Communication between WC-FLAG and the Board of Warwick Crest Limited

Below you will find a full copy of the email communication between WC-FLAG and the Board of Warwick Crest Limited. The earliest email is first, followed by their and our replies:

First email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 30 June 2021
Background
WC-FLAG was set up following the EWS zoom meeting on 23 June 2021 in which the board of directors and Managing Agent Matthew Arnold of MetroPM relayed to leaseholders the exact position they will be in very soon with regards to correcting the cladding on Warwick Crest building.

Members attending this meeting were told that the deadline to register with the Government Building Safety Fund was missed on 31st July 2020 and there is now no possibility of Government funds being available.

As a consequence the work to remedy our building’s cladding problem, estimated at between £500,000 and £1,000,000, will now have to be paid for by the owners of the apartments, 66 in total.

This amounts to approximately £7500 – £15000 per unit payable via an immediate call for the full amount through the service charges before the works commence. The expectation from our board and Managing Agent was that apartment owners should not grumble as ‘if the roof of a house blew away the house owner would have to pay’.

Whilst we recognise and value the opportunity to ask questions before and during the meeting, the structure of the meeting made it very difficult for members to properly discuss the explanations to the issues raised.

The meeting therefore ended with some members feeling frustrated and seeking further discussion and explanation.

Hence there became a need to set up WC-FLAG and write this letter to allow the Board of Directors to clarify matters of concern.

Our request to the Board

WC-FLAG’s initial request from WCL is a response to the following two questions within the next 7 days. The responses may trigger further questions for clarification or prompt us to seek external advice.

1) a) Please advise whether Warwick Crest Ltd registered their interest to the government for the Building Safety Fund by 31st July 2020 either in their own entity or via the managing agents MetroPM. If they did, was the registration followed up with a full application for the funds? If a full application was submitted was it accepted or rejected? Please provide documents in your response.

b) If Warwick Crest Ltd or their managing agents did not register their interest in time, would the board tell us why they did not. In the meeting on 23 June 2021 we were told registration was not done in time due to not having EWS1 form (we have sought advice from LEASE, the government agency, who confirmed to us this was NOT a requirement).

If interest was not registered in time, can the board tell us what enquiries they or their agent made to clarify what the exact requirements for registering interest in the Building Safety Fund were before deciding whether they would not/could not register?

2) Can the board publish the documents obtained in the EWS1 report, Fire Safety reports, schedules of work necessary to make the building fire safe, tender documents and which companies have been requested to submit tenders for the work. Those would be the ones giving estimates of £500,000 and £1,000,000 for the job.

The board must appreciate that fire safety in the building is a concern for every person living in the building or owning a property in the building. If the property owners are paying for this bill then they have a right to see them.

We also ask the board to grant permission for us to contact and meet with the EWS1 surveyor directly (without having to go through the board and/or Managing Agents) to obtain answers to our many questions.

Finally, we would like to point out that where the majority of owners were expecting that the government would foot the bill for cladding safety, you clarified in the meeting of 23 June 2021 that the financial burden will fall squarely on the shoulders of the owners. Many owners have been suffering financial, emotional and mental health distress already on the cladding issue. With this new information this has now increased 10 fold.

We look forward to getting a prompt reply within 7 days.

Sincerely,
Warwick Crest – Freeholders and Leaseholders Action Group (WC-FLAG)
Sahira Noor Gregg Collingham Seldi Rubakantha George Zhao Ian Bush
Mark Gilliland Nicholas Norman Eve Gold Michelle Vale Ben Hall
Tony Sartorius (& others who wish to remain anonymous at this stage)

First & second responses from the Board:

Date: 30 June 2021

Hi all,

Thanks for your email. I’ll discuss with the board and respond in due course, although it looks on first read that most, if not all, of these questions were answered during the meeting last week.

Best wishes,
Jack 

Date: 10 July 2021

Dear WC-FLAG,

The substance of these questions have been answered at the leaseholders meeting on Wednesday 23rd June, via published General Updates, and at the AGM and EGM last year.

Unfortunately, due to ongoing legal action we are advised that we are unable to comment further.

Please find attached the documents you requested. Tender documents will be available when they have been received from the companies we approached.

Kind regards,
Jack Lee
Chairman of Warwick Crest Ltd on behalf of the board

Second email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 12 July 2021

Thank you for your email dated 10 July. Your email simply repeats the response you gave in your first reply on 30 June, that we have been given all the information in the AGMs, EGMs, Communications from the Board of WCL. We disagree, as your communications have stated different things at different times.

WC-FLAG asked specific questions none of which were personal in nature. Furthermore, WC-FLAG has no legal fight with WCL or the Board of Directors. We are an action group representing the property owners in Warwick Crest and the numbers are growing daily as people are now beginning to understand the severity of these issues.

Hence, your response that you are already in a legal battle with individual members in Warwick Crest has no bearing on the questions asked by WC-FLAG, and in any case you the Board of Directors should be working for the company’s shareholders irrespective of whether you have personal legal challenges. Your responsibility does not diminish in any shape, way or form.

Therefore, we will once again ask you to provide the answers to our specific questions:

1) Did the Board or their appointed Managing Agent MetroPM register for the Building Safety Fund before 31st July 2020? If they did, please provide documents to show the registration and full application proceeded. If you did not, please give explanations of why it was missed.

2) Please give all the relevant documents from the project manager/ companies tendering for the work exactly what schedules of work you have asked them to tender for. The schedule of works must have been readied for companies to tender for. We would also like to know which companies have been invited to do the tendering.

3) On 23rd June 2021 Virtual meeting Colin promised to send us a Fire Brigade Report and also a statement from the engineer who signed off the EWS1 as B2 why exactly he had done so based on the EWS report. We have not received either of these.

