RMJM is understood to have agreed to pay £25,000 to avoid a potential winding-up petition lodged by about 25 current and former employees
More from: Ex-staff demand RMJM prosecutions
Lawyers representing the group, which was claiming £167,594 in missing wages, redundancy payments and expenses, lodged the petition on Friday afternoon and a hearing had been scheduled at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to consider the action today (24 July).
Although the deal to defer the winding-up action was struck yesterday, it is unclear whether the £25,000 has yet been paid to the clamaints’ solicitors Simpson & Marwick.
If received, the ailing practice will have 14 days to counter the claims for the monies which it insists are not owed and to set out how the company intends to pay the remaining undisputed amounts.
According to reports, the litigation by the ex-staff has been financed by the RIBA and RIAS.
RMJM’s commercial director, Declan Thompson, would not comment on the agreed payment amount but said the matter had been ‘sorted’.
Previous story (AJ 22.07.2013)
RMJM chief ‘appalled’ by RIBA support for employee action
RMJM’s group commercial director has said he is ‘appalled’ by reports that the RIBA is funding a group action against the ailing practice
It is understood the institute, together with the RIAS, is backing an action brought in Scotland by about 25 current and former employees together claiming £167,594 in missing wages, redundancy payments and expenses.
The move comes just months after RIBA president Angela Brady vowed to ‘get to the bottom’ of a complaint made to the institute against RMJM and called for other staff to come forward with any concerns they may also have over the beleaguered practice.
Now a claim has been lodged by Edinburgh law firm Simpson & Marwick on behalf of the former employees and a winding-up petition could be lodged against the practice later today (22 July).
In response, RMJM’s commercial director, Declan Thompson, said: ‘I don’t know if these rumours [about RIBA’s financial support for the action] are true because nobody at the RIBA has come back to me and I’ve been calling them every day.
‘But [if correct] this has left me speechless. We [as a company] have just renewed our RIBA membership. I find it amazing that the fees which left our door two or three weeks ago will facilitate an action against us from people, some of whom aren’t RIBA members. I’m appalled.’
He added: ‘And, if true, I’m not sure about the legality of what they have done. The institute is supposed to protect our interests and I don’t know what message it sends out.’
Thompson also claimed that some of the monies claimed had not yet become due.
Asked to comment on the reports that the RIBA had ‘bankrolled’ the action, a spokesperson for the institute said: ’The RIBA and RIAS do not comment on investigations into any specific complaints about chartered practices or disciplinary cases in relation to individual RIBA members.
‘We can confirm that we have been offering support to a number of our members who have raised concerns as RMJM employees.’
Meanwhile reports have emerged from the US of another potential law suit - this time brought by Alpha Associates Inc, which, according to the West Virginia Legal Record, is suing RMJM for failing to pay about £100,000 in consultancy fees.
RMJM said it had not yet been served with any papers and believed the claim, if it existed, related to a project on which it also had not been fully reimbursed.
RMJM stumps up £25,000 to defer court action