Millionaire businessman sued for £500,000 by the woman he jilted

IT WAS a romance that started with a puzzle and ended with a legal fight. Alan Savage and Julie Anne Zelent met on a flight from Edinburgh to London. The businessman was flying to watch an international football match and struck up a conversation with Ms Zelent about a puzzle she was doing.

Ms Zelent, then a computer facilities manager for Royal Bank of Scotland in London, said he invited her to dinner shortly afterwards. Two months later, in August 2006, he asked her to move to Inverness, where he ran the Orion Group recruitment company.

By 2008, there was talk of marriage, she said. But the relationship was suddenly ended, by which time she had given up her £54,000-a-year job to move to the Highlands.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Zelent is now suing her millionaire former partner for £500,000 after Mr Savage, a former chairman of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC, broke off the romance.

On the first day of a civil hearing at Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday, she said she had since been unable to find a new job and was seeking the money in compensation for giving up her previous life to move from London to Scotland, claiming the whole experience had left her “economically disadvantaged”.

Ms Zelent told the court that when Mr Savage asked her to move to Inverness, it had not been possible to continue in her job. “Alan offered me a job with his company and I moved up here,” she said. “He said it made sense for me to give up my job because he couldn’t.

“He tended to dismiss my job. He thought his job was more important than mine.

“He was the big boss of Orion and said he could not leave and move to London.

“I was concerned and described it to him as hanging on to the edge of a cliff by my fingernails. He said ‘All you have to do is let go and I will catch you. I will look after you’.”

Although given a job title similar to her RBS work, Ms Zelent said she was not allowed to work at the office. “His family, particularly his children, did not want me to be there,” she said.

Mr Savage’s wife, Linda, had died of cancer in January 2006.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Zelent said she insisted she worked for her salary, until the pair split briefly in August 2007.

She told the court she had been offered another job and went on: “In November, he asked me not to take the job and come back to Inverness. He said we could reconcile and make another go of it.”

She said they moved into his new home in the city and she helped renovate it. However, she added: “I was still on the books at Orion and he said he was getting some grief from his son Paul for me being paid by the company and I had to resign.”

Ms Zelent said Mr Savage put £4,000 a month into a bank account for her to use. She told the court this went towards general expenses, for the house as well as buying clothes and going to beauticians and hairdressers.

Ms Zelent said Mr Savage had been “very specific about the kind of attire I would wear” at functions, adding: “He noticed a woman in Manchester wearing a red coat and asked ‘Don’t you have that coat?’ I said I did and he said I would have to have unique clothing.

“He said I represented Orion and would have to look the part.”

She claimed it was “unacceptable” to wear the same clothes twice, adding that she would not have spent such money on clothes or beauty treatments if it were not for Mr Savage’s wishes about how she looked, adding: “I was not even allowed to bite my fingers.”

Ms Zelent insisted socialising and being “the face” of the company came at a price, including being sunburnt on a trip to Perth in Australia.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She told the court Mr Savage had admitted being unfaithful to her with a nightclub worker.

Then, in October 2008, after a golfing trip to the Belfry in the West Midlands with son Paul, she claims Mr Savage asked her to move out. “He announced he could not see the relationship going any further,” she said.

Ms Zelent said she used a plane ticket bought by Mr Savage to visit family in New Zealand but, despite 50 job applications, had been unable to find work. She was now in a relationship with a former US marine in America, but had so far not found a new job.

The hearing continues.