Builder’s high court claim against Hethel-based Lotus Group and chief executive Dany Bahar

Norfolk's iconic car maker Group Lotus and its boss are facing a high court wrangle over an unpaid bill of more than �92,000.

Self-employed builder Nicholas Foreman, who trades as J-Max Builders and Carpenters, has filed a joint claim against Lotus Cars Ltd and its chief executive Dany Bahar for �92,485, for work at Wychwood House on Norwich Road, in Hethersett.

Claims documents filed at the High Court of Justice in London reveal the action centres upon almost �375,000 worth of renovation work, paid for by the loss-making company, of a house rented by the chief executive.

Mr Foreman, whose company is listed as being based at St Andrew's Business Park, in Thorpe, said he quoted for 'substantial' building work valued at almost �375,000 before Mr Bahar was due to move in, which was paid for by cheque from a Lotus Cars Ltd bank account. However, two invoices for extra work, which was directly ordered by Mr Bahar to be completed as quickly as possible, have been left unpaid.

Mr Foreman said that when he approached Lotus Cars Ltd for payment he was told for the first time through solicitors of a potential dispute over workmanship.

The claim form said: 'In early February 2012 the second defendant's (Lotus Cars Ltd) solicitors delivered a CD containing 103 photographs which allegedly highlighted the defendant's (Danny Bahar) complaints about the claimant's (Mr Foreman) work.

'Of those photographs, 61 related to work carried out by contractors not connected to the claimant (Mr Foreman) and the remaining photographs show 25 minor snagging defects (such as in one case a single screw missing from a doorknob and in another a small dirty mark on a door), which the claimant (Mr Foreman) had expected to rectify on his planned return visit on 16 October 2011.

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'This he had organised with the first defendant (Mr Bahar) precisely for the purpose of attending to any snagging issues, in accordance with common building practice.

'The claimant (Mr Foreman) estimates that the said snagging items would have taken no more than four man-days to attend to at a cost (to himself) of less than �1,000.'

Mr Foreman claims he was initially approached by Lotus Group employee Robert Hardingham to rectify 'sub-standard' work by a previous builder on Mr Bahar's previous home, which was paid for from a personal account.

The claim has been filed through solicitors Hansells, who served the papers on Lotus Cars Ltd and Dany Bahar in early March. Lotus and Mr Bahar must file a defence by the beginning of May.

Earlier this year the Malaysian government's investment firm Khazanah Nasional sold its controlling stake in Proton to Malaysian car distributor and importer DRB-Hicom in a �276m dea.

This sparked speculation about the future of Group Lotus, and whether the new owners would sign up to the five-year turnaround for the loss making company to move from a specialist niche car company to a profitable sports car brand.

Lotus declined to comment.

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