Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

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Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:25 am

Hi All,

I thought I would have another look at this and gather some more information. Unfortunately my knowledge of the UK laws is a little old because it formed part of my Accounting Studies way back when Adam was a lad. However the laws are very similar to Australia on which I am very experienced and it was one of my best subject’s way back then.

The first thing I notice is that it is said there is a liquidator being appointed. We have been told that the decision was made on the 12th July, but as of today the liquidator has not been notified to Companies House. Therefore legally no liquidator has actually been appointed as they have only 7 days to notify Companies House of their appointment. I expect that the appointment date will obviously be as stated 3oth July notified by the 7th August.

These date issues are entirely significant because in any liquidation one of the key issues is the date the actual decision was made. I will explain that in due course. In this case it is clear a liquidator was briefed, possibly around the 12th July (if not earlier) so the decision to put PN into liquidation was also made at an earlier date.

Looking at Roy Stemman’s Paranormal Review it is quite clear that he would have been talking to David Bruton, whom he describes as Psychic Press’s Finance Director, not as I believe his role was,Chairman of Psychic Press, some months before that. It is also clear that he felt the decision had already been chosen then. Therefore we may be looking at a Directors decision as far back as late April or sometime in May.

However, before we look at this let us look at the concept of “liquidation” and the actual rules involved.

Directors rarely liquidate a company, unless all of its debts have been paid off, it has ceased operating and is moribund.

If a company is in a position where the Directors feel it cannot keep trading in its current form they normally appoint an Administrator. This is an experienced accountant who works through the affairs of the company and negotiates with the creditors. Quite often the company enters a scheme of arrangement with its creditors, paying only a proportion of the debt provided the company continues trading. I actually negotiated an agreement on behalf of a consulting client of zero cents in the dollar. The creditors wanted to remain involved with the large contracts the man had and placed caveats on financial controls to make future profits.

This step may well lead to a liquidator being appointed, also if there is a secured creditor they will also often step over an administration, appointing a Receiver. A Receiver takes possession of all assets and sells them for the highest price until all the secured debt is cleared. By that stage the unsecured creditors will have appointed a liquidator who continues the sales to recover what little he can for the unsecured creditors after he takes his fees out (his fees have first right to the money).

It is the liquidator who will investigate such matters as insolvent trading. As I have already written it is normal policy to threaten an action to obtain some money from the Directors to pay their fees.

Now we are being told it is a liquidation that has occurred with PN, therefore, in this case one presumes that the SNU themselves must have triggered this by placing a Statement Of Demand upon Psychic Press for the repayment of their debts. Knowing that they cannot be paid it would trigger the appointment of a liquidator. This suggests the statement of demand was made upon the 3rd July allowing the SNU to trigger the liquidation on the 3oth July. The Statement of Demand is made in the Court and the Court then appoint the liquidator on application by the SNU. Normally it will be the next liquidator in line and the liquidator is in fact an officer of the court with unusual and widespread powers. It may be possible for a major creditor like the SNU to influence the liquidator chosen.

There is no mention of a Receiver so I am presuming there are no bank borrowings secured on the assets of Psychic Press who may step in to pre-empt any liquidation.

I have taken this time to explain it because there are a number of unusual facts in the case of what has happened with Psychic Press and PN. Firstly let us look at the close relationship between the SNU and Psychic Press. The President of one is Chairman of the other and I would presume others of the NEC may have directorships roles in Psychic Press.

So since April or May we have one creditor planning to liquidate Psychic Press with its own officers in key roles within Pyschic Press. Clearly they decided the closure well before the July 3rd date I mention above.

Yet they continued to trade the company although they knew that in liquidation the company could not pay out its creditors. Indeed from the day they decided that the company would be put into liquidation they should have ceased paying any of their suppliers, the SNU for rent or admin charges and receiving book orders or taking newspaper subscriptions.

There are strict laws governing all of this and looking from the outside these may have been broken. Any or all payments to suppliers may be treated as preferences in the liquidation and clearly there are signs of insolvent trading.

However friendly a liquidator may be, once alert to any of these possibilities, I am sure they will be able to scent a way to pay themselves. As a court officer they also have a duty to investigate any and all dealings from the first time that the possibility of closure was raised or decided upon.

Of course none of this may happen. We may all get our subscriptions back, book buyers get their orders fulfilled and all creditors paid. Critically this would include pay out of any staff entitlements and any amounts due to Her Majesties Government. I mention that because in this country failure to do this is one of the prima facie proof’s of insolvent trading. Indeed, if the Aus Government dip into their funds to meet the mandatory staff payments they tend to get pretty mad at the director’s. I can’t think it is different in the UK.

Now clearly this has the makings of a classic liquidation. Everyone who has lost money, albeit even a few weeks advance subscription should write now, firstly to Companies’ house. Complain that you have been told the Company is in liquidation, that you have tried to ask for details from the company but received no answers and as the Liquidator seems not to have been appointed you have no way of registering any claim. Also nominate that as the owners of the company are major creditors and appointed the directors you are concerned with the progress of this apparent “liquidation” where other creditors may be being disadvantaged.

Just use the enquiries email enquiries@companies-house.gov.uk then if you get a reply ask for further investigation. If a few hundred are received quickly I would bet it will start a fire.

The company to quote is PSYCHIC PRESS (1995) LIMITED also quoting Company No. 02978126

I feel sure that this will be far more effective than contacting the SNU and will place any appointed Liquidator on notice.

