Constructive Disaster

Rex, he is a taker. A user, not of drugs of people.

Rex is a difficult and critical man. Rex is a bully. Rex believes himself to be intelligent and superior. Rex thinks himself to be wealthy.

Jane is a looker. Men crave, and women envy, her looks and body.

Jane has a Credit Union bank account. Every Monday and Friday she deposits one hundred and six pounds into her account. Jane’s lucky number is seven, numerically one hundred and six resolves down to seven. One add zero add six equals seven. The account is healthy, over fifty-thousand pounds.

Sidney has never liked Rex. He has always overcharged for his services and insisted on immediate payment once the accounts for each quarter have been prepared. Although Rex has been an excellent client and in fairness, up until some months ago, a reasonable business man. Sidney cannot engage with this ‘know-all’ who sits in front of him, he preferred to talk of his personal achievements, the next cruise or his new watch, rather than discuss where he’s losing the small sums of money which add up to substantial amounts. Although Sidney accepts the used car lot and the attached garage is for all of its faults an excellent business.

“Rex, I did warn you of the possible consequences of trading with Felix.”
“I’ll kill the bastard.”
“I would rather not listen to that non-sense Rex.” Secretly Sidney Blunt is delighted to see the oaf under pressure, so delighted in fact, that even if he loses the fee for this quarters account he’ll not care a damn.

Dennis Felix is consummate businessman. The one objective is success. The accountant Sidney has a grudging admiration for this man who came from nowhere to become as wealthy as man needs to be. When Felix asked eight specially selected ‘friends’ to join him in building the new marina, Rex felt his business life was taking momentum. Dennis’s invitation was an acknowledgement to his business acumen. Sidney remembers his warning “Rex, be careful you’re staking twenty years of your life and borrowing money to be part of this syndicate. As your accountant I need to caution you with regard to the time and over run clauses.”  “What can go wrong Sid? It’s Dennis Felix. I’m in with the winners, there’s half a million or more profit in this, a dream come true.” Sidney decided to cover himself and wrote a letter to Rex in which he pointed out his concerns and the problems he could well encounter if there were delays in construction. He keeps the acknowledgment letter in his safe and there is a ‘certain’ smugness as he visualises the sheet of A4 paper folded in the return envelope surrounded by his most valuable possessions.

Dennis Felix had only two friends, namely his shadow and his back pocket. When he approached the eight businessmen who he called his friends, each one of them should have realised he was being too chummy. In this mid sized coastal town the investors have become known as the tragic eight. All having lost eight hundred thousand pounds in what should have been a ‘sure fire winner’. A favourite phrase of the aforementioned Mr Felix.

It is an old story. An entrepreneur discovers a site for development. High profit for a short term investment. He needs to have a reputation of success. To win in the investment game there has to be a ‘reputation’. The mother company is set up and a call for investors goes out. In this case eight were approached, the project was to develop the small fishing town’s harbour into a modern marina. Small bars, apartments, shops and one hundred and fifty moorings at two thousand a year a pop. Return on the investment a million each on a two year time scale. Project cost fifteen million. Eight individuals are invited to ‘invest’ eight hundred thousand each (six point four million) the balance made up by… Yes Dennis Felix, who being the major investor (nine million) pulls the strings and writes up the contracts.  Within the contract there are written certain clauses which can demand financial top ups and further investment in the event of unforeseen hold-ups or problems. The penalties for breaking the agreements are severe.

What happened? The initial contractor became bankrupt within the first eight months of the building work. Along with the bankruptcy the civil engineers took with them three and a half million of pre payments.  The investors were asked for top ups to prop up the venture. Most had gone to the limit of their credit score and could not re-invest. The penalty clauses came into play and they lost their stakes in the development. Dennis Felix purchased the options with the three and a half million he had creamed off from the construction company he owned.

End result for Rex? A life times work in ruins.

“Rex you did not listen to me before, I’d like to ask you a question my friend.”

As Sidney waits for a reply from the forlorn and felled man in front of him, he reflects upon a word which has become a stranger to him ‘friend’ and he then remembers his father taught him never to criticise a client “Always let ’em think you’re a friend lad, it’s their money in our own account that matters.” Sidney senior would light his pipe, look at his son, drink the remainder of his pint and say “Be Mr Morecash not Mr Penniless lad, thats the motto of Sidney Blunt & Sons Chartered rogues and Accountants.” How the old chap loved the family motto. ‘Be Mr Morecash not Mr Penniless”  He had repeated the same sentence to his own son only last week as they stood in exactly the same place at the bar in the same pub his father loved so much. Family and tradition, money cannot buy it.

