Kent’s most famous landlord has been banned from selling off his houses to prevent him from paying £250,000 in legal costs.
Fergus Wilson is thought to be a multi-millionaire after owning up to 300 properties at one time, worth up to £40 million. He has been ordered to pay £250,000 after a 10-year dispute with Ashford Borough Council.
Last year Mr Wilson was ordered by the High Court to make a part payment in costs of £125,000 while the full amount is considered by a judge and a final figure of £250,000 was reached.
In a bid to avoid paying the fine, Mr Wilson claimed he could not afford to pay his legal bill – as he was thought he had signed over his assets to wife Judith.
Investigators looking into the issue on behalf of the council (and which probably cost more than £250,000!), think the couple made more than £40million from the sale of 166 properties – with £35 million made in the last two years. So where is the missing money?
Based on the information provided by the investigators, on 13th June the council obtained an injunction via High Court (at even more cost) preventing Mr Wilson from disposing of the remaining assets, including five homes he owns in Ashford, Kent.
The council identified five properties in Ashford registered in his name and the Freezing Order prevents him from disposing of them.
The council believed there was a risk that the costs orders of the court would go unsatisfied, and that future orders would be frustrated if a freezing injunction was not made.
When the properties were found to be in his name, Mr Wilson indicated he had not known about them and they had been fraudulently put in his name when in fact they belong to his wife.
Mr Wilson was ordered not to remove from England and Wales any of his assets up to the value of £250,000, or in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of his assets up to the same value.
The court also approved interim charging orders on two of his properties.
In addition, Judge Lock ordered Mr Wilson to set out all his assets in England and Wales in the next two weeks, whether solely or jointly owned. Mr Wilson was told the order would cease to have effect if he paid £250,000 to the council within 14 days.
Mr Wilson has also been ordered to pay for the freezing injunction application which costs £20,000 and must be paid by 4pm on 27th June. Good news!
Once Judge Lock handed down the judgment, Mr Wilson said his wife Judith Wilson will pay £250,000 to the council.