The £7.5m hole in millionaire's property empire

The £7.5m hole in millionaire's property empire


A millionaire property tycoon has suffered a setback in his fight to dig himself out of the debt left by the collapse of his property empire.

Kevin Linfoot, once Yorkshire’s 20th richest man, was the main owner and chairman of Leeds-based residential property developers, KW Linfoot Plc, until February 2009 when the company went into voluntary liquidation, reported the Yorkshire Evening Post.

In 1981, he started KW Linfoot, building it into one of the leading developers of housing and commercial property in Great Britain. However, the company went bankrupt and into administration on 24th February as a result of “continued difficulties in the banking and financial sectors”.

A statement released at the time by the company stated that over the last 12 months the firm, “has found its dealings with the banks increasingly difficult due to a complete withdrawal of development funding to enable it to progress new schemes. This is compounded by the dramatic reduction in mortgage products making it increasingly difficult for purchasers to complete on apartments purchased off plan. In taking this action the banks have effectively strangled the business and denied it any opportunity to trade through these difficult times”.

Mr Linfoot was a Sunday Times rich-lister in 2007 with an estimated fortune of £145 million, but in March 2010 his assets were valued at £184,501 against an ‘estimated deficiency’ of more than £7.5 million.

Under the terms of an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), Mr Linfoot agreed to pay £2,700-a-month for five years - a total of £162,000.

Amongst his assets were stately home, Ravenswick Hall, set in 198-acres near Kirkbymoorside, and Bishopsthorpe Garth, York, valued at £4 million and £2.6 million respectively in March 2010 - both of which are heavily mortgaged. 

Mr Linfoot appeared at Leeds County Court earlier this month after a creditors’ meeting refused to sanction an amendment to his IVA in April this year.

He had wanted the voluntary payments he is making and sums due from the sale of some number plates to be paid by a third party.

But the Bank of Scotland and National Westminster Bank Plc voted against the amendment and it was blocked after Mr Linfoot failed to achieve the required 75 per cent majority of creditors in favour.

At Leeds Crown Court, Mr Linfoot argued the supervisor of his IVA had been wrong to allow the two banks, both of them secured creditors, to cast votes on the basis that they were jointly owed more than £2.5 million. His lawyers argued that the meeting should have been adjourned in order to investigate offers of £4,678,000 for Ravenswick Hall and £2,600,000 for Bishopsthorpe Garth, both received in April this year.

However, Judge John Behrens upheld decisions made by the IVA supervisor and dismissed the application. Mr Linfoot remains personally liable to make the monthly payments.

KW Linfoot was behind the Lumiere skyscrapers project and Manor Mills in Leeds and the Manyoo development in Manchester at the time of collapse.



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    No sympathy with Linfoot. There are many people around (like me) who worked on Linfoot's projects during the good times and who nearly went bust because he took so long to pay them. I hope the accountants running the IVA and liquidation have traced all his assets properly.

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    Sad story but yet another example of an empire built both on debt.

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