance corridor, on my way out, Mr Ladsky greets me in an arrogant, smug tone (in front of the then porter).

Bearing in mind the history of harassment, intimidation, as well as, on one occasion, assault, I suffered from him, why should he be greeting me on that day?

Evidently, the reason is that he is delighted with the reply to 'Steel Services' 'offer' of 21 October 2003 sent - without my consent - by Mr Twyman on 13 November 2003.   He obviously believes that he has "got me" (The comment he made to me on 3 January 2003).  

This further reinforces in mind the belief that the reply drafted by Mr Gallagher and sent by Mr Twyman on 13 November is to Steel Services benefit - not mine.

(Subsequent note: Twyman, McLean and Gallagher were batting for Ladsky - see Gallagher-Summary of events)

(I captured this under point 143 of my 29 August 2004 reply to Mr Gallagher. This was in his response to point 78 of his 9 June 2004 reply that ". the strategy that I advised on worked:   the tweaked offer was accepted."   (NB!!!   Clearly, Mr Gallagher's interpretation of "tweaking" is to say 'amen' to everything! CKFT's client "accepted" the reply.   What a surprise! )

December 2003

During one of my many, near sleepless nights, it suddenly clicks: I don't need Piper Smith Basham, or any other solicitor. I handled my case quite well by myself before, and for a long time.

I decide to take back control of my case and immediately put this into action by getting my laptop out at 3:30 a.m. and start to write my 'own' version of the Notice of Acceptance, dated 19 December 2003 , to CKFT.

I agree to everything - except payment of interest (£143) (US$250) - and include full payment with my reply. Clearly, I do not consider that this reply gives me the justice and redress I believe I deserve.  

Among others, I know that under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, I do not owe this sum , as a Section 20 Notice was not issued following the LVT determination.

I know, I previously stated that I was not prepared to be treated differently from the other leaseholders i.e. strike a deal on terms other than those specified in my lease.

However, I am - literally - near collapse and my priority is to protect myself from further demands. Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site, you saw the actions of West London County Court. I am not going to get just and fair treatment in the courts.

As can be seen from events in 2004 (Overview # 6) ,

I should have known better that what I was hoping to achieve is like trying to take a bone away from a dog - and an extremely vicious one at that

As can be seen from my summary of events under My 19 Oct 03 Witness Statement: Introduction ; (1) Events - my taking back control of my case 'threw a spanner in the works', upsetting the game plan.   Indeed,

•  in her 12 December 2003 letter, Ms McLean, wrote: "One final point to make is that whilst there is a current complaint against me personally and the firm it would not be appropriate for me to continue acting for you, our relationship having broken down"

•  While in her 21 January 2004 letter (i.e. six weeks later), she wrote: "There is also of course the outstanding issue of the concluded agreement. Once again if you wish to discuss the matter with me at (sic) the telephone I am happy to do so"

Her strategy had backfired (as I captured under points 3.4, 103 and 104 of my 16 March 2004 complaint to the Law Society). Indeed, I view the 12 December letter as an attempt to bring me 'back into line' by withdrawing support - and thereby cause anxiety, fear and distress.

Hence, continuation of the psychological game in order to force me to endorse the reply. (Again: no ' allegedly' here as I believe that any reasonable person considering this evidence would endorse my view).

Likewise here:

I believe that any reasonable person when considering the evidence will understand why I view the 21 January 2004 letter as a 'last ditch attempt at concluding the deal' (whatever this was).

As to CKFT, it evidently waited to see what would happen following the 21 January 2004 letter from Ms McLean. In fact, it allowed one week. At that point, Ms Ayesha Salim wrote in her 27 January 2004 letter "We have now located two of your letters dated 19 December 2003".  

(Please note that I had sent the letter by 'special delivery next day' (as can be seen in the attached 19 December 2003 ) and had received confirmation from the post office that it had been delivered.

Please note also that the lack of response from CKFT had led me to get a firm of solicitors to send, on 16 January 2004 , a copy of the documents I had sent to CKFT on 19 December 2003.

My reason for doing this was that, given CKFT's modus operandi, I could not exclude the possibility that it might claim it had received post from me on 22 December 2003, but that it was just an empty envelop).

(These events are captured in the summary of my 16 March 2004 complaint against Piper Smith Basham under point 3.4 and under points 102, 104 in the main body of my complaint. There are also captured under point 155 of my 30 November 2004 reply to the Law Society)

Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site, I think you will agree that the above amply supports the statement I have made in various sections of this site that, in the case of a service charge dispute of this nature, the business model heavily relies on leaseholders being made to strike a deal with the landlord - in breach of the terms of their lease and of their statutory rights.

Christmas 2003

As I am, quite literally, near collapse, I cancel my plans to visit family and friends at Christmas and, instead, book myself in a centre in France for stress related treatment.

The doctor diagnosed that I had low blood pressure .  

While this break helps me to 'recharge the batteries', it amounts to my plans being yet again ruined because of this horrendous nightmare.