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More updates from the SPCK front.

August if often so quiet in the news front it is known as the silly season. Dictionary.com defines silly in the following ways

sil⋅ly

/ˈsɪli/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [sil-ee] Show IPA adjective, -li⋅er, -li⋅est, noun, plural -lies.
Use silly in a Sentence
–adjective
1. weak-minded or lacking good sense; stupid or foolish: a silly writer.
2. absurd; ridiculous; irrational: a silly idea.
3. stunned; dazed: He knocked me silly.
4. Cricket. (of a fielder or the fielder's playing position) extremely close to the batsman's wicket: silly mid off.
5. Archaic. rustic; plain; homely.
6. Archaic. weak; helpless.
7. Obsolete. lowly in rank or state; humble.



There is nothing silly though about the SPCK/SSG front, personal experience of meeting Phil Brewers and reading the emails sent from Mark Brewer (a man who believes the height of American culture is a coffee in Starbucks) suggests that while they lack good sense and may be weak minded there is something much more sinister going on. So it is great to read the news on the SPCK SSG blog that Tribunial payouts have been agreed.  spckssg.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/tribunal-payouts-agreed/

We now need to see action on Chichester and Durham. Yes Durham shop is closing next year but surely enough is enough and the authorities could work with the Charity Commission's interim manager to do something sooner?

Be sure your sins

This hit the news today

Published on Monday, August 03, 2009 CHAPTER 7

PERSONAL LIQUIDATION

BREWER, PHILIP & BREWER, MILDRED B

Law Firm: LAW OFFICE CHERYL K COPPERSTONE. Case No. 09-17584.
(http://www.azbiz.com/articles/2009/08/03/daily_territorial/bankruptcies/doc4a7707915120f630353273.txt)

Yes - Phil Brewer has filed for Chapter 13 BankruptcyChapter 13 bankruptcy filing is a way for individuals in the United States to undergo a financial reorganization supervised by a federal bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Code anticipates the goal of Chapter 13 as enabling income-receiving debtors a debtor rehabilitation provided they fulfill a court-approved plan. Compare the goal of Chapter 13 with the relief contemplated in Chapter 7 that offers immediate, complete relief of many oppressive debt(s). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_13,_Title_11,_United_States_Code).

Here is a list of what would be exempt under Arizona law

ASSET

EXEMPTION DESCRIPTION

LAW SECTION

HOMESTEAD

 

Real property; an apartment or mobile home you occupy to $100,000; sale proceeds exempt 18 months after sale or until new home purchased, whichever occurs first (husband and wife may not double)

 

33-1101

Must record homestead declaration before attempted sale of home

33-1102

PERSONAL PROPERTY

husband and wife may double all personal property exemptions

2 beds and living room chair per person; 1 dresser, table, lamp, bedding per bed; kitchen table; dining room table and 4 chairs (1 more per person); living room carpet or rug; couch; 3 lamps; 3 coffee or end tables; pictures, paintings, drawings created by debtor; family portraits; refrigerator; stove; TV, radio or stereo; alarm clock; washer; dryer; vacuum cleaner to $4,000 total

 33-1123

 

Bank deposit to $150 in one account

33-1126(A)(8)

 

Bible; bicycle; sewing machine; typewriter; burial plot; rifle, pistol or shotgun to $500 total

33-1125

 

Books to $250; clothing to $500; wedding and engagement rings to $1,000; watch to $100; pets, horses, milk cows and poultry to $500; musical instrument to $250; prostheses, including wheelchair

 

33-1125

 

Food and fuel to last 6 months

33-1124

 

Motor vehicle to $1,500 ($4,000, if disabled)

33-1125(8)

 

Prepaid rent or security deposit to $1,000 or 1-1/2 times your rent, whichever is less, in lieu of homestead

33-1126(D)

 

Proceeds for sold or damaged exempt property

33-1126 (A)(5), (7)

INSURANCE

Fraternal benefit society benefits

20-881

 

Group life insurance policy or proceeds

20-1132

 

Health, accident or disability benefits

33-1126(A)(3)

 

Life insurance cash value to $1,000 per dependent ($25,000 total) (husband and wife may double)

33-1126 \(A)(3)

 

Life insurance cash value to $2,000 per dependent ($10,000 total)

20-1131(D)

 

Life insurance proceeds to $20,000 if beneficiary is spouse or child (husband and wife may double)

33-1126(A)(1)

MISC.