“Rex, my friend are you listening to me?”
“What did you ask Sid?”
“Can I ask you a personal question my friend?”
“Yes… Sidney.”
“Have you some cash squirrelled away?” This question was like dropping the last bottle of whisky at a late night party. The spilt golden liquid wasted, nothing left, only the memories of the night.
“I’ve about fifteen grand in cash, if I sell me jewellery and watches about another twenty. Then there’s me wife’s jewellery, she’ll not sell at any cost, she don’t know yet… Jesus.” Rex’s voice has returned to its childhood accent, rough as rusty barbed wire. Dennis’ scam is sending him back home, rags to riches to rags in one masterful legal fraud.
“Best you hang on to it Rex, don’t let any of the creditors get wind of it. If you’re going to sell the jewellery, do it out of town or pawn it.”

Sidney had decided to play a game with the fool “I don’t want you to think about the money you owe to Blunt & Sons, you’ve been a good client and customer, we’ll not fall out over a few hundred.” Sidney knew how to play the game and he decided that Rex’s self pity should be punished, he had never liked whimperers “Oh! No Sid you’ll get your money, you’ve bin good to me over this. I should ‘av listened to yer.”

“Well the situation as best as I can advise is you need seventy-five thousand to keep yourself afloat. The National Fisherman’s Bank have called in your overdraft, so the mortgage payments on your home will not be honoured. That will give you about three months before they call in the debts. You owe tax and there are wages and overheads to pay. Yes, you need about seventy-five to see you through.” Rex had re-mortgaged the house to raise two hundred thousand, he had refinanced the cars on the sales pitch for a further one hundred thousand. Sidney continued. “You rent your garage so in theory you could trade yourself out of the situation, you need the seventy five to keep you afloat for a few months.”

The wheeler dealer knew this already and he knew something else…

“Trouble is Sid, I’d signed the house over to me wife when I went bankrupt fifteen year ago. When I borrowed the money a’gin the house I got me girlfriend to pose as me wife and sign the papers.” The accountant looked at his client, then began to slowly shake his head and in the clear and precise voice which is used for the most difficult of advice he says, “You need a lawyer not an accountant Rex. I am not sure whether you’ve committed fraud or theft,” he hesitates “Probably both.”
“I know Sid, I know.” They shake hands and the man who is now broke becomes a child again. “Thanks for your help Sid, there maybe someone out there who’ll ‘elp me, I’ll go and call in a few favours.” Sid knew there was more chance of reviving a gutted fish.
“What have you been doing today then Rex? Playing with that tart of yours?”
“We need to speak sweetheart, I’m in a little bit of bother and we might need to sell the ‘ouse.” She looks at him and shakes her head “Oh! No, you don’t Rex, this house is mine and in my name.”

Rex is not surprised, but he has to plead. “I need fifty grand, I’ve got some cash and I can sell me trinkets (his name for his watches and jewellery) at a push I can put thirty thousand together, but its not enough. I’ve bin everywhere today and all the eff’in doors are shut, no bastard want’s to know me.”

Jane thinks about the fifty-thousand she has in the credit union account. The deeds of the house in her name. She thinks about the four affairs her husband has had and the ‘legal separation’ documents drawn up to save the house when Rex became a bankrupt. She thinks of the private investigator’s report in her lawyers office and the statements she made to the police in the same office on Monday. She thinks of the Queens Council’s opinion and his empirical instruction that as Jane is in no way associated with the fraud and the deeds had been in her name for fifteen years,  she would keep the house. He went on to comment further, according to the judgement made in the case of BCK Bank Vs Maureen Lester ‘Any bank who had been defrauded were responsible for checking the documentation of the loan, if a property is used as collateral which is not owned by the applicant, the rightful owner cannot be liable for the debt’ From this president he would argue if it came to court that she had been an instrument used within the deception and not part of it. Jane was in the clear.

“You’re going to prison Rex. I’m keeping the house because the loan you secured on this property is fraudulent. The twenty-one year old girl you call your PA is going to prison for signing the documents in my name. If you look in the safe you’ll find you do not have fifteen thousand in cash or any jewellery, I have taken it. It is my payment for the last twenty-five year nightmare of living with you. You’re finished Rex. Why don’t you do the decent thing and jump off the cliffs?”

Rex’s broken body was discovered by two runners the following morning. Inspector Alan Goss went up to the big house where Rex used to live to give the tragic news to Jane, the woman who’d calmly given the statements to him earlier in the week. When the news came into the station of Rex’s suicide Alan felt it was only right to inform her himself. Truth is, he’d already fallen in love with the ex-model.

It took twenty minutes to get into the large detached property. In the lounge, by the fire place lay the body, Alan knew she was dead, the telltale stain of urine had soiled her yellow dress. Jane had been strangled.


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