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CSDM asset sale benefits other Chris Stoddard companies

03 Sep 2010 News

The owner of CSDM, which went into administration in June, has sold the fundraising agency’s assets to other companies he owns for a sum which some creditors allege is below value and jeopardises the repayment of debts.

The owner of CSDM, which went into administration in June, has sold the fundraising agency’s assets to other companies he owns for a sum which some creditors allege is below value and jeopardises the repayment of debts.

After questioning at a creditors’ meeting late last month, Chris Stoddard revealed that he had offloaded his mailing list, the most lucrative asset of the now-defunct CSDM, to his other company CS Incentive without an upfront payment. Rather than CS Incentive paying CSDM for the mailing lists, CSDM plans to withhold revenue from the lists for three months, at a value Stoddard is reported to have estimated at £100,000.

Sources talking to Civil Society estimated the lists are worth between £400,000 and £600,000 a year.

Civil Society has learned that the other assets of CSDM were sold to other ‘CS’ companies for £80,000. CSDM owed creditors £1.4m when it went into liquidation, but Stoddard at the time said he would make every effort to pay in full. Stoddard has also said publicly that he will not pursue the money owed by CSDM to his other companies – estimated at around £750,000.

“There’s no chance of creditors being paid in full,” a source at the meeting told Civil Society.

Duncan Trow, director of printing group PFC, who sits on the creditor committee, said: “If we got 20p in the pound I’d be surprised.”

Through a spokeswoman Stoddard denied claims of under-selling assets. He said the issue is in the hands of administrators and he is not able to comment on repayments.

Charities’ access to lists

While the company has been criticised in some circles for retaining the donor lists of some charities, Civil Society spoke to charities who were pleased with their arrangement.

Peter Tyrer, chief executive of the African Children’s Fund – also a trustee of another CSDM client Age Related Diseases and Health Trust – said that he had no complaints with the company.

“The African Children’s Fund is happy to have agreed a new contract with CSDM Fundraising the successor company,” he said.

“In order to keep our operating costs to the bare minimum we remain very happy to share our database with CSDM Fundraising, and have asked them to continue to manage it on our behalf.”

The CSDM spokeswoman said that charities which decided to continue their work with the new CS companies continued on the previous arrangement whereby CSDM holds the donor details. “For those charities that elected not to transfer their contracts, the donor lists wholly owned by the charity have either been returned already or are in the process of being returned – the timing has been determined by discussions with the charity. There has been full data protection compliance at all times,” she said.

Despite earlier reports that the new companies would consider joining the FRSB, chief executive Alistair McLean said the organisation has “absolutely not” yet been contacted by the agencies.

In public forums Stoddard has blamed a small group of people with a personal grievance against him for negative coverage.

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