I also note that our individual debts are of little value. If one lawyer was to step forward to act for one person he could accumulate debt. You can sell your debt to another for a small amount, I would nominate for us 20p paid to a charity, they then need you to provide various proofs of paying PN and can lodge a much larger value proof of debt seeking a place upon the Committee of Inspection (appointed from among the creditors to overview the process.)

It is important that a challenge is made to the appointment of SNU members onto this committee as well.

All in all if you all work together on this, protest to Companies House, to the SNU, to a liquidator and to ensure a powerful voice, in the inspection process, then the SNU will really wish they had sought an alternative course of action.

Somehow I think that they missed all of this, until you have been at close quarters with liquidators you really have no idea of what will transpire and how little control you have.

From what I have seen for the NEC not to have control may be a very scary experience. Additionally what position will some of the NEC be in if the liquidator does choose to pursue insolvent trading. Interesting points. If I was them I would stop the action and seek other avenues of escape from a difficult spot.

This may not be pretty, especially as is bound to happen at some time, the major Newspapers pick up the story. Just imagine the headlines - the SNU never saw it coming, even with all the AFC tutors at their disposal. Gee, I am sure the Sun would love the story. Let us hope that at the very last some form of sanity prevails because they must realise by now this is not going to just go away. Certainly I am sure it is just going to get worse for the New President and his NEC.





Last edited by Admin on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by hiorta on Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:43 am

I wonder whether the market value of the Arthur Findlay College and its extensive grounds, located as they are, in an area regarded by some as being an English Mecca, has had any influence in this mysterious occurance?
Closure by a series of cuts - then sold- with the considerable proceeds being returned to the Arthur Findlay family?
Well maybe the last part certainly wont happen.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by jock on Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:09 pm

http://arthurfindlay.com/arthurs-will/
I am no legal eagle however there is a reference to the Psychic Press maybe some learned person might find an answer

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SNU Interview

Post by zerdini on Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:07 pm

I spoke this morning to Tony Ortzen, editor of Two Worlds, about a different matter.

During the course of our conversation, Tony said that he has conducted an extremely hard-hitting interview with new SNU president David Bruton.

Although he would not give details, Tony said that David gave very full, frank answers to the questions put to him... and had some very surprising news about Psychic News.

However, Tony would not be drawn further.

The September issue of Two Worlds will be out around the middle of next month.

If you would like to subscribe to Two Worlds please email Tony at: tortzen@globalnet.co.uk
with your name and address.

Two Worlds is not yet an online publication.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:45 pm

Of course the shame of this is, in the current circumstances no one else would be available for interview so Mr Bruton has the field. I have said already that he will have an answer to just about any eventuality and will present it with a great deal of conviction.

Really, to have balance, others need to be interviewed but I doubt anyone is in the position to speak in the current environment. On the basis of what has been seen and heard I suspect Mr Bruton's words will not just be accepted verbatim but with many pinches of salt. However, I also would feel that for any committed SNU person who wants to stay onside they will have to be the Gospel.

Sadly subscribing to Two Worlds by credit card is a less secure process than others around, so I am more reticent to do so, or go to the lengths of getting a Bank Cheque and sending it. I notice the web site is being improved so I can imagine a future position when as an overseas subscriber I may buy it.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:35 am

It is interesting if you look at the problems outlined in the Liquidation.

I suppose Bruton and the NEC have a few alternatives they can use in the face of the protest and what must be a growing realisation that this is not going to be a simple matter.

They can brazen it out and liquidate PN, restating they felt it was a financial black hole. There appears little to justify this on the basis of the published offers of financial help.

They can do the above but sweeten it by saying that they wanted to restart an internal magazine but the funds and resouces available precluded the SNU supporting both so PN had to go. As an add on to this there is a track record that no in house publications have been succesful in any of the major organisations. I believe Via Veritas was the best previous effort by the SNU but that failed (Psypioneer has some reports about this in conjunction with its PN articles).

In either case, as a liquidation involves selling assets it is hard to see how they could ensure that PN would never arise again unless it was intended to take over the assets in exchange for their own debt. This would imply they expected the other creditors to fold their tents and walk away (or sweeten the deal with a little money).

Alternatively, with what I would guess to be one day left before they can act upon the Statement of Demand (which I do feel has to have been the legal vehicle to allow a liquidation, it is standard practice prior to a liquidators appointment) they can pull back and wait. They do not have to do it instantly, once the 28 days have passed they have the right to call in the liquidator at any time.

Maybe time to survey the mayhem that is potentially in play and come up with a cunning stunt in words straight out of Blackadder. This could be to acknowledge the protest and say they have decided to continue PN subject to financial assistance and a plan to resuscitate it by negotiation with the other parties who had been offering financial help but only for a period to assess financial viability. One could see other possibilities as well most of which would have to beat a liquidation.

Who knows what will happen but at this stage the only firm news was a liquidator would be appointed tommorrow. It is hard to believe that the SNU, once committed to an action, would pull back despite the overall consequences that may fall out from it. If they do I bet it would be spun very tightly in PR terms and make a fascinating read.

Whatever happens I think we should all watch with great interest especially following Z's comments about the Two Worlds Interviews.

I notice that the blame for PN's demise is laid on certain named individuals in the responses to Roy Stemman's article in Paranormal Review. To quote part from one contributor

http://paranormalreview.com/articles/20100721
"LSSNU
Judith Seeman & Ducan Gascoyne are the main players in getting rid of PN what an example of spirituality by the spirtual vice president who has not in her 1st year in that position has not givern any new ideas to the membership. Go back to Spain you are not wanted here."

