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A businesswoman faces a £7m recovery, after losing her case against the Leeds City Council (7 February 2013)

Date: 07/02/2013
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, A businesswoman faces a £7m recovery, after losing her case against the Leeds City Council

The Leeds City Council, which was sued for £40m damages by a businesswoman Jan Fletcher over the way the council, ran the competition to develop the city’s arena, won the case when the court rejected Ms Fletcher’s claims.
Mr Justice Supperstone passing the judgment described that Ms Fletcher’s evidence was not satisfactory and that she had the tendency to exaggerate and he was not satisfied with some of the conversations she repeated in the court had actually taken place.
Now the Leeds City Council was looking to recover £7m legal bill which it had incurred in defending their case and costs that Ms Fletcher ran up.
Lawyers for Ms Fletcher’s property company, Montpellier Estates, made accusations of fraud and dishonesty against senior council officers and former council leader Andrew Carter which were later dropped or dismissed.
Montpellier had put forward a site known as City One in a council competition to find a developer for the arena in 2007. But the council had later cancelled the tender and developed the arena by itself on the Claypit Lane site.
Tom Riordan the council chief executive said that the case had been a huge drain on resources at a time when the council had to concentrate on major savings. He said that he was delighted that his staff’s integrity was proven to be clean.
Councillor Carter said he was “extremely angry” that he and the council had been taken to court.
He added that he never believed there were any merits in the case which has been hugely stressful for the council in general and for particular council officers.
In a statement, Ms Fletcher said she was “surprised” at the judgment and was considering an appeal but remained “passionate about the city of Leeds”.
She added that those who knew how the bid for the Arena had went on they would understand why her company had taken action against the Leeds City Council.

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