4) WC-FLAG wanted a meeting with the engineer who signed the EWS1 form and the engineer who carried out the survey. You continue to refuse us access, for reasons unknown.

5) As concrete cladding and brick facades are, under new guidance published in March/April 2021 exempt from the requirements of an EWS1 form, can the Board confirm an EWS1 is even required on the basis of a small area of decorative window spandrel panels (which the Government now views as separate to cladding – see documents “Advice for Building Owners of Multi-storey, Multi-occupied Residential Buildings). Can you confirm if the Fire Engineer conducted any testing for combustibility on these window spandrel panels or has simply assumed they are combustible?

None of the above questions are related to anything other than the property owners trying to properly understand these issues. Therefore, as this matter is very serious, and the managing agents wished to do away with Section 20 discussions and go straight to FTT due to the urgency, we request once more that you provide these specific answers immediately.

For the benefit of other WC leaseholders, WC-Flag will be forwarding to you separately details of our meeting this week with our MP Preet Gill to discuss the serious and troubling issues we are having around EWS1, cladding, the Building Safety Fund and the ongoing situation with our Board and Managing Agent.

Kind regards

WC-Flag
Sahira Noor Gregg Collingham Seldi Rubakantha George Zhao Ian Bush Mark Gilliland Nicholas Norman Eve Gold Michelle Vale Ben Hall Tony Sartorius Jaspal Sahota Lucy Forrester (& several others who have expressed their concerns but wish to remain anonymous at this stage)

WC-FLAG hold zoom call with local MP Preet Gill to discuss the issues

Date: 15 July 2021

Following our meeting, Preet Gill MP posted the following on her social media, enough it seems to worry our Board and Managing Agent (see below)!

Email response to WC-FLAG from the Director Jez Bullock of the Board of WC Ltd to the Preet Gill MP post:

Date: 15 July 2021

Hi All,

Having just seen the post on Preet Gill’s Facebook page I will add that it may influence how we are perceived in the future should funding, for example, be available.

You are of course entitled to an opinion in this challenging situation for us all, but please bear this in mind.

Thanks,

Jez. 

Third email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 17 July 2021

Dear Board of Directors,

We, WC-FLAG, write in response to the email sent by Director Jez Bullock with regards to our meeting with MP Preet Gill which according to him ‘may influence how we are perceived in the future should funding, for example, be available’.

WC-FLAG is not sure whom Jez is referring to with the collective pronoun ‘we’.

In our last communication we, WC-FLAG, had informed the Board of WCL that a meeting had been arranged with our MP, Preet Gill based on our frustration at the lack of openness that we were facing in our EWS1 cladding issue.

Following our meeting, we would like to inform you that Ms Preet Gill will now be looking in to our cladding problem and will be speaking to the government and council on our behalf to see what the solution could be to get this issue resolved as soon as possible.

In Birmingham two MPs are involved in helping people with cladding issues. One is Shabana Mahmood MP and the second is Preet Gill MP. We are fortunate that Preet Gill is also our local MP. Preet has had a lot of experience in cladding issues and was very surprised to learn that our remediation works could be between £500,000 and £1,000,000 as she was aware of buildings completely clad in combustible panels that are only facing a bill of £1,000,000.

With regard to ‘how we are perceived,’ we would like to remind the Board that any funding given to our project will be based on the safety needs of our building to benefit its owners and residents. The money will not be given on how the government ‘perceives’ the building’s owners or Board of Directors, or whether the residents sought to get help from their MP.

Furthermore, the government did announce a fund called BSF, which seems to have been missed as you have not confirmed that WCL did actually register for it on time.We still wait for your answers to our questions.

It does not look like the government will release or offer any more money in the near future. Other than waiting for years fiddling our thumbs, our only hope would be to jump back on to BSF. For this to happen (if even it could happen) it would be through our MP who would have direct contact with MHCLG and could explain the dilemma facing WC and plead on our behalf.

We hope that we have put your minds at rest on the issue of ‘how we will be perceived’.

On a side note, WC-FLAG would like to remind, once again, that although we appreciate that the Board Directors of WCL are voluntary workers and co-property owners, they are working for and on behalf of shareholders and have, amongst others, the following duties:

1) They are required to operate honestly and lawfully for the good of their members. In the case of Warwick Crest Ltd that includes shareholders, leaseholders and the building.
2) They must not seek personal advantage.
3) They must think of the consequences and impact of their decisions.
4) They must consistently exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence.
5) They must avoid conflict of interest.
6) They must exercise independent judgement.

Most of all they should remember they are working for the communal good and know they do not have superlative authority over the shareholders and leaseholders.

We believe that WCL aims should be the same as WC-FLAG aims and WCL should do their utmost to help achieve justice for all the property owners and walk side by side in the common goal.

Finally, we would like to advise you in the strongest possible term that WCL should not and must not accept and sign contracts for the remediation work with any company until and unless a Section 20 notice is served and a Board meeting is convened with shareholders and leaseholders to discuss all matters relating to money to be spent and discuss where this money will come from.

Sincerely,

WC-Flag
Sahira Noor Gregg Collingham Seldi Rubakantha George Zhao Ian Bush   Mark Gilliland Nicholas Norman Eve Gold Michelle Vale Ben Hall  Tony Sartorius Jaspal Sahota Lucy Forrester (& others who wish to remain anonymous at this stage)

Email response to WC-FLAG from the Director Jez Bullock:

Date: 17 July 2021

Thank you.
A few points in response.

For clarification, when stating “we” I was referring to Warwick Crest Ltd, who of course are associated with Metro.

I was referring to the facebook message and not your meeting, which hopefully will be beneficial to us – Warwick Crest Ltd. I think this is very clear in the email I sent.