Minor child’s earnings, unless debt is for child

33-1126(A)(2)

 

Property of business partnership

29-225

PENSIONS

see also wages

Board of regents members

15-1628(I)

 

ERISA-qualified benefits deposited more than 120 days before filing bankruptcy

33-1126(B)

 

IRAs

In re Herrscher, 121 B.R. 29 (D. Ariz. 1990)

 

Firefighters

9-968

 

Police officers

9-931

 

Public safety personnel

38-850(C)

 

Rangers

41-955

 

State employees

38-762

PUBLIC BENEFITS Unemployment compensation 23-783
  Welfare benefits 46-208
  Workers’ compensation 23-1068
TOOLS OF TRADE Arms, uniforms and accouterments you are required to keep 33-1130(3)
  Farm machinery, utensils, seed, instrument of husbandry, feed, grain and animals to $2,500 total (husband and wife may double) 33-1130(2)
  Teaching aids of teacher 33-1127
  Tools, equipment, instruments and books (except vehicle driven to work) to $2,500 33-1130(1)
WAGES Minimum 75% of earned but unpaid wages, pension payments; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors 33-1131

and under Federal law

ASSET

EXEMPTION DESCRIPTION

LAW SECTION
(United States Code)

Retirement Benefits

CIA employees

50 § 403

  Civil service employees 5 § 8346
  Foreign service employees 22 § 4060
  Military honor roll pensions 38 § 562
  Military service employees 10 § 1440
  Railroad workers 45 § 231m
  Social Security 42 § 407
  Veterans' benefits 38 § 3101
  Veterans' medal of honor benefits 38 § 562

Survivor's benefits

Judges, US court directors, judicial center directors, supreme court chief justice administrators

28 § 376

  Lighthouse workers 33 § 775
  Military service 10 § 1450

Death & Disability Benefits

Government employees

5 § 8130

  Longshoremen and harbor workers 33 § 916
  War risk hazard death or injury compensation 42 § 1717

Miscellaneous

Klamath Indian tribe benefits for Indians residing in Oregon

25 § 543, 25 § 545

  Military deposits in savings accounts while on permanent duty outside continental U.S. 10 § 1035
  Military group life insurance 38 § 770(g)
  Railroad workers' unemployment insurance 45 § 352(e)
  Seamen's clothing 46 § 1110
  Seamen's wages (while at sea) pursuant to a written contract 46 § 1111
  75% of earned but unpaid wages; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors 15 § 1673

Details can be found here.  http://www.bankruptcyinformation.com/index.html

The law firm helping Phil and his wife are Allen & Copperstone (http://www.allenandcopperstone.com/) - I wonder if Cheryl K Copperstone knows Mr Brewer's history in asking his brother with the other trustees of St Stephen the Great (his wife, sister in law and brother) to attempt to make SSG bankrupt, and act which was declared unethical? Does she know about the ongoing breach of court by her customers concerning their bed and breakfast?

This is probably another attempt for a Brewer brother to attempt to slither their way out of their responsibilities both here as the Charity Commission close the net and in the States. We will be watching

Champagne Now On Ice

Over on the SPCK/SSG blog it is reported that nearly all the shops taken over and run into the ground are now closed. The exceptions are Durham, where the Brewers have been given notice that they are out as of next May, and Chichester. Things are moving fast now the Charity Commission is involved. We need to watch though that this is not another Brewer stalling tactic to slow down the process of justice - that they have refused to pay one agency and are going to find another one.

Now Chichester diocese - what are you going to do to put pressure on the Brewers?

Even so, a bottle of champagne is being put on ice in the hope of a celebration soon.
Who are doomed - the Brewer Bros Mark and Phil. To crow like Dora the Explorer "We did, we did it, we did it Yeah, we did it" may be a bit previous but the clock is ticking till we can dance with a talking backpack, map and monkey in wellies.

Over the last week the Charities Commission have pounced. When they get their teeth into something they are like terriers with a rat - they do not let go until they have shaken the corrupt body to bits. I would have liked action sooner but we need to remember how Mark and Phil have tried to muddy the water.

