Northampton Town stadium work boss had 'already failed'

Sixfields Stadium's unfinished East Stand
Image caption Work on the East Stand has still not been completed

The director of a company employed to oversee the development of a football stadium had failed in a previous business venture, the BBC has learned.

Howard Grossman's firm was appointed by Northampton Town to manage the building of a new stand using £10m of taxpayers' money.

A BBC investigation has found one of his previous companies went into administration owing £1.2m.

His lawyer said some of the information was incorrect but did not elaborate.

"Our clients are bound by confidentiality provisions under a settlement agreement and as such cannot provide comment," the Debello Law firm said in a statement.

The stadium redevelopment remains unfinished and Mr Grossman's company, 1st Land Ltd, has been placed in administration. Northampton Borough Council is still trying to recover the money.

It said it carried out checks before it signed off the loan for the work on the East Stand at Sixfields.

The BBC investigation found another of Mr Grossman's companies, County Isle of Wight Ltd, went into administration two years ago with debts of £1.2m.

Administrator Alan Bradstock submitted a report on the conduct of the directors to the government, but no action was taken.

He said in his liquidator's progress report in July last year: "Loans had been drawn by both directors. It appears a total of £145,365 is outstanding. They believe the sums are not due.

"In accordance with the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 I have submitted a report on the conduct of the directors to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills."

The BBC has looked at the accounts of another company of which Mr Grossman's son Marcus was a director, along with David Cardoza, who is chairman of Northampton Town Football Club.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Architects fees for the design of David Cardoza's family home were paid for by 1st Land Ltd, the BBC has been told

That company, County Cemetery Service Ltd, went into administration in October 2014. It had two unsecured creditors - 1st Land Ltd and County Homes Herts Ltd - to the tune of £282,156.

Its administrator reports that the assets were sold to Centurion Infinity Ltd. Companies House records show that one the directors of Centurion Infinity Ltd is Marcus Grossman.

In another development, the BBC has been told that thousands of pounds in architect fees for the design of Mr Cardoza's family home near Northampton were paid for by 1st Land Ltd before it went into administration.

Architect Stuart Loxton said he was then asked to reissue the invoice for over £18,000 with a new title, "Northampton Town Football Club - Design Concept Plans".

When asked about the house plans, Mr Cardoza said: "I have no knowledge of any of these invoices. Any suggestion that I do is false."

Northampton Town currently faces a winding-up petition from HM Revenue & Customs over £166,000, which is due to be heard next Monday.

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