Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm amazed about Robert Feale Martinez not being allowed here. Has he been barred from The Publican as well?

I've only recently been looking at these, er, threads, again after a long time not paying much attention but remember from several years ago when I spent more time here that Mr Martinez and Mr Nason always impressed with their balance, objectivity, experience and their generosity in imparting knowledge to newer people to the trade. I think Robert even once sent me a private email with some advice about something I'd asked on one of the sites, to do with a rent review I think it was.

Like here I was agreeing with El Nino until Ken posted and I find I've learned a lot from him.

Having said that, I have to say that, in London at least, I've not met a tied publican who doesn't buy out of tie - except me of course. But then I have a High Court injunction against me not to buy out of tie that cost me £10,000 and a year of what felt like hell to arrive at. That was another horrible experience I've had in this trade - I used to stock a couple of wheat beers and fruit beers on a verbal agreement from my Freeholder because there was a demand from my customers for unusual stuff and the Freeholder didn't have anything like it. It amounted to two or three cases a week in sales. The pub was sold to another PubCo and the new lot took a very dim view of my buying out of tie - not that they could supply any style of beer like the ones I was buying though, which is how I got the verbal agreement originally - and they threw the book at me.

They tried to get extrapolated back compensation from the day I'd signed the lease, which was four years before they bought the Freehold and when that didn't wash with the Judge they tried to revoke the lease - i.e. get me thrown out for breaking the tie. Fortunately the High Court Judge took a dim view of their aggressive stance and told them to work out losses based on the two year's receipts/delivery notes I'd given them, which showed all the purchases. The Judge said something to the effect of "it is quite clear to me that your Company is trying to put this man out of business for having done something that in no way warrants such a course of action action". Their solicitor stuttered for a while on that one while my ears were ringing in disbelief - that an element of justice had been pulled out of the hat.

The compensation worked out to just under £3,000 and the fees over £7,000. I'd spent over £150K on the pub and thought I was going to lose everything.

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