A disqualified restaurant manager has been banned for a second time after illegally running a site using a former colleague as a ‘stooge’ boss.
Jane Goodfellow has now been banned for 12 years while Clare Watts has been banned for five years for allowing Goodfellow to run the café and acting as a stooge director.
The company at the centre of the Insolvency Service investigation was The Yeovil Wine Vaults Limited, which traded as a licensed restaurant in Yeovil known as the Wine Vaults.
Yeovil Wine Vaults as a company was incorporated in October 2013 with Watts appointed the sole director. However, the restaurant entered into liquidation less than four years later after it could not pay its debts.
Liquidators appointed to wind up Yeovil Wine Vaults reported to the Insolvency Service concerns about the company and following further enquiries, investigators were able to establish that although Watts was the registered director, Goodfellow was the person running the show.
Goodfellow, also known by various other names including James, Murphy and Goodchild, was the person dealing with regulators, the local authority, employees and suppliers.
However, she should not have been running the restaurant as Goodfellow was already subject to an 11-year disqualification order handed down by the courts in March 2006. This was in connection with her conduct as a director of Peaceflight Limited, a printing company.
Both Watts and Goodfellow worked together at Peaceflight Limited and by allowing Jane Goodfellow to run the restaurant, Clare Watts acted as a stooge director, complicit in her former colleague’s breach of a disqualification order.
Further investigations also established that the pair failed to ensure Yeovil Wine Vaults filed annual returns, while also being remiss in paying tax or filing tax returns throughout the company’s entire trading period.
Their bans came into effect from Friday.
Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “When Jane Goodfellow appeared in court more than 10 years ago, she would have been made fully aware by the judge that she was explicitly banned from acting in the management of a company. But Jane Goodfellow thought she could get round her disqualification when she got her former colleague to act as a stooge director, leaving her to run the restaurant as she pleased.
“However, as the restaurant collapsed their misdemeanours came to light, resulting in significant bans for the both of them. This result should make it very clear to disqualified directors who ignore their bans and continue to act as directors, as well as those who assist them, that they will be vigorously pursued by the Insolvency Service.”