I feel that I need to comment on duties as my name is mentioned in your email. I can assure you that it is not necessary to remind me of the duties I have undertaken.

I think healthy discussion is the way forwards and that we should all continue to look together for a solution in a positive manner.

In future I’d be happy to join you, when possible, in any further discussions with Preet Gill. If you could provide more details regarding her point that buildings completely clad in combustible materials were facing similar costs it would be appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Jez

Fourth email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 18 July 2021

Dear Jez

We at WC-FLAG are responding to your email personally as we are unclear whether you have given an individual reply to our last email or you are representing the views of the Board of Directors of WCL?

Although it’s not conducive to keep giving answers point by point in a tit for tat manner, (and we should move swiftly to more constructive discussion), it is relevant to clear some things as they arise.

Thank you for clarifying that ‘we’ referred to WCL who is ‘associated with Metro’. I hope that WC-FLAG in the last email made it plain and clear that they have not caused dishonour to ‘we’ by meeting with our MP, Preet Gill.

Furthermore, any message Preet Gill MP puts on her Twitter, Facebook page or any other social media is not in our control and neither can we advise or force her to write messages on these forums. Hence, to warn us that the MP’s twitter will cause dishonour to ‘we’ is clearly not something we can be held responsible for.

Your reference of ‘we’ being ‘Warwick Crest Ltd, who of course are associated with Metro’ seems to be a very awkward position for WCL to be in. WC-FLAG would like to know why WCL feels itself to be associated with MetroPM instead of Metro being the contractor of WCL?

Warwick Crest Ltd is an independent company which contracts/employs MetroPM. We really hope that WCL are not ‘associated’ with MetroPM.

With respect to healthy and constructive talks in the future, WC-FLAG have been requesting this all along! WCL know clearly that the reason WC-FLAG was formed was through the lack of openness from the board regarding the cladding issue and following numerous communications from the board and the managing agent MetroPM containing conflicting messages. Naturally, this whole scenario and frustration led to seeking help from MP Preet Gill.

We have asked many questions from the Board of WCL and received very limited answers. Until and unless we can gain full answers from the Board and the Board gives access to questioning the EWS surveyor and the person who signed EWS1 form we cannot see how healthy discussion can ensue.

If we all want speedy solutions, then we must all be able to see clearly what the dilemmas are facing Warwick Crest Building.

At this moment Preet Gill is investigating solutions that she can help us with. Meantime we can also help ourselves by looking at the documents, speaking to relevant surveyors and investigating the extent of the work and looking for competitive tendering companies. We need to see what works have been scheduled for companies to tender their prices, the extent of the works required and the manner in which they can be done.

In conclusion, Jez, we would very much like to work with yourself and WCL to find solutions. Preet Gill is doing her best to find alternate solutions, but there’s plenty of work that WCL and WC-FLAG can do too.

Sincerely,

WC-FLAG
Sahira Noor Gregg Collingham Seldi Rubakantha George Zhao Ian Bush  Mark Gilliland Nicholas Norman Eve Gold Michelle Vale Ben Hall  Tony Sartorius Jaspal Sahota Lucy Forrester Chitra Shah
Eno Umotong (& others who wish to remain anonymous at this stage)

Email response to WC-FLAG from the Director Jez Bullock:

Date: 19 July 2021

Thanks again,
I fully agree with your final paragraph. Your points are always valid.

What does concern me and please don’t take this the wrong way, is the following statement referring to my initial email, as an example.

“Hence, to warn us that the MP’s twitter will cause dishonour to ‘we’ is clearly not something we can be held responsible for”
The email that I sent was not a warning and did not say anything about dishonour. (If that is how you interpreted it then that was certainly not my intention). I know that you are not responsible for her tweet and facebook post. The constituency office does them.

We are becoming bogged down with the interpretation of language when we should be considering the real challenges. The use of “associated”,I feel, is another example.

It makes me feel concerned and a bit edgy actually, about how my emails that are sent in good faith are interpreted by all the people named as WC Flag members and frankly what position I place myself in by responding at all. Just being honest here. I am not legally trained. I know a response is required.

And therein lies the dilemma. Duties as a director of course take priority, but when and how I respond need to be considered too. I sincerely hope the latter doesn’t apply. We have a common goal so much more important than language, interpretation of it, etc.

I hope you understand.

The whole situation is frustrating and is a worry. However, The Directors and Metro are working incredibly hard to resolve this I can assure you. You too, are working incredibly hard and your points are always taken on board. I can assure you about that too.

An update will be sent out soon and your thoughts following it would be appreciated.

Best Wishes all,

Jez. 

Fifth email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 23 July 2021

Dear Jez,

Thank you for your response.

Once more, we are not sure if your email is on behalf of WCL or your own thoughts. For the interest of openness, therefore, we will reply to everyone.

We greatly value your integrity to find a good solution to the cladding problem facing Warwick Crest. We really don’t wish you to feel edgy about our emails. Indeed, we wish to use plain English in every correspondence, but you used certain descriptive words in your initial emails which we needed to clarify with you.

However, we now are agreed that the Board of Directors are representatives of the freeholders and leaseholders of Warwick Crest and are working for the interest of the property owners.

We are also agreed that WC-FLAG members and indeed each and every property owner has a right to understand what the Board and MetroPM have found to be the necessary scheduled works and which companies have been invited to tender the costs.

You have told us that you and MetroPM are working very hard and you have understood our points. You have also offered us a new ‘update’ soon.

We would like to state quite clearly that we are not interested in updates as a response to our original requests. We have re-read previous communications and updates you have given us and find they hold contradictions and misinformation. We have made a document of these correspondences (attached) and highlighted everything which was conflicting. This may serve to show everyone why updates are not trustworthy.