Maybe this is Mr Bruton's let out - it was the previous President who did it not him. But then again, one must ask, as a Director of Psychic Press, Mr. Bruton could hardly have been unaware of what was being decided about the fate of PN and would surely have been involved in the decision making.
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Two Worlds interview with david Bruton

Post by Inspiration on Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:47 pm

I am very concerned to read that Tony Ortzen is running an interview with David Bruton. With all the furore surrounding the legal issues of closing Psychic News, do you really think he is going to tell the truth about what has been going on? Why didn't Tony interview the Psychic News editor? Surely this would greater serve the public and answer some of the real questions? I know I shan't bother wasting my time reading it.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by zerdini on Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:18 pm

Inspiration wrote:I am very concerned to read that Tony Ortzen is running an interview with David Bruton. With all the furore surrounding the legal issues of closing Psychic News, do you really think he is going to tell the truth about what has been going on? Why didn't Tony interview the Psychic News editor? Surely this would greater serve the public and answer some of the real questions? I know I shan't bother wasting my time reading it.

Both the PN editor and Tony Ortzen have made their views known in the final issue of PN.

David Bruton, as the newly-elected President of the SNU, should also be given an opportunity to put his views across.

"audi alteram partem" - "hear the other side."

It embodies the concept that no person should be condemned unheard.

I believe in freedom of speech/expression not censorship or banning - no matter from which side.

BTW, Tony tells me that Sue Farrow (PN editor) is not giving any interviews at the present time.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Eilis on Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:55 pm

[quote="hiorta"]I wonder whether the market value of the Arthur Findlay College and its extensive grounds, located as they are, in an area regarded by some as being an English Mecca, has had any influence in this mysterious occurance?
Closure by a series of cuts - then sold- with the considerable proceeds being returned to the Arthur Findlay family?
Well maybe the last part certainly wont happen.[/quote]




Thanks to hiorta for putting into words something that had long been a worry at the back of my mind, i.e. that the nearness of Stansted Airport puts Stansted Hall and its gardens (and all the fields round about) at risk from property developers. Even though there may not now be an imminent threat from a potential extra runway, airports generate a need for building space. Property developers are determined critters with keen noses, and some of them will have scented out Stansted Hall and grounds as a profitable opportunity. Wouldn't Stansted Hall make a nice hotel?



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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by zerdini on Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:46 pm

Eilis wrote:
hiorta wrote:I wonder whether the market value of the Arthur Findlay College and its extensive grounds, located as they are, in an area regarded by some as being an English Mecca, has had any influence in this mysterious occurance?
Closure by a series of cuts - then sold- with the considerable proceeds being returned to the Arthur Findlay family?
Well maybe the last part certainly wont happen.




Thanks to hiorta for putting into words something that had long been a worry at the back of my mind, i.e. that the nearness of Stansted Airport puts Stansted Hall and its gardens (and all the fields round about) at risk from property developers. Even though there may not now be an imminent threat from a potential extra runway, airports generate a need for building space. Property developers are determined critters with keen noses, and some of them will have scented out Stansted Hall and grounds as a profitable opportunity. Wouldn't Stansted Hall make a nice hotel?



This came up many times over the years when Gordon Higginson was President but he remained loyal to Arthur Findlay's wishes even through difficult financial circumstances,

Who is to say what will happen in the future?

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:44 pm

I have posted information under a heading 'Psychic News - The Editor Speaks' but will also post it here. See below:

"Susan Farrow - Editor, Psychic News
To date I have made no public comment on the SNU's unilateral decision to wind up Psychic Press (1995) Ltd. and I do not propose to do so here. However, speculation abounds regarding the fate of Spiritualism's flagship newspaper, and I would like to thank Roy Stemman for his accurate and perceptive coverage of an issue which is a source of concern to Spiritualists worldwide, not least the editorial team of Psychic News.

My sole reason for posting today is to confirm that an offer has been made to the SNU to purchase Psychic News with a view to making it independent again for the first time in many years. As editor, I wholeheartedly support this offer. The dearest wish of Maurice Barbanell (a minister of the SNU) was that Psychic News would be a vehicle for the truth of Spiritualism itself and not allied to any individual group within the Spiritualist movement. Negotiations between the two parties will take place shortly and I ask all who have PN's future at heart to send out thoughts that guidance and inspiration will be given to all involved in those negotiations."

This and other comments of relevance can be found on Roy Stemmans website: www.paranormalreview.com/

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:16 am

Hi Z,

I note your comments about the impending interview of David Bruton in Two Worlds. I note that I said it was sad that probably another view could not be obtained but I take it Tony Ortzen has approached people like the editor of PN for an interview?

Would not that ensure the September issue is a balanced publication?
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:23 am

Inspiration wrote:I am very concerned to read that Tony Ortzen is running an interview with David Bruton. With all the furore surrounding the legal issues of closing Psychic News, do you really think he is going to tell the truth about what has been going on? Why didn't Tony interview the Psychic News editor? Surely this would greater serve the public and answer some of the real questions? I know I shan't bother wasting my time reading it.

Hi Inspiration,

I tend to agree with you. It is somewhat puzzling to see that apparently Tony Otzen has interviewed David Bruton but not apparently the Editor of Psychic News.

While it might be that the editor is not in a position to speak 'on the record' at the present time, it is rather surprising to think that Ortzon may not have bothered to try. A one sided version of what has occurred is surely a less than satisfactory approach in such an important story.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:28 am

Z wrote:

Both the PN editor and Tony Ortzen have made their views known in the final issue of PN.

