A FORMER boss of a Sandbanks cafe business which went bust following a fire has been ordered by a court to pay almost £590,000, liquidators say.

Cafe Shore was wrecked by a blaze in August 2014 and insurers subsequently rejected a claim because of “alleged misrepresentation”, the liquidator reported. 

Lucy Enterprises, the company which was running the cafe, has been in the hands of liquidators since 2015, and director Benjamin Brafman was barred as a company director for four years and six months for his conduct while acting for the company. His ban ended in August 2021.

In his latest report, liquidator Simon Renshaw of RG Insolvency said law firm Knights PLC had pursued a case after potential rights of legal action were sold to litigation funder Manolete Partners PLC.

Mr Renshaw wrote: “Whilst I am unable to disclose certain information as to do so may jeopardise potential recoveries, I can advise creditors that a court trial took place on October 25, 2022, and I was called to give evidence based on my witness statements.

“The judge made an order to the extent that Mr Brafman was ordered to pay the sum of £589,551.92. The matter continues to be dealt with by Knights PLC together with litigation funders and I will update creditors in due course as to any outcome.”

In previous reports, Mr Renshaw said potential rights of legal action related to the rejected insurance claim and potentially overdrawn directors’ loan accounts.

He revealed in a report in 2016 that insurers had refused the claim over the 2014 fire because of “alleged misrepresentation”.

The following year, he added “although I was subsequently advised that a challenge to the insurers’ decision was ongoing, I was unable to secure any evidence of this”.

He also said then that the company’s Sage accounts software showed potentially overdrawn directors’ loan accounts, including £101,604 to Mr Brafman and £63,159 to his mother Julia.

“Although the company’s former accountants advised that the Sage was erroneous and that they would provide details of the entries requiring clarification and removal from the loan accounts, this information was ultimately not forthcoming,” he added.

The liquidator has received claims totalling £351,520 from 19 of Lucy Enterprises’ creditors, but has yet to receive claims from another 21 who are estimated to be owed a total of £92,056.

The former Cafe Shore premises is now home to a Rick Stein restaurant, which has no connections with the former business.