So, Jez, as we are eager to clear up this mess with you, we once again ask you to give answers to our original email, as well as the Board’s response to the inconsistencies in the previous updates. Please make your paperwork open to everyone and give your rhyme and reason in your decision-making process. In this way we at WC-FLAG and every property owner in WC will be able to see if we are wrong or if our contribution is vital to help you.

We cannot be more fair or clear in showing our integrity to bring to a close this open-ended nightmare.

Therefore, we once again insist on answers to our questions in our original email dated 30th June 2021.

WC-FLAG
Sahira Noor Gregg Collingham Seldi Rubakantha George Zhao Ian Bush  Mark Gilliland Nicholas Norman Eve Gold Michelle Vale Ben Hall  Tony Sartorius Jaspal Sahota Lucy Forrester Chitra Shah
Eno Umotong (& others who wish to remain anonymous at this stage)

Email response to WC-FLAG from the Director Jez Bullock:

Date: 26 July 2021

Hi All,

Thanks WC-Flag for your message and attachment.

Please read the latest update.

Just so that you know, it`s with a heavy heart that I say I won`t be answering any more questions on here so that I respect the wishes of my family. Of course, communication will continue in other ways as it rightly should. We can work together using Metro as a conduit.

Best Wishes,
Jez

Sixth email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 3 August 2021

Dear Board of Directors,

In response to your latest update dated 26 July 2021 and the email from Director Jez Bullock to WC-FLAG on the same day we make the following points.

Re the role and duties of the Board:

As shareholders and leaseholders at WC, we assume that any communication from any member of the Board represents the views of the whole Board, unless any dissenting Director expresses otherwise. Therefore, we take the views, actions and consequences of the Board’s decisions as a collective one for the whole Board. We do not mind which individual Director responds, but we DO expect the Board to answer to its shareholders.

Our very serious and troubling questions regarding the misinformation disseminated by the Board and by its appointed Managing Agent must be answered by the Board. If the Board wishes to obtain answers to some of those questions from their appointed Managing Agent then that is entirely acceptable, but the Board must take collective responsibility for those answers. So far, the Board has still refused to answer to shareholders regarding the multiple counts of inaccurate / misleading information given in Board and Managing Agent updates. This is unacceptable.

Re MHCLG Funding:

In your latest update you state that MetroPM and David Kelly have been ‘working hard’ to contact the MHCLG. We are glad to know that our repeated questioning over the inaccurate information regards funding that you have provided in your previous updates, together with social media posts from our local MP Preet Gill concerning our troubling situation with our Managing Agent, has prompted you finally into action. However, let it be clearly known that all this ‘hard work’ is what our Managing Agent should have done post the June 2017 Grenfell tragedy, when the Government’s funding was first made available, and is only required now because they missed the deadline in the middle of 2020 and the chance to send panels for combustibility testing in 2017. This is all now approx 4 years too late!

Due to the misinformation regarding funding you have provided in all your previous updates, which you refuse to address, we wish to see clear written evidence of the outcomes you stated re the MHCLG saying we could reapply – please forward evidence for this urgently as we are unable to simply accept your word on this matter any more.

Re leaseholders paying upfront:

In your latest update you state “We therefore feel the fairest way is for the bill to be paid immediately by leaseholders, that is if the government fund doesn’t fully pay for the work’. To operate in the ‘fairest way’ demands openness – you cannot expect leaseholders to pay for works blindly. There is nothing fair about withholding requested information from leaseholders and refusing leaseholders the chance to ask questions directly of your suppliers. There is nothing fair about asking leaseholders to NOT obtain alternative quotes for works – as you did in Update 2 dated 30 March 2021 – when in fact the law says leaseholders have the right to do exactly that. There is nothing fair about you refusing to answer our legitimate questions.

Re reducing the costs of any remedial works required:

In this update there is no mention of the parallel works that should be undertaken to reduce the costs of any building works, which still appear grossly inflated. You still refuse to send us a copy of the tender specification despite stating at the zoom call on 23 June you would do so and despite our repeated requests for a copy. You still refuse to grant us access to the Fire Engineer that prepared the original EWS1 survey report to answer some of our concerns regarding the works required and how the classification for WC was arrived at. We have to question what you, as our Board, is trying to hide by refusing our requests?

Re liability for not applying to the Government Building Safety Fund:

There were many questions asked about the EWS1 and the BSF and you still claim ‘all were answered’. This is not true. However, we must now infer from your lack of further detailed answers to our questions that the Board as a whole agrees with the statements previously made by Matthew Arnold and Jack Lee that the reason Warwick Crest did not apply for any Government funding to help remedy the cost of replacing combustible cladding was due, in the Board’s opinion, to delays in obtaining an EWS1 certificate caused by certain WC residents. You, as a Board, continue to assert this position despite being told that the Government advisory body LEASE has confirmed the EWS1 form had NOTHING to do with applying to those Government funds. We find your continued assertions, therefore, very troubling – are you ignorant of the facts or attempting to cover up the possible professional negligence of our Managing Agent?

Also, in your latest update you state that the MHCLG have requested you send a sample of the panels for combustion testing. We note for the record that when a member of WC-FLAG raised the same question after reviewing the EWS report, you refused to respond. On a follow-up question, you promised to forward to WC-FLAG a report by the fire engineer about the rational behind categorising the building Form B when it seems more likely to be Form A, especially as that Fire Engineer did not carry out any tests on the combustibility of the cladding. Once again, you have not sent this document.

Re professional negligence:

In the opinion of WC-FLAG, there have been numerous counts of professional negligence and cover-ups in the cladding issue at WC. We now demand clarity, confirmation of documents and full details of what has been done – and not done.