Well I for one would beg to differ on this remark. I truly doubt that the editor of PN was in any position to really make known their views in the final issue of PN, especially given it was an edition which was going to be subject to the approval of the SNU.


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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:31 am

[quote="zerdiniBTW, Tony tells me that Sue Farrow (PN editor) is not giving any interviews at the present time.[/quote]

Oh, is that so? And did Mr Ortzen ask the editor of Psychic News for an interview and she declined?

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:37 am

As for David Bruton being given an opprtunity to put his point of view across I would just say this: When he tells the members of the SNU, and ALL the subscribers of PN what was done, by whom and why, AND gives the editor and staff of PN the opprtunity to also give their view of what occurred, when and by whom, it might then be considered a valid exercise.


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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:00 am

Lis wrote:I have posted information under a heading 'Psychic News - The Editor Speaks' but will also post it here. See below:

"Susan Farrow - Editor, Psychic News
To date I have made no public comment on the SNU's unilateral decision to wind up Psychic Press (1995) Ltd. and I do not propose to do so here. However, speculation abounds regarding the fate of Spiritualism's flagship newspaper, and I would like to thank Roy Stemman for his accurate and perceptive coverage of an issue which is a source of concern to Spiritualists worldwide, not least the editorial team of Psychic News.

My sole reason for posting today is to confirm that an offer has been made to the SNU to purchase Psychic News with a view to making it independent again for the first time in many years. As editor, I wholeheartedly support this offer.

Hi All,

Let us hope that this is achieved. It is the best answer all round and I believe the SNU should have canvassed this and any other suggestions before causing all of the horrendous issues their stealthy approach has. Not liquidating the company will help avoid any of the possible unpleasant outcomes suggested above. Indeed if the NEC facilitate this transaction with a free will placing no barriers in the way, as I am sure most SNU members and all independent Spirirualists believe they should, then by eating a bit of humble pie they may rescue some of their reputation.

I am still concerned about the liquidation, I understand that the SNU Blackpool congress was told a liquidator HAD been appointed. However, if this is the case the Liquidator has not notified Companies House within 7 days so perhaps the position is not as clear as that.

I have outlined the law above, it is just possible the directors did appoint one. Psychic Press has 4 directors, one of whom is also a director of the SNU (David Bruton). SNU is one of the major creditors.

Had they already used a Statement of Demand and appointed a liquidator but not actioned the demand? If that is the case then the action occured sometime end of May or early June.

The date is critical here because as a creditor the SNU are also owners and through NEC members who are directors of Psychuc Press controlled its activities.

So knowing it was to be liquidated they continued to receive monies, take orders and pay people. In a liquidation these could be regarded as serious matters.

To place some personal interest to it in the same paranormal review someone wrote
Guest
If what I have read elsewhere is correct my cheque for the Stuart Alexander seance was cashed after the decision to liquidate the company was made. Surely this is not legal as they knew the event would not take place. I think we need some answers

Then we also have everyone who placed a subscription for future papers, advertisers paying in advance book buyers etc. Then the trading creditors providing goods and services. The employees willingly trying to promote and improve Psychic News.

All doing so in a belief that Psychic Press would happily continue trading solvently whilst the Directors and Owners had already made a decision to liquidate it. Is it also possible they are trying to control the liquidation? It may appear the SNU has acted only out of interest for its own position and its officers, who are also directors of Psychic Press have followed this line. Certainly there was a duty to warn people the moment the action was decided upon which looking at the above time line may well be 2-3 months ago.

What about all of the other people owed money, given the SNU members are not going away in their protests and all of these disadvantaged people will not go away either, if the liquidation goes ahead the SNU will lose control of it and have no say in what happens to Psychic Press's assets.

I suspect most people can see the huge advantage to all concerned that the SNU ensures this offer is treated reasonably and the transaction concluded rapidly to stop further damage to PN. It also prevents all the possible problems that will accrue to the SNU through the issues that arise in liquidation, a certain win for that organisation.

Let us all send out positive thoughts to all concerned, that a resolution can be reached to secure a sound independent Psychic News. I bet the Spirit Side pioneers will join in too.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by zerdini on Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:58 am

Lis wrote:[quote="zerdiniBTW, Tony tells me that Sue Farrow (PN editor) is not giving any interviews at the present time.

Oh, is that so? And did Mr Ortzen ask the editor of Psychic News for an interview and she declined? [/quote]

I have known Tony for over forty years and he is not in the habit of making things up.

In addition, I spoke to Sue myself and she told me that she would not be giving interviews at the present time for reasons which were perfectly understandable and with which I fully concurred.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:58 pm

Z I didn't suggest Ortzen had made anything up. I asked whether he had in fact asked her for an interview which she had declined.

That question deserves a straightforward Yes or No - not rudeness.

As to whether you had also spoken to the editor has nothing to do with the question asked.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Lis on Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:21 am

I have taken the liberty of posting below a comment made by Geoff Griffiths, a valued Spiritualist and past contributor to Psychic News, posted on www.paranormalreview.com/

I believe what Geoff has to say is well worth reading.

"Geoff Griffiths
It is important not to blame the SNU for this; it was brought about by approximately ten members of the NEC, without any reference to the members. This, in spite of the outgoing president having said at the 2009 Conference that any closure of the Psychic News would be a matter for the members.

It is the NEC who have, in this instance, dragged the SNU's name through the mud. They really did not seem to have considered anything beyond the financial aspects of the question.

