You knew it was coming, didnâ€™t you! And believe me, Iâ€™m not just going through the motions here, there really have been developments. Important developments that we shall discuss in just a minute.
Now Iâ€™ll say what I always say at this point â€“ For anyone joining the saga I strongly suggest that you get up to speed with: Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2, Weep for Wales 3, Weep for Wales 4, Weep for Wales 5, Weep for Wales 6, Weep for Wales 7.
Letâ€™s start on a happy note before moving on to discuss the murky world of Paul and Rowena Williams and their interesting ways of doing business.
For on Sunday July 29 there was a garden party at the Radnorshire Arms Hotel in Presteigne. Everybody was invited and a wonderful time was had by all. Here are some photographs from the event.
The jolly get-together was called the Pants on Fire Party, an obvious reference to the countless lies told by Paul and Rowena Williams, plus those in their inner circle. In the poster a shifty-looking Keith Partridge says, â€˜Psst!! wanna buy a hotel chain? No, how about a hot Bentley?â€™
To be honest, I wouldnâ€™t buy a lavatory chain from that man.
As I say, a good time was had by all, though Paul and Rowena Williams didnâ€™t turn up . . . which probably explains why everybody had a good time!
Having some spare time last week I delved into the history of the oldest of Paul and Rowena Williamsâ€™ companies; the one that started life as Mortimers Cross Inn Ltd, then became Rural Retreats & Leisure Ltd, before the name was changed again to Polvellan Manor Ltd in March 2016.
The first question that cropped up was, â€˜When the company was formed in July 2002 we have a husband and wife running a country pub, so do they really need a private limited company? But even if they do, does that company need 10,000 Â£1 shares â€“ why not just two shares?
Going through the accounts submitted for Mortimers Cross Inn Ltd we find a heart-rending tale of losses, year on year, suggesting that the Mortimers Cross Inn was spectacularly unsuccessful . . . or else someone was being â€˜imaginativeâ€™ with the
accounts â€˜unaudited financial statementâ€™. Heavily indebted every year the sole asset would appear to be the inn itself, valued in the accounts for y/e 31.07.2003 at Â£479,938 after depreciation.
Turning to the â€˜Abbreviated accountsâ€™ for y/e 31.07.2005 we see that the asset is now gone, which accords with perceived wisdom that says the inn was sold around this time to pubco Punch Taverns.
Though the figures for 2005 suggest other fixed assets somewhere, as â€˜additionsâ€™, amounting to Â£118,611, giving a book value of Â£634,407, which had reduced to just Â£8,250 by 31.07.2005.
The Abbreviated Accounts for y/e 31.07.2006 give the company tangible assets of just Â£6,187 and itâ€™s heavily in debt. So whereâ€™s the money gone from the sale of the assets in y/e 31.07.2005?
I think that question is answered by the fact that Paul and Rowena Williams were now acquiring the properties we are more familiar with, such as the Radnorshire Arms Hotel and the Knighton Hotel. Even so, they had less than half a million pounds to start with and there are no charges (mortgages or loans) listed against their only company. So where did the rest of the money come from?
Debra Yvonne Oswald, Paul Williamsâ€™ sister, became a director of Retreats & Leisure Ltd on 14.03.2007, so did she inject some money? For just a short time after this, in November 2007, Oswald, with her husband and her and Paul Williamsâ€™ parents, formed a company in Goa. Where the family still have a hotel, and where Williams pÃ¨re lives.
Whatever the answer, acquisitions there certainly were, for the company address was changed to the Radnorshire Arms Hotel on July 24, 2009, and the â€˜Financial Statementsâ€™ for 2010 were lodged from the Knighton Hotel. Yet we donâ€™t see them appearing in documentation until the Abbreviated (Unaudited) Accounts for y/e 31.07.2010 when tangible assets are Â£863,016, up from Â£203,00 the following year.
Though the company remains a loser. On a turnover of Â£322,788 up to July 31, 2010 Rural Retreats & Leisure Ltd lost Â£152,421. One factor being a large loan from Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Ltd, with Â£155,667 falling due in 2010, though this was down from Â£209,625 the previous year.
This loan, plus the money received from the sale of the Mortimers Cross Inn, would still not be enough to pay for the ten properties bought in this period, even if most were bought at auction, so I ask again, where did the rest of the money come from?
The last â€˜Abbreviated (Unaudited) Accountsâ€™ for Retreats & Leisure Ltd before the new companies were set up was for y/e 31.07.2014. They tell us that the â€˜total tangible assetsâ€™ â€“ the combined worth of the Williams property empire â€“ amounted to just Â£1,802,623.
Yet in August 2015 the Radnorshire Arms Hotel was bought by the new Williams company Leisure & Development Ltd for Â£3,487,049. The same company bought the Bird in Hand for Â£1,279,204. Salutation Inn for Â£1,049,076. Castle Inn for Â£1,269,720. The Knighton Hotel for Â£2,881,599. The Courtyard for Â£1,920,780.
