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Infamous property industry figure loses Tribunal case brought by former staff

Craig Cook, who established failed estate agency marketing business Cream Club, is to pay former staff of his subsequent business £3,000 over unauthorised deductions.

Nigel Lewis

courts tribunal purplebricks

Craig Cook, the infamous businessman who ran a failed estate agency marketing services company, has lost an employment tribunal case brought by two former employees.

craig cookCook (pictured), who for a time operated Cream Club and is currently banned from being a director following the financial collapse of the company during 2015/16 and a subsequent Insolvency Service investigation, was taken to the Tribunal by two former employees, Martin Seib and Oliver Hilton. A third, George Turnball, did not pursue his claim.

Seib and Hilton claimed that unauthorised deductions had been made from their wages with a total value of over £3,000 after they left Property Collection Worldwide Ltd, which formerly traded as Homebook.club Ltd.

The firm, which still operates via a partnership, offers agents a range of services including lead-generating software and video and social media all through territory-based exclusivity deals.

Seib and Hilton were both employed by the company between December 2015 and February 2016.

High Court

The Employment Tribunal case brought by the pair was delayed by a High Court action initiated by Cook, who unsuccessfully contended that they and others conspired to set up in competition having taken confidential information from his company.

The judge said that Cook is ‘extremely bitter’ about the circumstances of the pair’s departure from the firm.

In evidence to the Tribunal, Cook sought to justify the shortfall in the payments made to [Seib and Hamilton] on the basis that they had been absent from work or not working for the respondent during working hours and so were not entitled to be paid, an argument that the Tribunal rejected.

“I find that Mr Cook has failed to prove that either claimant was absent from work and/or failing to work for the respondent during working hours,” said Judge Alliott.

“As such, I find that the respondent did not have a lawful reason to fail to pay wages properly due to the claimants and was in breach of contract in not doing so.”

Read the case judgement in full.

April 6, 2022

One comment

  1. If you know Cook then you won’t be surprised to know that the judgment amount + interest + costs remain outstanding and consequently additional penalties of approximately £1500 have been imposed on Property Collection Worldwide Ltd by the Employment Tribunal Penalties Team.

    These figures are a drop in the ocean when compared with the £336k of creditors shown on Property Collection Worldwide Ltd’s last published set of accounts:

    If Cook and his wife Claire Cook (nee Claire Olphert) are now operating as a sole traders in Property Collection Partnership as a result of their 13 year disqualification then I wonder if Property Collection Worldwide Ltd will be able to pay its debts or if their appointed Director (Philip Dickinson of Hockeys Estate Agents in Cambridge) will liquidate it in the same way as Cook did with Cochrane Inns Ltd, Creative Leisure (Edinburgh) Limited, Cream Worldwide Ltd, Cabec Ltd & Cream Club Ltd so that he can be ‘debt free’ all over again?

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