PN is a space where people can present ideas and exchange views. It is a place where church leaders (worthy of the name) can learn about the environment in which they operate and gain a sense of their purpose. It is a cohesive force which unites Spiritualists in 63 countries across the world and has until now enhanced the leadership of the SNU as the largest Spiritualist movement in the world. Was this not vastly more valuable than the piffling £3,000 per year they were reputed to be subsidising it by?

To replace this with a vacuum, was an act of supreme folly and creates an environment in which only rumour mills, uncertainty and even dictatorships thrive. Further, to think that the SNU - with its pitiful attempts at publications - could produce anything better that the Susan Farrow product, is an act of vanity or self-delusion, or both.

But here is the key to PN's long-term future - circulation. We need to have an 'each one reach one' campaign with each reader recruiting another. There are many ways to boost circulation in an affinity group like ours - and experts exist whom we can consult. But word of mouth is also a powerful way we can all take some personal responsibility in regaining that audience that made a judgment on PN when it was less well edited. They need to get up to date and return to the fold. Its not longer an ‘ought-to’ read, its now a ‘must-read'.

Approximately 20% of SNU members are readers. This may sound disheartening, but that is a very significant number. According to the Pareto's principle - the 'law of the vital few and the trivial many' - 80% of results are brought about by 20% of the activity; 80% of sales are created by 20% of the sales force. Most areas of human activity have spotted this principle in action when they have looked.

So the SNU readership of PN is actually its cream and although the NEC may have thought they might offend a general cross-section of the movement in closing PN, they were actually striking at its most vital members. At the movement's very heart.

Hence the firestorm of protest which must have staggered the NEC. They have many fences to mend. I only hope they will not make things worse for themselves by declining the offer now placed before them.

But let's remember, committees are made up of human beings. They are driven by many motivations - worthy and otherwise - and these can attract the wrong kind of inspiration to their work. A problem in every Spiritualist committee from time to time. Those in spirit life that Imperator termed 'the adversaries' (Stainton Moses' Spirit Teachings) must find our committees, particularly the NEC, as presenting prize targets. It is very important that the good people who work on these committees in our churches and at other levels, examine themselves and their actions in that forum where egotism, competing interests and personal agendas can leave us open to those very presences.

I say it again, we need a Vision for the movement. ‘Winning the world for Spiritualism’ is what drove our pioneers. Is this, or that, action helping us attain that vision or isn’t it? It’s a question that can spring us out of many a spiritual dilemma if we test it against the Vision.

Yes, the NEC have messed up. They now know it and will, I have no doubt, work hard to redeem the situation. At risk of seeming to break the 100% opposition to this act, I say: Let us give them a chance to unwind themselves and the Union out of this sorry episode."

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by zerdini on Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:42 am

Lis wrote:Z I didn't suggest Ortzen had made anything up. I asked whether he had in fact asked her for an interview which she had declined.

That question deserves a straightforward Yes or No - not rudeness.

As to whether you had also spoken to the editor has nothing to do with the question asked.

I am sorry you saw a straightfoward answer as rudeness. I thought it was quite clear: "Tony tells me that Sue Farrow (PN editor) is not giving any interviews at the present time."

She also told me that too for reasons I understood. It was also confirmation of what she had previously told Tony.

Sue herself in a comment in Paranormal Review said: "To date I have made no public comment on the SNU's unilateral decision to wind up Psychic Press (1995) Ltd. and I do not propose to do so here."

That seems clear enough to me.

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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:06 am

Another Protest by The Arthur Findlay Society

http://arthurfindlay.com/2010/08/01/whats-wrong-with-the-snu-psychic-news-shut-down/
I note that they quote Lis's post from Paranormal Review

Anyone interested can also see the will which passed Stansred Hall to the SNU

It is also worth keeping up with the posts on the Paranormal Review site
http://paranormalreview.com/articles/20100721

Unsurprisingly the SNU is not getting a good press on there, however, as Geoff Griffith has said it is not the organisation but individuals in power that have led to this debacle.

Like Geoff I hope that they grab hold of this golden opportunity to start to extricate themselves from the mire by selling PN to the interested party. I can only see much more heart ache and trouble for the movement if they reject these advances. It appears that the protests will just continue to intensify and the legal ramifications outlined above will surely then come into play.

Come on the NEC let all Spiritualists have the proud and independent Psychic News back, I am sure the entire membership of the SNU would support that.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:18 am

For information my previous remarks about writing to Companies House, although maybe creating some concern, are not relevant to the actual pursuit of a company for improper trading.

At this stage there are many creditors out there who have not been formally notified that a liquidator has been appointed even if not "activated" .

Everyone who paid money in for newspaper subscriptions, books and tickets to either Gordon Smith/Mary Armour or Stewart Alexander is a creditor for the proportion of the service they paid for which is not delivered.

Additionally it is clear that the Directors of Psychic Press (and certainly the SNU because the directors would not have acted without the owners permission) approved the liquidation in June or earlier. Because they continued to accept monies after this date but for future services, that they were aware would not be provided, monies that they then used to maintain the business, despite knowing these outstanding amounts would not be capable of repayment, they almost certainly acted in an improper manner (I believe that may be a serious understatement).

Additionally the basic notices and requirements were not fulfilled, especially if this is intended to be a Members Voluntary Liquidation. If you go here you can download the companies house pamphlet on insolvency. http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/about/pdf/gpo8.pdf

Once you have read this and considered the facts, you may, if you have a debt outstanding and feel agrieved go to the next web link and register a complaint using the appropriate forms. I believe everyone who has lost money, especially those who remmitted that money after say June 1st should register a complaint. A torrent of these is bound to create at least some interest in the CIB unit.

http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/cib/complain.htm

I draw attention to the 15 most important questions the CIB may face and what they may act upon numbers 5 & 7 are relevant. Note that all complaints are kept anonymous so neither the Directors nor the SNU will know who complained.