Those figures come to a total of Â£11,887,428. And there are other properties they bought from themselves for which I donâ€™t have the prices. Of course, the problem with buying from yourself is that itâ€™s not real money, you arenâ€™t making anything. That comes from the mortgages and loans you can raise against properties given absurd valuations.
Something else I did to while away the time was draw up a list of the companies Paul and Rowena Williams have been involved with. Hereâ€™s the table I compiled, and itâ€™s here in pdf format with the company number linking with its Companies House website page.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END?
Last week was a busy week. It started on Monday when I popped over to Presteigne and Knighton for a mooch around. (I enjoy a good mooch.) The Knighton Hotel and the Radnorshire Arms look what they are â€“ abandoned, neglected and deteriorating.
Next, I received a flurry of e-mails from Companies House telling me of activity with Williams companies. All dated 10 July but recorded at Companies House July 30.
First, was notification that a new charge had been attached to Rural Retreats & Development Ltd. This charge seems to be Together Commercial Finance Ltd securing its claim on 15 properties (see page 15).
The second charge concerned Leisure & Development Ltd. This appears to be Together Commercial Finance Ltd laying claim to a number of properties. (See page 14)
All of which suggests that Together Commercial Finance Ltd may have come to the end of its tether with Paul and Rowena Williams; concluded itâ€™s not going to see its money repaid, and so is tying down property in lieu of the money itâ€™s owed.
The National Westminster Bank seems to have come to the same conclusion, for it pulled the plug on Leisure & Development Ltd last Thursday, obviously concerned about the money it had loaned in 2015. Locks were changed and CCTV cameras installed on a number of properties, including the Radnorshire Arms where locals had so recently enjoyed the the garden party.
And yet, there are still questions.
Just a few months ago, when Paul and Rowena Williams were spinning the line about Keith Partridge taking over their hotels and other businesses, they told staff it was being done through his buy-out â€“ for Â£10m â€“ of Rural Retreats & Leisure UK Ltd. Read the letters here.
We now know that the â€˜buy-outâ€™ was a fairy tale, and we also know that RRL UK Ltd owns nothing. Which I suppose explains why NatWest will not pursue the charge it has against this company.
So it appears that both lenders have all options covered and weâ€™re approaching endgame. But Iâ€™m convinced that a crook and a liar as ruthless and cunning as Paul Williams still has something up his sleeve.
For as locals in Presteigne and Knighton know, just a day before the case was heard in that Birmingham court Paul Williams visited his properties with some men in a white van, and loaded up all sorts of stuff, even fire extinguishers! They appeared to be genuine â€“ the guys in the van, I mean! â€“ and even gave out a business card, which said they were working for Worcester Pubkit.
Even more bizarrely, at around 3am, just hours before Aztec Asset Assured turned up to change the locks, the alarm at the Radnorshire Arms went off, sounding very briefly before someone pressed the right buttons. Who could that have been, boys and girls, creeping around in the middle of the night?
The Williams Gang is now reduced to its holdings in Gwynedd and Cornwall, which I find rather disturbing for a couple of reasons. One, being pushed back into the western extremities of Britain carries uncomfortable historical resonance, and two, I live in Gwynedd, and so Iâ€™m wondering if these crooks are getting any of my money.
Gwynedd is represented by the Seiont Manor Hotel Ltd, while Cernyw comes in the form of Polvellan Manor Ltd. The sole director of the former is Rikki John Reynolds, while his counterpart in Cornwall is Keith Harvey Partridge.
The only reason these companies are still standing is that there are no charges against them. Or should I say, no charges directly against them. But Seiont Manor is owned by Rural Retreats & Development Ltd and as weâ€™ve seen, Together seems to have that base covered.
Which leaves just Polvellan Manor Ltd, which as you read earlier started life as Mortimers Cross Inn Ltd in 2002. According to the companyâ€™s latest â€˜Unaudited Financial Statementâ€™ â€“ produced by our old friend John Duggan â€“ the turnover for y/e 31.07.2017 was zero.
Thatâ€™s zero, as in zilch, nothing, sod all.
But we must introduce the caveat that Mr Duggan does have trouble with figures, to such an extent that he was sent away for a few years to brush up on his accountancy skills. So for all we know, the Polvellan Manor could be raking it . . . high rollers jetting in to the private airfield, top-class cabaret, 50 quid for a shot of Old MacDonaldâ€™s single malt . . .
Yes, last week was a good news week, and Iâ€™m looking forward to more good news in the not-too-distant future. The fat ladyâ€™s not ready to sing just yet, but I feel sheâ€™s in her dressing room applying make-up. For the curtain has gone up on the opening scene of the final act.
For you insomniacs out there, hereâ€™s some reading matter in the form of the latest version of the information sheet on the gang. Anyone able to suggest amendments or additions is welcome to contact me.
â™¦ end â™¦
P.S. For all of you whoâ€™ve sent me information and anecdotes about the gang, particularly Paul Williams, please understand that I canâ€™t use everything. Though I am considering a piece devoted solely to these horror stories.