The office for SSG was in Poole, then in London (at the SPCK shop), then Chester. Of course the poor Charity Commission were still trying to deal with Poole. The the Brewers tried, illegally, to make the trading arm of SSG bankrupt through the US courts and got into trouble about this. With this they started three companies - ENC Shop Management which was created in America and is based at Chester, Chichester Shop Management and Durham Cathedral Shop Management both of which were founded in Australia and are based at therespective shops. All three shops have the Brewers as directors. Then we can add Third Space books into the mix.  If we look at the list of shops on the Third Space website we find the following shops owned by SSG: Bradford, Canterbury, Chester, Chichester, Durham, Hereford, Manningham, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Poole, Salisbury, Truro, Winchester, Worcester, York. Yeah right. A number are closed by the Brewers' have never been noted for their accuracy or honesty. So if we add the offices of PBLaw the Charity Commisioners have had 5 UK addresses, an Australian address and possibly two in the US.

To this issue of the Charity Commissioners we have the ongoing issue of Traiding Standards, the battles over the SPCK name, unpaid pension contributions and tax contributions. Well these last two have been paid by the staff, its just that no-one knows where they have gone. And the countless suppliers who are still owed money. I now hear rumours that the Church they brought in Bradford is now for sale. Is this more assest stripping or have they defaulted on the mortgage due to the credit crunch? Suggestions on  a postcard. Either way I'm sure Mark Brewer has found the capital from the SSG pot to pay his own legal fees.

Who lives in a house like this?


It is amazing what is on the bankruptcy documents, using this I have found where the Chair of SSG and BP Law lives. Now remember this is a company where they owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to creditors and staff - that attempted, in bad faith, to make a nonexistant body bankrupt through the US system and has since been punished.

Considering the tract record of nonpayment what would you think when you discover that the house is worth $1,353,500 or (at the current exchange rate) £ 920,748.

The house has 5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms (how can you have half a bathroom - does that mean a shower room) and is one of the cheapest in the road where the Brewers' live. If they can afford to pay the mortgage on this property why can't they pay their bills here in the UK

Have done some more searching Sandra Brewer (a trustee of St Stephen the Great and therefore one of the people who with Phil Brewer employed Mark Brewer to act in "bad faith", and director of ENC Shop Management Company, Chichester Shop Management and Durham Cathedral Shop Management) who, I presume, is Mark's wife is choir director at their church. Does the minister there know about the trouble with the courts for malpractice that his choir director and her husband have been involved in? If so does he care?

Edit - 30/12/08
Forgot to say thank you to Matt Wardman of Wardman Wire for pointing me in the right direction for my research.

When Silence Becomes Defening.


It's not just my imagination is it? Or have I missed something? Over the last month any form of official comment on the St Stephen the Great situation appears to have vanished. It would appear that people are doing an impression of Zippy from Rainbow. Yet those of us trying to follow the story, yet alone those who are affected by the Brewers mis-management need to know what is going on. While there are a number of people who want to speak out and can't surely there are those who can?

So what news are we waiting for? In no particular order:
  • The news from America concerning J Mark Brewer's attempts to make SSG bankrupt a fraud of court.
  • News from the industrial tribunials.
  • News as to how SSG has managed to make Exeter a jewellers, when there is a clause in the covenant as to the shop being used for Christian retail purposes.
  • A response from Durham concerning the petition started by Phil Groom. If, as some ex-staff have said, there is a get out clause, why haven't Durham Cathedral used it?
  • News from Chichester diocese. All I have heard is that the Chichester shop was mentioned as a possibility of something happening, at the SPCK AGM? I am intrigued. Chichester Diocese, please explain.
  • News from the Charity Commission on SSG's behaviour.
And this is all I can think of while I am waiting for my Sunday lunch to finish cooking.

Come on those who can give us news - speak up. The Brewer's want us to go away - but we won't until we see "justice role like rivers, and righteousness like a never failing stream" on this issue.

Data Protection Concerns at SSG/ENC

Over on the SPCK SSG Blog, Phil Groom reports the following concerning news:

A former member of staff, who does not wish to be identified, was passing the shop where s/he once worked as the new tenants were moving in. Seeing them clearing out the remains of SSG’s tenancy, s/he asked if s/he could take some of the debris off their hands. “Sure,” they said, and, amongst other things, they handed over a metal filing box that had been left behind.

At home, s/he opened the box and discovered:

… personal material about one staff member who had a disability and was employed with help from [...] - there are several of [...]’s confidential reports in there. Also included are job applications, staff addresses and phone numbers… there is even a month’s worth of till reconciliations, including the PDQ machine slips, which, if you know anything about the SPCK tills, means that I have a whole batch of credit card details with the full number and start finish dates…

For the full report follow this link:
http://spckssg.wordpress.c
om/2008/10/20/warning-to-spckssg-bookshop-customers-and-staff-your-personal-data-is-at-risk/

Letter to Mark Brewer

This letter has been sent to Mark Brewer by the "We Support Dave Walker" group on Facebook. Hope this gets the result of Mark brewer withdrawing his threats.

