John Park MSP (Mid Scotland & Fife, Scottish Labour) asked to call for costly AIB contracts scrutiny DOCUMENTS obtained by Scottish Law Reporter in connection with a sequestration of a client ordered by Perth Law Firm Kippen Campbell have revealed an MSP has been asked to call for the cancellation of highly profitable state funded contracts between the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB) & WYLIE & BISSET LLP, a firm of Glasgow accountants who blocked a disabled person’s access to bank accounts containing his state disability benefits for more than SEVEN MONTHS.
The pleas to MSP John Park (Scottish Labour, Mid Scotland & Fife) come amid investigations into an on-going scandal involving the flow of millions of pounds of public money to firms of private accountants acting as ‘arms-length’ agents for hugely overstaffed Scotland’s Accountant in Bankruptcy, its luxurious headquarters located in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire.
The scandal of the multi million pound contracts, recently reported by popular Scots law blog “Diary of Injustice” have revealed a mere six firms of accountants are soaking up over EIGHT MILLION POUNDS of public money dealing with thousands of sequestration cases handed to them by the AIB.
Between April 2009, until 31 March 2012, Armstrong Watson has been paid £1,051,627.12 for the administration of 2062 cases on behalf of The Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Between April 2009, until 31 March 2012, Hastings & Co have been paid £608,605.96 for the administration of 1040 cases on behalf of The Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Between April 2009, until 31 March 2012, Invocas has been paid £284,346.77 for the administration of 875 cases on behalf of The Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Between April 2009, until 31 March 2012, KPMG has been paid £3,706,744.79 for the administration of 6585 cases on behalf of The Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Between April 2009, until 31 March 2012, Miller McIntyre & Gellatly (now mmg archbold) have been paid £303,745.48 for the administration of 710 cases on behalf of The Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Between April 2009, until 31 March 2012, Wylie & Bisset have been paid £2,066,686.50, for the administration of 3703 cases on behalf of The Accountant in Bankruptcy.
A legal insider who claims many of the firms are forcing people to pay their fees and sign up to unfair trust deeds, some of which have been running for years over their agreed timescale, has dubbed the AIB agent contract scheme “a bigger racket than legal aid”.
The legal insider also claimed many of those operating on behalf of the AIB appear to have been engaged in unregistered hospitality & professional lobbying efforts with local & Holyrood based politicians and civil servants at the Scottish Government. The insider went on to suggest such connections as a reason why the brewing scandal involving the unfair seizure of disability benefits by rich accountants paid millions from the public purse has attracted little parliamentary attention until now.
No one was available from Mr Park’s office to offer comment at time of going to publication, however, an insider at the AIB has acknowledged there are significant problems with agents who appear to be running up fees for unnecessary work in cases where there is little or no hope of any return.
SEIZE YOUR BENEFITS, GRAB YOUR HOUSE & RUN : Scottish Law Reporter previously exposed Glasgow accountants Wylie & Bisset who blocked a disabled victim’s access to benefits, then tried to seize his rented house for a small debt relating to disputed legal fees :
Accountant in Bankruptcy agents try to seize wrong house in bankruptcy of disabled client ordered by Perth law firm over disputed legal fees
Perth lawyers bankrupted ill client on benefits for disputed fees. A BANKRUPTCY ordered by Perth law firm Kippen Campbell against a severely ill client in receipt of disability benefits, over disputed legal fees of around £2,700 in connection with a damages claim in Scotland’s Court of Session which curiously collapsed under the law firm’s representation has today been highlighted as an example of harassment by Scots law firms for questionable fees after revelations in the media that agents acting for Scotland’s Accountant in Bankruptcy threatened to seize property belonging to a family completely unconnected to debts which Kippen Campbell claim are owed to them.
Wylie & Bisset – Your house or someone else’s house to pay your ex lawyers fees :
Threatening letters – Pay up for lawyers fees or we make you homeless say AIB’s agents. In letters sent to Mr Gordon, Wylie & Bisset demand a “required payment” of NINETY TWO THOUSAND & FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS, and goes on to threaten “We require firm proposals for the realisation of the sum in question to your sequestrated estate as a matter of urgency. Should we not receive your proposals within 14 days of the date of this letter, then please be aware that we shall be forced to seek action for vacant possession of the property.”.
The property which Wylie & Bisset were attempting to seize and had valued, at £185,000, was located in Rattray, Blairgowrie, and owned by a family unconnected to Mr Gordon. Yet the debt allegedly owed to the Perth based law firm amounted to little more than £2,700, which now appears to have increased to some £6,600 taking into account several hearings at Perth Sheriff Court which have artificially inflated the original demand for the disputed legal fees.
The Herald newspaper also featured a report on the bankruptcy case against Mr Gordon, here :
AN accountancy firm handling the sequestration of a man was preparing to seize the home of someone with the same name.
William Gordon, who lives in a rented house in Perth, was stunned to receive letters from Glasgow-based Wylie & Bisset demanding to know how much equity he had in a detached home in Rattray, Perthshire. When he ignored the letter, another arrived telling him a professional valuation had been conducted and the firm would target his share in the equity to cover a debt of £5200 to Perth law firm Kippen Campbell.
In fact, the William Gordon who owns the home in Rattray confirmed he had no connection with his namesake.
He said: "You'd think professionals involved in such a serious business would carry out their job a bit more thoroughly."
The target of the sequestration added: "I pay rent on a modest home in Perth. Why would I be doing that if I owned a lovely detached house 15 miles away in one of the most desirable parts of Perthshire?"
Wylie & Bisset was appointed by the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB) to pursue the legal firm's debt. Gordon Chalmers, a partner in Wylie & Bisset, said: "It would be inappropriate for me to add anything further to what you have from the AIB on the matter."