Tony Ramsden trial: Bankruptcy was common knowledge, says accused former councillor (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Tony Ramsden trial: Bankruptcy was common knowledge, says accused former councillor
A FORMER councillor accused of living a lavish lifestyle while failing to pay back a business partner said “everyone” knew he was bankrupt.
Anthony Ramsden-Geary, 44, of Western Road, Poole, was declared bankrupt twice, once in 1993 from which he was discharged two years later, and in 2003 which lapsed in 2008, before he borrowed £25,000 from Christopher Wardrop.
However, the defendant, who previously represented the £150 million Winter Gardens scheme for Bournemouth town centre, said it was “absolute tosh” that Mr Wardrop wasn't aware.
Ramsden-Geary told the jury at Bournemouth Crown Court that the money was used to pay off his family home in Flaghead Road, Poole, although the cheque was made out to his father as wife Harriet was away on a five-week holiday in Spain at the time.
The planning consultant has already pleaded guilty to five counts relating to breeches of the Insolvency Act, including two of taking part in the management of a company while an undischarged bankrupt and two of contravening restrictions on the re-use of a company name.
Michael Hall, of Coy Pond Developments Ltd in Wimborne, said he also lent the defendant £55,000 for his company without knowing he had been declared bankrupt, although the allegation is not part of the trial.
Ramsden-Geary said the two were introduced by leader of the borough council, Cllr John Beesley, at a civic function before becoming friends.
He added: “[While introducing us] John said, 'This is Mike Hall, I've known him a long time, and this is Tony Ramsden, he has come off the council because he has been made insolvent.
'Mike knows a lot about property and planning, and Tony knows about it, and you may be able to help each other'. I remember it clearly because I was so embarrassed [about the mention of bankruptcy].”
Ramsden-Geary, who called Cllr Beesley “the straightest, most honest person I've ever met”, told the court that Mr Hall even lobbied for him to become a member of his branch of the Freemasons in Parkstone.
He said his financial status was well-known and would have been a part of his membership request.
Rufus Taylor, prosecuting, said it was “galling” for Mr Wardrop and Mr Hall to see him driving his loaned Porsche 911 and Range Rover, at a cost of £2,700 a month, and going on extended holidays to Majorca with his wife while he owed them money.
But the defendant said: “It was a perceived lifestyle.
“The cars were on loan and that was the first holiday we'd had in years.”
Ramsden-Geary denies one charge of obtaining credit while an undisclosed bankrupt.
The trial continues.