5. What if the company is in liquidation?

CIB will consider complaints against companies which have entered into formal insolvency proceedings (administration, administrative receivership, and voluntary liquidation).

However, CIB is unlikely to investigate where the misconduct alleged can be dealt with by the Insolvency Practitioner involved, who has a duty to report to the Secretary of State under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, and can also report criminal matters to the Secretary of State.

CIB will not consider a complaint against a company in compulsory liquidation (i.e. where a winding up order has been made by the court) because the Official Receiver has a statutory duty to investigate such companies, and will report all matters of concern to the Secretary of State for BIS.

A list of Official Receivers can be found on the Insolvency Service Website at http://www.insolvency-service.co.uk/officemap.htm.

7. What sort of complaints may CIB investigate?

Any complaint that provides good reason for an investigation and where there is both a public interest in investigating and the prospect of follow up action resulting. Generally there must be reasonable grounds to suspect fraud, serious misconduct or material irregularity in a company’s affairs.

(CIB does not carry out criminal investigations, but its findings may be used to launch criminal proceedings).

CIB will not usually investigate where:

· The matter is already being investigated (including a criminal investigation) and a further investigation would produce no additional benefit for the wider public and/or would hamper the existing investigation.

· The only issue is non payment of a debt, or resolution of a commercial dispute (unless there appears to be a pattern of misconduct).

· The issue is internal to the company, its management, or shareholders and there is no wider public interest in investigating. CIB has no powers to intervene in a company’s internal affairs, management or control.

· The complaint is better dealt with by another public body (e.g. the Financial Services Authority for complaints against businesses in the financial services industry).

· The complaint is about the quality of goods or services, or delay in supplying them. You should consider contacting “Consumer Direct” in the first instance www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or telephone 08454 04 05 06 .

HOWEVER, where payment has been made in advance, and the company appears to have no intention of supplying the goods or services, it may be appropriate for CIB.


This last paragraph shows that anyone who placed an order after the date of the decision has a direct right to seek action.

Indeed currently given those who have lost money have nowhere to seek an answer to the future of their money it seems critical they do this now as all of the notifications required by the directors and liquidator per the Companies House brochure have not been fulfilled.

Of course if the SNU sells Psychc Press to the proposed buyers then this will all become irrelevant and I am sure the CIB would drop any investigation in pleasure that maybe these commitments would be met by new owners.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:16 am

-I notice a couple of posts on Paranormal Review

Merlin 21 hours ago

The paper is now gone however there is a buyer for it. I believe it is already bought with a management buy out plus the JV Trust input. Present subscribers and advertisers please expect to be contacted soon with offers from the new paper. By the way they have kept the mast head Merlin

Roy Stemman 20 hours ago in reply to Merlin

This is not correct. My understanding is that no agreement has yet been reached between the SNU and a potential buyer. I will post news of the outcome as soon as a decision is made.
I think both have relevance. Although Merlin has been known to overstate things I notice he has some sources close to the SNU so there may be some fire in the smoke but no one would buy PN without the masthead so clearly no deal would come from that as Roy said.

If this is where it stops then it’s time to go back to the legal issues.
It is interesting to take time to look at that Companies House Brochure on Insolvency.
I am very surprised that when the directors decided there was any risk of insolvency they did not appoint an Administrator. That step safeguards them pretty well against any claims they were trading whilst insolvent. However, it does take away any control of the business from the owners or Directors albeit the intention is to try and find a way to continue the business.
Either of those points, loss of control or continuing the business, or a combination of both may be the reason why they did not follow that path. However, by not doing so they left the Directors exposed to a much higher level of risk.
Now we know that they say that a liquidator has been appointed but not activated. A very strange situation.

So let us explore the rules outlined in the pamphlet
“Chapter 5
Voluntary liquidation
There are two kinds of voluntary liquidation:
members' voluntary liquidation (MVL) - which means the directors have made a statutory declaration of solvency;
creditors' voluntary liquidation (CVL) - which means that the directors have not made such a declaration.

1. When can a company go into MVL?
This can take place when the directors of a company believe that the company is solvent. A majority of the company's directors must make a statutory declaration of solvency in the 5 weeks before a resolution to wind up the company is passed.
2. What is in the declaration?
The statutory declaration will state that the directors have made a full inquiry into the company's affairs and that, having done so, they believe that the company will be able to pay its debts in full within 12 months from the start of the winding-up. The declaration will include a statement of the company's assets and liabilities as at the latest practicable date before making the declaration.
3. When does liquidation actually start?
The liquidation starts when the members, in general meeting, pass a resolution (Companies Act 2006) (usually a special resolution) to wind up the company voluntarily.
4. Must notice of voluntary liquidation be given to anyone?
Yes. Notice of the special resolution for voluntary winding-up of the company must be published in the Gazette within 14 days of the general meeting. The company must also send a copy of the declaration and the special resolution to the Registrar within 15 days of the general meeting.”
Hmm this is actually easy to understand.