We require a response to this email immediately, with documents showing details of the MHCLG enquiry submitted, tender specifications, and access to the EWS1 engineer. We also wish to know your latest time schedule for works to be completed and what investigations you are carrying out to reduce the cost and scope of the works to only those necessary.

We also call on the Board to officially consider a legal claim against our Managing Agents (MetroPM) for professional negligence in not applying to the Government funds within the deadline. If successful, this would enable WC Ltd to recover any costs not recovered from the Government funds that were/are available. We wish for the Board’s meeting regards pursuing a professional negligence claim against our Managing Agents to be fully minuted with each individual Director’s vote on the matter recorded for all to see. We consider this matter to be serious and urgent.

Questions for the Managing Agent:

As you have stated the Managing Agent will also answer any questions we have for them, we also include a separate list of questions specifically for the Managing Agent to answer. Please ensure these are forwarded on to the Managing Agent and their answers returned to WC-FLAG in a timely manner.

Your response to our email must be the collective decision of the Board of Directors and no-one else. If you refuse to respond and / or continue to refuse to answer our questions and requests, we will take further action.

WC-FLAG
Sahira Noor Gregg Collingham Seldi Rubakantha George Zhao Ian Bush Mark Gilliland Nicholas Norman Eve Gold Michelle Vale Ben Hall Tony Sartorius Jaspal Sahota Lucy Forrester Chitra Shah
Eno Umotong (& others who wish to remain anonymous at this stage)

Seventh email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 10 August 2021

To the Board of Directors of Warwick Crest Limited

Further to our last email sent to you sent on Tuesday 3 August, we note the following:

1) That the Board of Warwick Crest Limited has not responded to our email, nor answered our specific questions, nor answered our queries regarding the discrepancies/inaccuracies in all previous Board updates, nor provided copies of the documents requested specifically the tender specification for the works, nor provided access to the EWS1 engineer as requested.

2) That Matthew Arnold of MetroPM has not answered the separate list of specific questions we asked you, the Board, to forward on to our current Managing Agent.

3) That two members of the board, Jez Bullock and Matt Rendu have resigned, effective 6 August 2021. We note that Jez Bullock only joined the Board less than 10 months ago. It is clear to WC-FLAG that there are now, and have been in the past, serious issues with the Board and conduct of Warwick Crest Limited. It is also clear that the number of Directors of Warwick Crest Limited needs increasing, especially at such a crucially important time to ALL leaseholders and shareholders at Warwick Crest.

Therefore, WC-FLAG proposes the following three individuals – Sahira Noor, Gregg Collingham and George Zhao – be appointed as Directors of Warwick Crest Limited with immediate effect. All three have considerable experience in the issues that are currently taking place at Warwick Crest and George Zhao understands the workings of Warwick Crest Limited having previously acted as Director of the Company. In addition, all three have extensive business experience outside of Warwick Crest and so can bring valuable commercial expertise onto the Board. Sahira has business experience stretching over 35 years, Gregg has long experience of being a Director for his own business as well as a non-exec Director of a Charity, and George has extensive commercial experience in large corporations as well as Director of his own business. Therefore, WC-FLAG considers them to be ideal Directors.

Under the Articles of Association of Warwick Crest Limited it simply requires the existing Board to approve their appointment before confirmation at the AGM. Because of the critical importance of having a Board that leaseholders and shareholders have faith in, please can you confirm within the next 24 hours that this approval has happened and that our Company Secretary has been instructed to file the relevant paperwork at Companies House. We would also ask you to share with WC-FLAG and all shareholders the details of any other proposed Director appointments before their confirmation and appointment to the Board. If the board disagrees with our nominations, we will need your full explanation of your reservation of each individual by reply within the same time frame, as WC-FLAG wishes to move with great speed on sorting out the mess we are currently in.

WC-FLAG
Ms Noor (4 WC) Mr Collingham (10 WC) Mr Rubakantha (33 & 37 WC) Mr Zhao (53 WC) Mr Bush (32 WC) Mr Norman (35 WC) Ms Gold (19 WC) Ms Vale (61 & 62 WC) Mr Hall (66 WC) Mr Sartorius
(64 WC) Mr Sahota (46 WC) Ms Forrester (9 WC) Ms Shah (30 WC) Dr Umotong (11 WC) Mr Gilliland (32 WC) Mr Walden (34 WC) & others

Emails between WC-FLAG members and WC Board members and 6th Board Update:

Date: 10 August 2021 – 13 August 2021

See https://warwickcrest.co.uk/ews1-board-and-matthew-arnold-updates/  for copies of the correspondence and board updates

Eighth email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 15 August 2021

Dear Leaseholders and Board at Warwick Crest

There have been MANY emails and updates sent back and forth in the last few days between the Board of Warwick Crest Limited, individual members of WC-FLAG and individual members of the Board. If you have struggled to keep on top of these, you can find a full record of all the major emails and updates at warwickcrest.co.uk/ews1-board-and-matthew-arnold-updates/

WC-FLAG very much welcomes the addition of wc-flag member Gregg Collingham to the Board of Warwick Crest. However, we are unsure why the recommendation of two additional very experienced individuals (Ms Sahira Noor and Mr George Zhao) has not been approved by the Board. The current optics of the four Warwick Crest officials (3 Directors and 1 Company Secretary) being all British white males we feel does not properly reflect the owners or residents of Warwick Crest. WC-FLAG hopes that the new Board will welcome the opportunity to add two very capable, very experienced members of the BAME community to our Board. We hope all will agree that a diverse Board packed with independent business experience will be an asset to all at Warwick Crest.

With what will hopefully be a refreshed Board at Warwick Crest, WC-FLAG very much hopes that this will be the last email / letter we need to write pointing out the inaccuracies and misleading information in previous Board and Managing Agent correspondence. Whilst the list attached, based on just the most recent communication, is very long, we feel it is necessary that those who make these statements to leaseholders are held to account for what they say and what they do.

