And the award for 'Best Legal Awards Company in Liquidation facing Allegations of Wrongdoing' goes to...
The directors of a legal awards company have agreed to pay £75,000 to settle claims of wrongdoing.
Siblings Mark and Andrew Palmer owned a stable of web award magazines through their company Parity Media, which collapsed in 2017 owing £499,000 to unsecured creditors.
None of the money was deemed recoverable, but the Palmers walked away from Parity's debts and purchased its assets for £50,000 in a pre-pack administration deal. They relaunched as Universal Media and it continues to hand out awards to lawyers through publications including Lawyer Monthly and Finance Monthly.
Begbies Traynor, the administrators of Parity, reported to creditors that there were potentially multiple grounds on which to pursue the Palmers, including misfeasance (misappropriating money and/or breaching fiduciary duties), making a transaction at an undervalue (by selling Parity's assets at a loss), preference (by giving more 'parity' to one creditor than the others), and potentially other wrongful acts, and that it had instructed Freeths to advise.
The latest liquidator's report reveals that the Palmers were sent draft proceedings, but agreed in a mediation conducted by Clarke Wilmott to settle the potential claims against them for £75,000, with £30,000 payable by 30 May 2022 and the remainder by 29 July 2022.
The Palmers did not respond to a request for comment, which is not completely unexpected given that Andrew Palmer previously told RollOnFriday to "Please refrain from ever contacting me, or any other person at Universal Media ever again".
His annoyance may stem from 2018 when RollOnFriday invented a fake law firm with male genitalia as its logo and Danny Glover as its Managing Partner, and scooped Finance Monthly's 'Nigerian Film Financing Law Firm of the Year' award.* Universal Media even came back after the story was picked up by the wider press to check if the bogus outfit was interested in purchasing a trophy and a publicity package.
When queried about the claims of wrongdoing relating to Parity in 2019, Andrew Palmer said, "That's none of your business whatever how we make money, how we went insolvent. We're not running any sham here. Donald Trump, the president, had three companies that were made bankrupt. That's just business".
Freeths and Begbies Traynor said they were unable to comment.