Before they decide to go into liquidation all the directors have to sign statutory declarations that the Company is Solvent therefore able to pay all its debts. They then pass this onto the members who pass a motion agreeing to this. Now I take it after the Board the NEC ratified it because they then told the members it was happening in Blackpool (in contravention to Duncan Gascoyne’s prior year promise that the members would have a say on PN)
Pretty simple but did the board do the statutory declarations. Additionally note that the requirement for notices has not been fulfilled, to give the necessary warnings to other. These notices are part of the duty of the board.
So if it was an MVL it was an entirely flawed process and even to date, when many people are looking at losing money in an insolvency still no notices have been issued.
Z has recently helped our knowledge about this in another thread
“Duncan Gascoyne in his speech to Conference also said: ”The decision to liquidate was taken by the Board of Psychic Press (1995) Ltd and has subsequently been endorsed by the National Executive Committee. As SNU President I am announcing this today, as I feel that the Union churches and members should be informed first of all about the decisions made and the reasons why.”
So clearly this was meant to be an MVL which with all the interplay between the board and the NEC, etc and the Statutory Declarations could well have been in process since April. Of course without those Stat Dec’s it’s not a valid MVL and of course the notices should have been issued by the directors.
However, the law says that it can be moved to a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation CVL. In this case I think it figures that the directors would not have completed statutory declarations anyway, so they should have done an administration or gone straight to a CVL with no need for the owners ratification.
Let’s look at the rules for that
5. When may a CVL be appropriate?
A company may go into CVL when it cannot pay its debts.
6. What must the company do?
The company passes a special resolution (Companies Act 2006) to say that it cannot continue in business because of its liabilities and that it is advisable to wind up.
The resolution must be:
advertised in the Gazette within 14 days; and
sent to the Registrar within 15 days.

A meeting of creditors must be held in the next 14 days after passing the resolution. Notice of the meeting must be sent to the creditors at least 7 days before the meeting. Also, the directors must prepare a statement of affairs for consideration at the meeting, and appoint one of themselves to attend and preside over the meeting.
When the liquidator is appointed, the directors must provide him or her with a statement of affairs and otherwise co-operate with the liquidator.
7. Does the company have to advertise notice of the meeting?
Yes. The meeting must be advertised in the Gazette and in two newspapers in the area where the company has its principal place of business.
Notice all the things the Directors must do, none of which have happened to date.
In honesty the Directors are in a serious bind as of now and should not necessarily expect the NEC to bail them out.
There have been no notices to anyone of the liquidation yet PN has closed and the book shop is effectively out of business. The main creditor the SNU has known all along and received a significant potential benefit, a preference over all the others who still know nothing.
I think everyone can clearly see the process has fallen way outside the rules and regulations of the Insolvency Act.
There is one way out, to sell the entire company to someone who will meet and pay the creditors. Yet there is Merlin above saying that the NEC wants to hang onto the masthead.
In a CVL the assets have to be sold to the highest bidder. I am sure that if the buyout fails the NEC cannot expect people to stand idly by as they acquire the assets, whilst the other creditors and employees go hang. Just look at the rules that have been breached and imagine what will happen when the famous UK tabloids pick up on the story and sense blood.
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Re: Psychic News, SNU Spiritualist National Union and Liquidator

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:02 am

Hi All

Given we are obviously not in possession of any really definite news apart from the fact that PN has stopped publication and the Book Shop yesterday made contact to say it was effectively non operational I thought we could look at a few things that put together may allow us to analyse some possibilities.

Looking first at my analysis above it appears that the steps used by the Psychic Press Directors and the NEC in creating a liquidation were not made in the proper manner. However they are clearly unfazed by this and confident they can get past it. One would have imagined, if that was not the case and they felt at all at risk they would have grabbed the chance to sell Psychic Press very quickly with both hands.

For the life of me I cannot see the defence they can put up to any charges of improper conduct in appointing the liquidator and failing to notify creditors/companies house. They may just feel they have a good link with the liquidator and the remaining creditors, apart from themselves, are small, inconsequential and unlikely to be able to exert any pressure.

So we apparently have the NEC as owners of Psychic Press (1995) Pty Ltd (which owns Psychic Press and the Bookshop, who may not seem to be convinced of a need to sell things and are also unconvinced that an Independent Psychic News is worth supporting by selling it on to new owners. I can only see that possibility from the facts as they stand because if they felt at risk then a quick sale would have been a wise option and would obviously have facilitated a faster return of PN into print.

So what have we discovered so far which has been reported in various places, some of this information has also appeared elsewhere.
Let me just post a list of items
http://www.paranormalreview.com/articles/20100721
1 Geoff Griffiths
It is a cohesive force which unites Spiritualists in 63 countries across the world and has until now enhanced the leadership of the SNU as the largest Spiritualist movement in the world. Was this not vastly more valuable than the piffling £3,000 per year they were reputed to be subsidising it by?


2 LSSNU (Long Service Award (LSSNU)
Granted to Spiritualists with 25 years service to the SNU at National, Branch, District or Church level.)
Judith Seaman & Duncan Gascoyne are the main players in getting rid of PN what an example of spirituality by the spiritual vice president who has not in her 1st year in that position has not given any new ideas to the membership.


3. harry

Don't be surprised if they try to re-launch it as the voice of SNU-ism only and no one will want to read that censored babble. class B membership will rapidly drop to zero and they'll be in a worse state than ever Hard luck snu - you've brought it on yourselves.

James
Well said Harry; nobody wants to see a publication with just the views of the SNU.
We need a publication that has total editorial freedom.
I wouldn't be a bit surprised if SNU launched their own publication; at least if they did we would know the real reason for killing off Psychic News.
Many members of the SNU read Psychic News every week and will be very annoyed at it's murder (as someone has put it). I guess a proportion of them will decide that belonging to an organisation that kills of anything that has the right to criticise them no longer sits right with their beliefs

4 Merlin

The paper is now gone however there is a buyer for it. I believe it is already bought with a management buy out plus the JV Trust input. Present subscribers and advertisers please expect to be contacted soon with offers from the new paper. By the way they have kept the mast head Merlin

Roy Stemman in reply to Merlin
This is not correct. My understanding is that no agreement has yet been reached between the SNU and a potential buyer. I will post news of the outcome as soon as a decision is made.