In the attached pdf, points 1-9 relate to the most recent Board update sent on 10 August. Points 10 -17 relate to the answers provided by our Managing Agent to a series of questions given to them by WC-FLAG. Points 18-20 relate to comments shared publicly by Jack Lee in his emails on 10 and 12 August. Points 21-24 relate to Jack Lee’s email to leaseholders on 12 August. Points 25-32 relate to Jack Lee’s public email to Sahira Noor on 12 August.

We look forward to the Board’s response to these issues and a more healthy dialogue in the future.

Warwick Crest Freeholder & Leaseholder Action Group (WC-FLAG)

Ms Noor (4 WC) Mr Rubakantha (33 & 37 WC) Mr Zhao (53 WC) Mr Bush (32 WC) Mr Norman (35 WC) Ms Gold (19 WC) Ms Vale (61 & 62 WC) Mr Hall (66 WC) Mr Sartorius (64 WC) Mr Sahota (46 WC) Ms Forrester (9 WC) Ms Shah (30 WC) Dr Umotong (11 WC) Mr Gilliland (32 WC) Mr Walden (34 WC) & others

Ninth email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 2 September 2021

Dear Directors

On 10th August 2021 leaseholders of Warwick Crest were sent information from the Board of Directors of WCL in response to a leaflet circulated by WC-FLAG on 8th August 2021 regarding the inaccurate and misleading information the Directors and the Managing Agents had sent regarding the extent of works required at Warwick Crest post the EWS survey in November 2020. The information sent in the Board update itself contained even more anomalies and misinformation.

Also on 10th August 2021 WC-FLAG sent an email to the Board of Directors upon discovering that two of the four Warwick Crest Directors (Matt Rendu and Jez Bullock) had resigned leaving Jack Lee in de-facto sole control of the company (by virtue of his casting vote as Chairman). Shockingly, shareholders were not informed of this by the Board or Jack Lee. WC-FLAG therefore proposed the addition of three new Directors to the board, namely, Gregg Collingham, George Zhao and Sahira Noor. This suggestion was rejected by Jack Lee almost immediately, giving inaccurate information about Directors only being appointed at the AGM as his reason (even though Jack Lee knew this to be untrue, as Jack Lee himself and all of the previous Directors in the last 10 years were NOT appointed at an AGM). Eventually Jack Lee and Colin Inglis agreed to appoint just Gregg Collingham to the Board, but not Sahira Noor or George Zhao.

On 11th August 2021, Director Collin Inglis sent an email titled ‘An appeal for co-operation and common sense’ which in itself opened up even more questions, especially of misleading information eg saying WC-FLAG “demanded” the appointment of 3 new Directors with “threatening” behaviour – WC-FLAG did no such thing. WC-FLAG proposed three highly experienced individuals, but asked for a rapid turnaround due to the serious nature of having Jack Lee in sole control of the company as things stood. Discussions pursued via email between leaseholders and directors most especially Jack Lee, our current Chairman.

During the discussions, Colin Inglis promised to get answers to the many questions posed by individual leaseholders and WC-FLAG and would provide the evidence the Board based their decision on why a building of WC type construction was signed off in the EWS survey as B2, and requiring up to £1m of remedial works, when in fact it should need minimum works to have the EWS signed off. It should be noted that these questions had been posed by WC-FLAG from at least late June 2021 and some even earlier than that following the EWS survey conducted in November 2020. The Board STILL refuse to give us access to the original EWS1 surveyor who classified WC as B2 rating to answer our questions.

On 15th August 2021, WC-FLAG sent a further email listing all the misleading / inaccurate / troubling information that had been sent in the previous few days in emails from Jack Lee, the Board and the Managing Agent. These remain unanswered.

In the opinion of WC-FLAG, there has been a constant effort by the Board to “fob off” or delay getting specific answers to these crucial questions. It delays WC-FLAG’s proposal for having the EWS signed off quickly, safely and at minimum cost, which would enable many flat owners to proceed with their sale as well as remove the nightmare of bankruptcy faced by other leaseholders.

On 20th August 2021 the leaseholders received another email titled ‘Update on Recent Questions’. In this the Board said they couldn’t answer yet because these were “complex topics” and that despite “much chasing” they were waiting for more information from the contractors. These contractors were/are paid by Warwick Crest Limited for their services, some of these ‘technical’ questions were originally asked many months ago by WC-FLAG, just repeated again recently, and yet it seems that these companies cannot get their head around simple questions which they claim to be experts at! In addition, many of the questions for the Board do not relate to “complex” issues but relate to misleading and/or inaccurate information and/or the negligence of our Managing Agent. The Board have all the information they need to answer these questions immediately.

Jack Lee still maintains that Matthew Arnold / MetroPM has his full trust and fully supports all works pushed through by MetroPM, that many leaseholders and WC-FLAG feel are unduly excessive and based on misleading and inaccurate information.

The Board still maintain, and say to leaseholders, that they think funding will now be available, so nothing else that has happened really matters! The fact remains that most of the tender specification the Board have sent out for quotes is for works that will NOT be covered by Government funding and have NOTHING to do with passing the EWS assessment. WC-FLAG believes several months of misleading communication from the Board, and probable negligence from our Managing Agent DOES very much still matter.

WC-FLAG has always wished for open communication where all leaseholders are made aware of all concerns, as we have nothing to hide. Indeed, in our email to the Board on 23 July 2021 we specifically requested that all our discussions and answers from the Board to our questions regarding the EWS assessment and other concerns be shared with ALL leaseholders, as all the parties affected by this issue should be aware of EVERYTHING going on. However, there is no evidence that any of the subsequent email discussions were shared by the Board with any other leaseholder of Warwick Crest (other than those on the original WC-FLAG email chain). WC-FLAG, therefore, presumes that the Board has NOT shared our concerns with all leaseholders and if this is the case, then the Board has been negligent in its duties to keep every property owner properly informed of all the issues.

