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Well known business names in legal battle

Associates have become foes in a court battle involving some well-known local business names.

R.L. Seale & Company Limited, which is headed by prominent businessman Sir David Seale, is suing former supermarket operator Edwin Worrell for about a quarter of a million dollars involved in a real estate deal originally linked to $2.3 million in debt owed by defunct supermarket chain Budg-Buy Food Fair Limited.

After fighting over the matter in the High Court for more than five years, Barbados TODAY learnt that not only did Worrell recently fail to have R.L. Seale’s statement of claim dismissed, but Budg-Buy is also now a defendant in the matter.

R.L. Seale claimed that Worrell and his company owed it $220,395 dating back to April 2002, an assertion denied by Worrell.

Relevant court documents, including an affidavit by Sir David as R.L. Seale’s chairman, stated that his company loaned Worrell $923,214, money from the purchase of a property at St. Michael’s Row in the City.

Sir David said after the property was conveyed $702,818 was repaid leaving $220,395 balance, which the businessman told the court should have been paid out of the proceeds of sale of another property. He also said this was all done via an agreement between the two businessmen.

But in his deposition Worrell, who said he was Budg-Buy’s Managing Director when the dispute ensued, gave a different version of events.

He said Budg-Buy owed R.L. Seale for stock worth more than $2.3 million and that in his capacity as a director of E & L Company Limited, which owned the St. Michael’s Row property, it was agreed that this asset would be sold to R.L. Seale and the funds used to settle the Budg-Buy debt.

Additionally, Worrell’s statement to the court said R.L. Seale wrote him as the head of the supermarket chain and reported a $220,395 “over-payment” based on a bank calculation showing a $712,818 disbursement.

He maintained there was lender/borrower agreement between himself and the wholesaler.

The lawsuit is being heard by High Court Judge Randall Worrell, with R.L. Seale represented by attorney-at-law Bryan Weekes of Weekes Kissoon Deane, while attorney-at-law Andrew Thornhill of George Walton Payne & Company is Budg-Buy and Worrell’s counsel in the matter which is now set for full trial. (SC)

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