Dear Mr. Brewer

We are writing on behalf of 498 supporters of cartoonist and blogger Dave Walker, a group which includes bishops, national journalists in the UK and US, lawyers, clergy, and concerned members of the public. 

We would like to ask you please to contact Dave Walker and withdraw the demands made in the ‘Cease and Desist’ letter which you sent him in July. Your letter, as far as we know, instructed Dave to remove all his posts about the recent history of SPCK bookshops or face action for libel. With the pressures of the impending Lambeth conference, and a very short deadline given by yourself, Dave complied. He commented at the time: “I have therefore removed all of the SPCK/SSG posts on this blog, as, although I believe I have not done anything wrong I do not have the money to face a legal battle. The removal of these posts is in no way an admission of guilt.”

Many of us have read the posts concerned, and are surprised, to say the least, that they could be called libelous. Indeed, the first three posts make no mention at all of yourself, the Society of St. Stephen the Great, or anyone associated with you. The 4th post reports your takeover of the bookshops with the comment “this is splendid news.” Another post is a simple link to your SSG video on YouTube. Other items include verbatim reports of your own statements, and in the simple post on the death of Steve Jeynes, dozens of people used the comments to expressed their grief and condolences to Steve’s family. 

Dave is a reasonable man, and if all critics were as fair as he is the world would be a better place. If you were able to reconsider, and point out specific statements and claims you were unhappy with, we are sure Dave would be happy to correct them where appropriate. This is the normal process of debate on the internet, and in real life, and follows the strong tradition of free speech for which our countries stand and are rightly proud.

So this is a polite request from all of us: please contact Dave Walker, advise him that your ‘cease and desist’ communication no longer stands, and let him report freely. 

Yours sincerely

Rev. David Keen and seven other signatories representing the ‘We Support Dave Walker’ group


Fairy Tales, by the Brewers Grim

Sorry for the silence, but I haven't had much time to blog.

Over on SPCK SSG News (http://spckssg.wordpress.com/) and on Matt Wills blog (http://mattwillschinablogger.blogspot.com/2008/10/whilst-researching-ssgspck-saga-i.html) a memo from the Phil Brewer has appeared with a parable from Russia. It is about a father, a girl and a money lender.

Here is the full tale and post

Friday, January 04, 2008

Farmer and the Money Lender

 
Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.

He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.

2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.

3) But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:
1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the Girl to do?

Well, here is what she did ....

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked." Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

I found this story on the following blogs amongst many others:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/?qid=20080428071916AAgSOdj
http://funbath.blogspot.com/2008/01/farmer-and-money-lender.html
http://www.theubgroup.com/Pegasus-june-aug2006/reader.htm
 
Now - here comes the fun part. Every blog I could find that mentioned the village in the story mentions an Indian village. This tale actually comes from the Indian sub continent. Why did Phil Brewer see fit to change the tale to a Russian one?

What is Phil Brewer trying to say? Remember his brother is being charged in court for fraud. Is St Stephen the Great the poor hard working farmer? Are the US Bankruptcy court, USDAW, the publishers still owed money and the unpaid staff the Money Lender?

On Phil Groom's blog people have suggested more appropriate casting in fairy tales from the Brewers. The wicked step mother and ugly sisters from Cinderella is one, but how about the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland (big grin and then vanishes when people need their wages) or the wicked queen from Snow White?

With the panto season almost upon us (O Yes It Is!) May be we could have some light relief by someone writing some songs and scenes for us.

Agenda for Meeting Wed 10th September

Have been asked to post this concerning the meeting on Wednesday 10th.

Agenda is as follows (at the moment)
  • Welcome and Bible Reading
  • Apologies for Absence
  • Why we are gathered (what has been happening)
  • Update of situation concerning bankruptcy and tribunials
  • Success stories - shops that are reopenning (inc UTB, Norwich, Cardiff and others) or thinking of re-openning
  • Other success stories (the two Raymonds)
  • How can we help as 1) Publishers and 2) Booksellers
  • How can we support people outside of the blogs - regional meetings.
  • Any Other Business
  • Next Meetings
 For any more details please email Phelim McIntyre at spckrefugee@operamail.com but names are needed if you are going asap.