Leeds chairman 'made dinner offer'25/04/2012 - 17:31:57
Leeds United chairman Ken Bates told his lawyer he would publicly offer dinner for two for anyone with information on the whereabouts of an ex-director who is now suing him for harassment, a court heard today.
Melvyn Levi and his wife Carole claim they have suffered stress as a result of announcements on the club radio station allegedly likening Mr Levi to a criminal on the run.
They also claim comments made by Mr Bates in his programme notes amounted to speculation over the state of their marriage.
Mr Levi is seeking damages from Mr Bates, the club and its radio station, Yorkshire Radio, at Leeds County Court.
Mr Levi claims radio announcements asking for information on his whereabouts during a Leeds match on Boxing Day 2010 likened him to “a fugitive”.
Over that Christmas period, Mr Bates was trying to serve a writ against Mr Levi but found out from his wife that he was away until the New Year.
The Leeds chairman was pursuing legal action against Mr Levi for £190,400 Mr Bates claims he and another party owed the club.
Simon Myerson QC, for Mr Levi, claimed that Bates’s lawyer, Hiren Mistry, had heard from the club that someone spotted the Levis having dinner in Leeds in December, but held back on serving legal papers.
Mr Myerson asked him: “Is it because Mr Bates had told you there would be announcements on Yorkshire Radio every day for two weeks offering dinner for two for information provided?”
Mr Mistry replied: “He did tell me that, yes.”
Mr Myerson continued: “Is it the case Mr Bates said ’Don’t worry about service. We are going to put a radio announcement out’?”
Mr Mistry replied: “Absolutely not. Procedure is procedure.”
On hearing about the Levis’ dinner, he said: “If it was concrete we would have acted upon it.”
Mr Mistry, who was working for Sinels law firm at the time, told the court he did not instruct the relevant people to serve the legal papers as he wanted to keep legal costs down for Mr Bates and Leeds United.
In 2009, Mr Levi successfully sued Mr Bates for libel over articles written in the programme and the Leeds chairman was ordered to pay £50,000 (€61,000) damages plus costs to Mr Levi.
Yesterday in court, Mr Bates was accused of using the club’s programme to pursue a personal vendetta and make the lives of the Levis “a misery” after he wrote an article in January 2011 speculating as to why the couple had “split” over the festive season.
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