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Dear Member,

 

My name is Dinesh Varsani, I am the Chairman of Enfield Island Village Trust and I am pleased to present our budget for 2015/16, as well as a bird’s eye view of the last 5 years of the income and expenditure in maintaining the Village. As you know, it has been a trying year whereby the current Trustees have vigorously investigated and identified material irregularities in the expenditure, the conduct and possible negligence of previous Trustees and the previous managing agent Amber and non compliant financial statements.

 

With regret, the same individuals who repeatedly called for the EGMs in the last 3 years are once again forcing the Trust to hold yet another election in the hope that they take control so that they would hand the management of the Village back to Amber, despite the fact that on 28 April 2014 you, the members, voted overwhelmingly supporting the current board of Trustees. Each time these individuals call for an EGM, the costs to the Trust are circa £15,000 to £20,000. You will note from the current Rent charge demand that as a result of these frivolous requests for EGM’s we have had to add a supplementary one off charge of £30 to cover the shortfall in the budget. The Trust is currently in the process of taking legal action restricting such frivolous and unnecessary actions from continuing indefinitely. We will update all members in due course.

 

We are currently in the process of organising the Annual General Meeting (AGM) where you can all attend to cast your vote on a number of issues including voting for Trustees. Notices of the AGM will be sent to you in due course by an independent election services provider (Electoral Reform Services) to ensure, once again, that fair, tamper proof and unblemished elections are held which will include proxy provisions for those of you who are unable to attend the AGM in person. We want you there so that you have the opportunity to hear the real truth of what the facts are. To state the facts simply, this battle for control of the Trust is basically a battle by a very small number of Amber friendly owners hell bent on reappointing Amber as the managing agent. Trustees are lay people with the main responsibility of overseeing the managing agent. However, regrettably, every time Trustees questioned the managing agent Amber in the past, they were vilified, harassed and slandered into not only resigning, but also moving out of their home in the Village. This tactic seems to be the exact same tactic exercised on our current managing agent and his family, who nevertheless decided to persevere and defend the Trust’s finances to the detriment of his own family.

 

We should all remember the false accusations of fraud and the claim that our budget was a budget of fantasy made against our current managing agent ICRI Ltd. Well, now that we all have the hindsight of ICRI’s management for a complete year, you can all see in the enclosed budget that not only was the budget NOT A FANTASY, the reserves have increased despite the fact that the Rent charge receipts have decreased by £226,000 being the reductions given to all of us since ICRI took over, and in real terms had it not been for the legal expenses the Trust has been forced to incur and the loss of funding for the Community Centre due to the slanderous remarks of the group calling themselves “Save the Island group”, we would have achieved an adjusted budget surplus of considerably more than the £8,000 we have already achieved. The expenditure in maintaining the Village in 2010/11 was £321,411, 2011/12 £385,091, 2012/13 £399,848, 2013/14 £367,058 and in the last year 2014/15, the new managing agent ICRI Ltd, reduced the expenditure to £258,065 which includes £36,000 of unnecessary legal fees attributable to this group of individuals claiming that their purpose is to save the village. I am sure you will all agree that the figures above speak for themselves and on reflection we can calculate that over the 5 years had ICRI have managed the Village as opposed to Amber, the Trust would have saved enough to reduce your Rent charges by £565,000. The current board is very grateful to ICRI for this achievement and acknowledges the immense amount of work that Vladimir Ioannou has contributed outside of his duties as managing agent, in particular that of piecing together everything that was inherited from Amber including not keeping proper books of accounts and submitting non-compliant accounts and all of these achieved despite every obstacle being put in his way.

 

The Trust is currently facing litigation from Amber Management for £242,310.08 being 3 years of management fees, based on a penalty clause in a ludicrous contract signed without even taking proper legal advice, by the same group who held the EGM in April 2012 namely Richard Palczynski, Vincent Green, I Goztas, Karen Wilkie, Carmen Wallace, G Parmar, P Devchand and J Aneto, many of whom, now led by Vincent Green and Gary Archer, are frenetically battling for control of the Trust with what we believe to be the singular purpose of dismissing our current managing agent and hand the management of the Trust back to Amber. I would invite all of you to ask this question. Why would any Trustee battle so fiercely in order to bring back the old regime (Amber) to maintain the village for £400,000 instead of £255,000 and for a far superior results by ICRI?