Today is 2 September 2021. No further information has been forthcoming.

Conclusion

  • The Board of Directors have NOT informed ALL of the leaseholders what has transpired following the Board email of 10 August 2021.
  • The Board have still not responded to the many questions WC-FLAG have posed around misleading information and works proposed.
  • The Board have still not granted us access to the EWS1 surveyor to answer our questions.
  • In the opinion of WC-FLAG, some members of the Board have treated leaseholders with contempt whilst trying to pacify them with the menial jobs they are doing (removing an old car etc) and treating them as infants unable to understand ‘technical’ issues.
  • By not being able to retrieve information from their suppliers despite “much chasing”, the Board of Directors appears to have insufficient strength or clout to control the companies they are paying from OUR service charges.
  • Service charges are what the leaseholders collectively pay to ensure that their building is kept in good order and the Board of Directors are there to make sure they only pay suppliers who are answerable to them.
  • The constant avoidance by the Board in answering difficult questions leads WC-FLAG to conclude that the suitability, judgment and integrity of some of the current Directors is unsustainable.

It is for these reasons that WC-FLAG asks the Board one final time to appoint the two previously proposed shareholders of Sahira Noor and George Zhao to the Board. Our reasons are as follows:

1) Both have been instrumental in WC-FLAG in analysing, investigating and dissecting the numerous Board and Managing Agent updates issued to shareholders & leaseholders of WC following the EWS1 survey, and finding and challenging the misleading and inaccurate information we have been told.

2) Both are very up-to-date with their knowledge of the EWS1 procedures, everything that has happened so far, and all the works proposed and will join the Board ready to act immediately for the best interests of ALL shareholders and leaseholders and ensure only essential works are carried out.

3) George Zhao already knows the workings of WC, having already been a Director of WC for several years before resigning in 2020 following the behaviour of Jack Lee and Matt Rendu (Matt Rendu has since resigned from the Board).

4) Both have decades of previous business experience elsewhere.

If the existing, new Board of Colin Inglis, Gregg Collingham and Jack Lee won’t welcome these excellent volunteers to join them as an asset to Warwick Crest, then we must question the real motives of some members of our board and take the appropriate action to change the board by other means. We know that Gregg Collingham fully supports the appointment of both Sahira and George.

We must also specifically call out the conduct and behaviour of the current Warwick Crest Chairman Jack Lee in particular. We would draw the Board and other leaseholders attention to the following:

1) Jack Lee, despite being Chairman of WC Ltd, has no other experience of being a Director at any other business. Despite his lack of prior experience, it was Matthew Arnold that recommended Jack Lee join the Board of Warwick Crest. This complete lack of experience in standing up to a dominant supplier is now clearly evident to all.

2) Jack Lee has continued to publicly speak out in support of Matthew Arnold in recent months despite being repeatedly shown the misleading / inaccurate information Matthew Arnold has been sending to Warwick Crest leaseholders regarding “justification” for the works required post the EWS1 survey.

3) Jack Lee has himself been repeating the same misleading / inaccurate information to shareholders & leaseholders of WC.

4) Since the EGM in Sep 2020, Jack Lee has sat on the board of Warwick Crest Ltd whilst 3 of the other 4 Directors there had been since that time resigned on him.

5) Jack Lee attempted to push through changes to the WC Ltd Articles of Association at the last AGM which would have made it far more difficult to remove MetroPM / Matthew Arnold as Managing Agent – there is NO justification for this as being in the best interests of WC Ltd shareholders and it was only stopped following effort from enough shareholders.

6) After two former Warwick Crest Directors (George Zhao and Ian Bush) discovered suspicious payments being made from the Warwick Crest bank account last year, Jack Lee has done nothing to question the conduct and relationship of our Managing Agent with those landscapers (or other suppliers). All payments in question appeared to have been authorised by Matthew Arnold of MetroPM, and further email evidence uncovered that the same practice of repeated overcharging on invoices was happening at numerous other developments all managed by Matthew Arnold and using the same landscapers. (WC-FLAG has been advised by former Director Ian Bush that the court case against Jack Lee, Matthew Arnold and Matt Rendu regarding these issues is still ongoing).

7) Following the discovery of suspicious payments mentioned in point 6 above, Jack Lee and Matthew Arnold together assured shareholders that we would not be left out of pocket. However, Jack Lee as Chairman of WC Ltd “negotiated” a settlement from Matthew Arnold as “recompense” for the landscaper overcharging that was far less than the rebate MetroPM had requested from the landscapers. We still want to know what happened to the difference and why was the figure far lower than the amount actually overcharged?

8) Rather than act to protect the interests of WC shareholders in the above landscaper invoices investigation, Jack Lee chose to leave a glowing 5 star review of both the Managing Agents and the landscapers on google during that period.

9) Jack Lee has not answered the points raised by WC-FLAG following his emails to leaseholders in recent weeks that contained wholly inaccurate information.

We look forward to answers to our questions and changes to the Board so that all Board members are ones who will act in the best interests of Warwick Crest going forward.

