Gathering's creditors set up fighting fund to recoup their cash
CREDITORS left out pocket to the tune of £400,000 from the centrepiece event of Scotland's Year of Homecoming are setting up a "fighting fund" to pursue a legal action to try to recoup their money.
• The Gathering brought 40,000 people to Holyrood Park, but left huge debts. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Dozens of businesses have agreed to stump up 1 per cent of the money they are owed by the organisers of the Gathering to hire a solicitor to take on their case. More than 40 private firms are still owed up to 33,000, a year after the two-day clan gathering attracted more than 40,000 people to Holyrood Park, in Edinburgh.
Creditors say they will not write off the money they are owed, although the company that ran the event went into administration in January.
It is thought Edinburgh City Council, which announced a bail-out of the Gathering last October, is more likely to be taken to court than the Scottish Government, which wrote off a secret loan of 180,000 agreed with organisers in the run-up to ensure the event went ahead.
Although the company set up by Tory peer Jamie Sempill to run the event was basically insolvent by last autumn, it was given a stay of execution by city council officials, who agreed to try to keep it going.
But within months the rescue package had collapsed after senior councillors vowed the local authority was not prepared to bail out any of the creditors.
It later emerged that the council had paid out 6,000 to one firm which threatened to take it to court.
Council leader Jenny Dawe claimed she had been kept in the dark over the secret payment to the creditor, which has never been named.
Last night the council again insisted it had no responsibility for any of the creditors.
PR consultant Martin Hunt, one of the creditors who has been leading the campaign for them to receive the money they are due, said: "We are not prepared to let this drop.
"We are not sabre-rattling on this issue, but we feel it's time to pursue a proper legal action. The idea is that each creditor involved in the action puts in one per cent of what they are due from the Gathering and that will help us establish a fighting fund.
"The creditors as a group have not sought proper legal advice until now, but we suspect it is likely to focus on the council, particularly as it secretly settled one of the Gathering's debts with a creditor. That is what we're going to be seeking legal advice about."
Tom Davidson, managing director of Buffalo Power Services, which was left 33,000 out of pocket in the wake of The Gathering, said: "We don't feel enough effort was put into ensuring all the companies that worked on the event got paid for what they did and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. There are people who should be called to account in court for their actions.
"We were kept in the dark for months after the event and the next thing we knew we got an email telling us that the company that ran the event had gone into administration."
A spokesman for the city council said: "This is a matter between the creditors and the private company that ran the Gathering."
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