 

On a positive note, in respect to Ambers claim for £242,310.08, I can assure you that we have 2 barristers opinions that such a claim is frivolous with no possibility for success; in fact the Trust is preparing a counterclaim against Amber for what we estimate to be over £500,000 for frivolously spending money without due care and attention and contrary to the terms of S.19 of the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985. In addition we are also claiming over £31,000 from the previous Community Centre worker, Martine Eni, for funds overpaid and/or illegally obtained whilst under the supervision of Vincent Green and Karen Wilkie (former Trustees).

 

I would urge you not to become complacent over the current situation and exercise your right to vote, as complacency could bring back Amber and such an occurrence will mean that all the hard work and achievements during the last 15 months by the Trustees and the managing agent will have been for nothing. Most worrying is that we believe that such an occurrence will completely wipe out all our reserves, with the inevitability of a considerable increase of the Rent charge in order to replenish the Trust’s depleted reserves. There have been many attempts over the years to exert some sort of control over the management of the village, each having being met by either the removal or resignation of the Trustees who questioned Amber’s performance. We are in fact the first group of Trustees to succeed and as much as the ongoing battle may seem like an inconvenience to many, it is not realistic to expect such change without retaliation from Amber who has lost their lucrative contract. However, this cannot be achieved unless you, as the benefitting members, voice your opinion and support the current Trustees to continue with the good work they are doing. The Trustees are very proud of their achievements to date and would not like to see the Village fall back into the old regime and for that we do really need your support.

 

In short what we achieved is as follows:

         1. The Rent charge was reduced from £235.92 to £150.00 in retrospect from 2013 for the third year running

         2. Our Village is cleaner with daily litter picking

         3. Fly tipping is constantly reducing, except in those areas still under Amber’s management

         4. Expenditure to maintain the Village has been reduced by over £100,000 p.a.

         5. Proper accounts are kept and the Trustees are given proper and detailed explanations of all income and expenditure

         6. The Community Centre is no longer running at a loss

         7. Statements Of Recognised Practices (SORPs) compliant accounts are now filed at the Charities Commission

         8. Property values have risen considerably in comparison to previous years.

 

Finally we would invite nominations for additional Trustees who can volunteer at least, but not restricted to, 2 hours per month. Please be aware that any of the previous Trustees who are being sued by the Trust for negligence and/or damages cannot be allowed to stand due to the conflict of interest, as it is the duty of a Trustee to act in the best interest of the Trust and never for individual benefit.

 

An application form for nominations can be found under ‘downloads’ at www.eiv.org.uk/downloads. Applications must be made in writing (no emails please) and sent to the Trust at 40-42 Island Centre Way, Enfield EN3 6GS. Each application needs to state whether the intention is to appoint Amber or retain the current managing agent. Each applicant must be paid up fully with their Rent charge. If your intention is to reappoint Amber you must state your reasons why so that this can be conveyed to all the members for their consideration. We strongly support democratic process however due to the huge differences in Amber’s costs in maintaining the Village compared to the current managing agent, it would be more transparent for voting members to be clear as to the intentions of each Trustee. I would like to point out that Trustees require no special qualifications or knowledge and are not expected to carry out any duties which are the responsibility of the managing agent. However nominees with a criminal record cannot become Trustees. A Trustee’s role is to oversee the work of the managing agent and be a representative voice for members. In reality the managing agent is paid to maintain the Village and this is, in effect, the choice you are actually making when you vote for Trustees.

 

Trustees are encouraged to participate in activities and initiatives that benefit the Village and we are welcoming of members reasonable ideas and suggestions. Currently Nick Nicolaou, one of the Trustees, with the help of Vladimir Ioannou, has set up and is successfully running a youth football league which many of you may have noticed on the Village. In addition in his capacity as a Trustee and not as the managing agent, Vladimir and I have been working on an allotment project for the Ecology Area whereby we are putting forward plans to change this historically ignored vast amount of disused land into a garden and allotment area to benefit those in the Village and provide a useful sanctuary for all to enjoy. You may have noticed a new fence has been erected to protect the area from vandalism and to contain the Japanese knotweed from spreading into the Village, however this has been met by fierce resistance from the “Save the Island group” and the gate has been cut off twice and discarded behind the overgrowth out of sight. This type of vandalism has cost the Trust over £2,000. We are very disappointed at such criminal and mindless activity within our community and would urge all members to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to either the Trust or the Police.

 

I look forward to seeing all of you at the AGM to be held at the Community Centre scheduled for the 14th May 2015, details of the AGM and the resolutions to be passed will follow in due course from the independent election provider (Electoral Reform Services).

 

Yours truly,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinesh Varsani (Chairman)

Enfield Island Village Trust

A Note from the Chairman

27 March 2015

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