Kind regards

Warwick Crest Freeholder & Leaseholder Action Group (WC-FLAG)
Ms Noor (4 WC) Mr Rubakantha (33 & 37 WC) Mr Zhao (53 WC) Mr Bush (32 WC) Mr Norman (35 WC) Ms Gold (19 WC) Ms Vale (61 & 62 WC) Mr Hall (66 WC) Mr Sartorius (64 WC) Mr Sahota (46 WC) Ms Forrester (9 WC) Ms Shah (30 WC) Dr Umotong (11 WC) Mr Gilliland (32 WC) Mr Walden (34 WC) & others

Tenth email from WC-FLAG to the Board of WC:

Date: 12 September 2021

Dear Board of Directors of Warwick Crest Limited (WCL) and Fellow Warwick Crest (WC) Property Owners,

WC-FLAG responds to the Board’s recent update sent 3rd September 2021. It is deeply concerning that once again the Board’s update gives inaccurate information to WC leaseholders, and poses yet more questions.

Most concerning of all, is that WC-FLAG is now being deliberately obstructed in seeking alternative solutions for leaseholders – including threats of police! (see more in point 1 in doc attached).

WC-FLAG, since its inception, has been working tirelessly on behalf of WC owners to challenge the findings of the EWS1 and subsequent surveys, put a stop to completely unnecessary work, reduce the cost of any repairs needed, and ensure any repairs still required are completed quickly (bearing in mind the Board have already taken 10 months to achieve no repairs at all, on a matter that they were told needed immediate attention!)

On 8th September 2021, The Guardian newspaper published an articleLeaseholders risk being fleeced by profiteering landlords and builders post Grenfell, warns top adviser. Dame Judith Hackitt urges people to challenge huge bills by insisting on second opinion’.

Even before this article, WC-FLAG has been doing exactly that – getting second opinions to prevent profiteering suppliers ripping us all off. WC-FLAG are painfully aware of the depression and suicidal thoughts of some property owners at WC as a result of their bankruptcy that would follow if all works originally proposed by the Board and Managing Agent Matthew Arnold were forced through. As such, we have continued to keep fighting and asking difficult questions on their, and all our behalf. And we will continue to do so.

The attached pdf shows the detail behind the following questions / comments WC-FLAG has for the Board:

1) WC-FLAG requests that WCL includes WC-FLAG in all their dealings with MHCLG/BRE tests and funding application. The reason WC-FLAG exists is because the workings of WCL have not been transparent and very questionable decisions are being made. This will only be resolved if WC-FLAG are involved in these crucial matters on behalf of all leaseholders.

2) WC-FLAG wishes to know was it the Board or Matthew Arnold that instructed Jim to threaten calling the police on a contractor visiting WC who was invited to attend by WC-FLAG? (see section 1)

3) WC-FLAG wishes to understand the relationship between consultants CHPK, the Board of WCL and Matthew Arnold / MetroPM (see section 1). So please will WCL tell us:

  1. Who approached / recommended CHPK to project manage the EWS1 problem? The Board or Matthew Arnold?
  2. Did WCL advertise for Project Managers?
  3. Who agreed a fee where the higher the cost of the projects proposed by the contractor, the more that same contractor was paid?
  4. Does the Board think this fee arrangement was good commercial practice and likely to be in any way beneficial for WC leaseholders?
  5. Please show the contract signed between WCL and CHPK

4) Why are our Board proposing a more complex design for the replacement of the spandrel panels? The more complex, the higher the cost of course but the Board proposal will also drastically alter the appearance of the building, creating an additional 8no 16 storey tall coloured strips up the face of the Front and Rear of the building? Why have leaseholders not been consulted on this? (see section 2)

5) Will this design change require planning permission? If these are installed without relevant permissions will that mean extra cost to remedy? Have the board factored the extra weeks or months of delays that obtaining planning permission will cause in getting this URGENT work done (urgent in Nov 2020!)? (see section 2)

6) Julia Kettle’s question – ‘What happens if someone cannot pay’ for all these works – UNANSWERED!! (see section 3)

7) It is SIMPLY NOT TRUE when the Board states the work to dismantle brick work around the rubbish chutes to install fire cavity barriers is required as part of the EWS1 remediation. It is NOT mentioned at all in the works required to remedy the EWS1. (see section 4)

8) The Board have REFUSED to even consider an abseil maintenance company and given reasons that make no practical sense. Not only that, but when WC-FLAG arranged for an abseil company to visit site to look at the works required and prepare an alternative quote, our Board refused them access to the roof to check the strength of abseil connection points, and our estate manager Jim threatened to call the police if they stepped one foot inside the building! We consider this action from our Board and/or Managing Agent to be completely unacceptable. WC-FLAG also has to question the “advice” being given about abseil maintenance being “unsafe”, bearing in mind abseil construction is used safely and effectively around the world on major projects! (see sections 1 and section 5)

9) The Board say “they are not replacing any ground floor windows”. WC-FLAG must ask therefore why the detailed tender specification asks the contractors to quote for “provisionally allow to remove 1no window from ground floor level” and “provisionally allow to remove all remaining windows from ground floor level”. This is not stated as necessary anywhere in the EWS1 report. Are the Board aware of what is actually in the tender specification they / their consultants CHPK prepared? (see section 6)

10) The Board are well aware that WC-FLAG has already challenged many of the answers they give in their update on 3 Sep in our own response sent more than 2 weeks earlier on 15 August 2021, yet the Board do not answer these points, simply repeat the same information. For completeness, we attach it again to this email. We still expect an answer to all our questions and points raised in that document.

Sent by:

Warwick Crest Freeholder & Leaseholder Action Group (WC-FLAG)

Ms Noor (4 WC) Mr Rubakantha (33 & 37 WC) Mr Zhao (53 WC) Mr Bush (32 WC) Mr Norman (35 WC) Ms Gold (19 WC) Ms Vale (61 & 62 WC) Mr Hall (66 WC) Mr Sartorius (64 WC) Mr Sahota (46 WC) Ms Forrester (9 WC) Ms Shah (30 WC) Dr Umotong (11 WC) Mr Gilliland (32 WC) Mr Walden (34 WC) & others