Kommune bosses told to kough up after legal battle
One court tussle down, one to go
Good morning readers — and welcome to today’s Tribune.
As a journalist, there’s something distinctly glamorous — Watergate-esque even — about an anonymous source. That’s why we were pleased as punch to hear from a Tribune tipster towards the end of last month, when an email from a nameless but seemingly well-informed source landed in our inbox. Whoever it was, they’d heard we were asking around about Kommune food hall and they had some interesting information to share.
At the time of our first story, which you can find here, the two bosses of Kommune were in a legal battle with the owner of their building, Northpoint CH, hoping to win back a lease for the building held by one of their other companies. The next hearing was to be held on 21st November, a day the tipster promised would be “key for establishing facts vs speculation”. Naturally, we were going to attend… More on that below.
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🏙️ What should Sheffield’s aims and ambitions be as a city? The Sheffield City Goals are a new idea that hopes to tackle some of the biggest challenges the city is likely to face between now and 2035. Organisations including the council, both universities and Voluntary Action Sheffield are now asking residents to help them decide what the city goals should be. Now Then have a good introduction to what the city goals are and how you can get involved here.
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Things to do
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🎁 The Sharrow Vale Market returns this Sunday for a Christmas special. Expect more than 100 stalls selling a wide variety of locally-sourced and homemade produce, preserves, sweet treats, crafts, gifts and more. Alongside the stalls, there'll also be a host of live festive music and a Santa's Grotto. The market, which takes place from Hunters Bar to Stewart Road and the Peaks car parks, and includes the courtyard at Dyson Place too, runs from 12pm-4pm.
Kommune bosses told to kough up after legal battle
By Victoria Munro and Sophie Atkinson
Nick Morgan, one of two bosses of Kommune food hall in Castle House, tells me he was “delighted” earlier this week by the conclusion of a protracted legal battle involving one of his companies. It's a surprising word to use, given the immense sum that said company was instructed to pay within the next few weeks, but it’s good to hear he’s looking on the bright side.
To refresh your memory, just shy of nine months ago, staff and vendors at Kommune food hall arrived for work in the morning and discovered they couldn’t get inside the building. The owner of Castle House, Northpoint CH, had taken the extreme step of changing the locks. This abrupt seizure affected the National Videogame Museum, Zoo Digital and a number of companies Morgan owns with his long-time friend and business partner Adrian Hackett, including Kollider Social (which runs Kommune), Kurious Arts and Kollider Incubator. But the building quickly reopened as if nothing had happened, after most of the tenants signed an interim agreement with Northpoint to replace their original leases.
It could be argued that Morgan and Hackett, unlike some of the building’s other tenants, must have seen this coming. The lease for Castle House, which Northpoint forfeited when it seized control of the building, was held until that point by another of their dual-ventures, Kollider Projects. According to Northpoint, as quoted in an article in The Star, Kollider Projects had been “failing to comply with its obligations under its lease”.
During the weeks spent working on our previous story about Kommune, I heard accounts from numerous sources that Hackett and Morgan’s companies did not exactly have an unblemished track record when it came to paying their bills on time. But in one of a couple of phone calls I had with Hackett last month before he ceased all communication — a cold shoulder that remains resolutely unthawed to the time of publication — he insisted that Northpoint CH’s decision to forfeit Kollider’s lease was “not about non-payment”.
Perhaps that’s true in a big-picture way, but it’s not how the judge saw it earlier this week. On Tuesday, I attended the final hearing of Kollider Project’s nearly nine-month-long battle to win back the lease for Castle House, presided over by Deputy District Judge Brian Whitehead. “What is and is not payable,” Judge Whitehead told the court, “that’s really what this all boils down to.”