Company behind £100k charity printer row faces investigation
PUBLISHED: 10:55 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:37 22 September 2020
A Norwich charity, which is in a legal dispute over a £100,000 contract for printers, has been given a boost after an investigation was announced into the company which helped lease it the equipment.
Charity The Missing Kind leased the printers last year with the finance supplied through a German company called Grenke.
But the charity, which runs KindaKafe on Castle Meadow, has refused to pay the £100,000 claiming it was “duped” into the contract by a third party which “mis-sold” it the printers.
That prompted Grenke to start legal action against the charity.
But Grenke is now in difficulty after a short seller released a critical report of its business model.
Grenke said it denies all allegations against it but said it would commission an independent auditing firm to investigate. Germany’s financial regulator is also considering an investigation into it, Bloomberg reported.
The case of The Missing Kind, which was first reported by this newspaper last October, was mentioned in the critical report of how Grenke operates.
Tom Gaskin, the charity’s director, said he was “duped” into paying thousands of pounds for two second hand printers through a third party called Planned Corporate Services Limited.
Planned Corporate Services said it would give the charity a £10,000 donation and pay the £22,000 cost of leasing three new printers for a year, Mr Gaskin said.
A contract was signed with Planned Corporate Services, but Mr Gaskin said that the £10,000 donation was never paid and the charity is stuck in a separate five-year contract with Grenke which wants it to pay £110,000.
Mr Gaskin claimed he had not seen the full hire agreement with Grenke, let alone signed it. He said his signature had been lifted from another document. He said he never would have signed a five-year contract for printers.
Mr Gaskin said the problems now reported at Grenke showed that their printer deal was not a one-off.
“From reading the report, our experience is a drop in the ocean,” he said. “It refers to other charities being in this situation with Grenke too.”
A spokesman for Grenke told the Daily Express that it took no part in the negotiations with the Missing Kind and it was for the hirer to do its own due diligence.
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