5 Roy on Death of 'Psychic News'?
What I believe will happen is that Psychic Press (1995) Ltd will go into liquidation very shortly – an announcement to that effect can be expected at the AGM. What I and many other observers are waiting to see is what happens next.

One option is that Psychic News becomes part of the SNU, to be run by an SNU committee. If that is the case, it seems highly likely that the newspaper will lose its independence - but independence was a requirement of the transfer from the STF to the SNU back in 1995. It is certain that editor Sue Farrow, who has done a superb job since she took over at the beginning of 2008, would also find it extremely difficult to produce a publication that was just the voice of the SNU. Would she, for example, be allowed to write about non-SNU mediums and events? And since membership of committees can change regularly, how would she cope with the inconsistencies that would arise as new people with different views tried to exert their influence?

6. Simon Forsyth in Psychic Times http://thepsychictimes.com/psychic-news-dies-as-snu-confirm-their-murderous-deed.htm
This is why the ‘criminal’ decision by the SNU to terminate its existence will be so hard to take for so many. Reports suggest the SNU pulled the plug due to the paper’s financial difficulties. However, inside sources report that funds from benefactors was offered - but turned down.

7 From Duncan Gascoynes Presidential Address at Blackpool 17th July
The second issue I am going to give you the facts about is the current situation regarding Psychic News
Over the past few years I have constantly emphasised in my Presidential Addresses the need to support Psychic News by stating that we should ‘Use it, or lose it’. Last year I stated quite plainly that the future of it was now in your hands. Were my words heeded, the answer is a resounding No.

From the lack of response received it would appear to me as President of the Union that there was no real motive or incentive from the majority of SNU Spiritualists or the Movement in general to keep it going, apart from a few individuals who feel it should be kept going for historic or sentimental reasons.
However feeling sentimental about it does not pay the high costs involved in publishing a weekly newspaper.

You have all been circulated with a copy of the Union’s Financial Statements for 2009 and in these you should have noted that in the Trustees’ Report on page 12 their concerns over the financial situation regarding Psychic Press (1995) Ltd.

As the situation stands at present the Company cannot continue, as it is no longer in a viable financial position to do so and we now have no choice to take the appropriate action and liquidate it.

Due to the fact that Psychic Press (1995) Ltd is responsible for publishing Psychic News this now means that this in its present form will cease publication on the 31st July 2010. Over the past few weeks the Union has been looking at various ways of retaining Psychic News. One point is quite clear and that is that it cannot be done in its present format.There has to be a completely new approach if it is to be revived and this has to be considered very carefully.

The current rumour going around that it was I who removed David Bruton from being the Executive Director of Psychic Press is completely untrue. It was a National Executive Committee decision at the request of David Bruton himself, due to his other commitments.

A further rumour is that I personally took the decision to close down Psychic News. This is completely untrue as I have with the full knowledge of the other SNU Officers and those concerned spent a great amount of time and effort in trying to keep it going and also finding the finance to do this. Otherwise it would have shut down weeks ago.

The decision to liquidate was taken by the Board of Psychic Press (1995) Ltd and this has subsequently been endorsed by the National Executive Committee. As SNU President I am announcing this today as I feel that the Union churches and members should be informed first of all about the decisions made and reasons why. I am sure that when the Psychic Press Report is dealt with, ideas for the future of Psychic News will be expressed.

8. NEW SNU PRESIDENT’S VISION FOR THE FUTURE David Bruton Blackpool Conference
We have heard much this weekend about Psychic News at its future, can I state here and now that I fully support the need for a mouth piece for our movement, for too long we have hid our light, Psychic News is too important to lose, however we have to accept the need for change and evolve the format into one acceptable in this modern age, this is the challenge and I will pledge to you today that every effort will be made to secure success, this is one aspect of our history that is too important to lose.

9. "From: Psychic News [mailto@snu.org.uk]
Sent: Friday, 6 August 2010 6:41 PM
To: pn@snu.org.uk
Subject: Bookshop sales

Dear Customer,
The Psychic News online bookshop is currently closed for new orders, however you can still browse the site and place an order direct with us, subject to availability. For availability and to order please contact us on:

Tel: 44 (0)1279 817050 Fax: 44 (0)1279 817051

Email: psychicnews1@btconnect.com

We will notify you as soon as normal service is resumed.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you for your custom
Regards from
The online bookshop team"

10. Re: "Psychic News" to Close
by almera Yesterday at 23:08
I can confirm our association has had an email cofirming the new owners will contact us for adverts soon. They also confirmed they are keeping the masthead. It is Merlin that assumes it is a management buy out and we shall wait and see if this is so. almera

11. Re: "Psychic News" to Close
by Lis Today at 8:37
So Almera, you state that your association has received an email from "the new owners" who "confirmed they are keeping the masthead!"

Who did this email come from? Who are the new owners?

Why, and how, are these 'new owners' able to send out emails of this kind when the company Psychic Press (1995) Pty Ltd is not in liquidation or administration, and no creditors (apart from the SNU) have been informed or given the opportunity to seek clarification of the current status of the company?

In the next post I will analyse this so we can think on a few scenarios


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