By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The late Sir Jack Hayward’s family trust has become embroiled in a fresh legal battle sparked by the claims of his Bahamian butler, Tribune Business can reveal.
Julius Trevor Bethel, who was also the former Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) co-chairman’s personal assistant and manager of his Freeport residences, has been seeking to persuade the Bahamian courts to both freeze the trust’s affairs and remove the judicial trustee overseeing it.
The details have been exposed by a Court of Appeal ruling, dated October 11, which refused to give Mr Bethel what he was seeking based on technicalities involving judicial rules. The former butler had alleged that Justice Ian Winder’s decision to recuse himself from hearing the matter at the Supreme Court was “delaying” his various applications.
Tribune Business understands that Mr Bethel’s bid to remove Paul Winder, an expatriate banker who works for Lyford Cay-based Deltec Bank & Trust, as judicial trustee for the The Sir Jack Hayward 1993 Discretionary Settlement is part of a much wider litigation fight he has initiated.
This newspaper has been told that Mr Butler’s case centres on allegations that he has been unfairly squeezed out of his interest in the trust after Sir Jack named him as a beneficiary of his estate. These claims, though, are being heavily contested in the Bahamian courts.
The dispute is unlikely to impact the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), its ownership and/or operations, although the Court of Appeal ruling names Sir Jack’s two children and six grandchildren as the “respondents” to Mr Bethel’s claims.
The Court of Appeal verdict, obtained by Tribune Business, reveals that Mr Butler and his attorney, Maurice Glinton QC, have been seeking “to set aside or stay” directions given to Paul Winder by the Supreme Court on March 18, 2019.
If this application were granted, it would “restrain” Paul Winder from hiring senior Bahamian accountants and accounting firms to conduct audits and “forensic examinations” of the trust’s financial affairs relating to a period prior to his appointment as judicial trustee.
Besides hiring “Kikivarakis & Company to undertake a forensic examination of the accounts of the trust”, Paul Winder had also obtained permission “to engage Igal Wizman of Ernst & Young to audit financial statements of the trust for the period 2015-2018 and for future years”.
The Supreme Court had also given permission for Paul Winder to initiate legal action against Striker Trustees, the corporate trustee for Sir Jack’s trust prior to his hiring, and “one of its directors” although that individual is not named.
But Mr Bethel’s legal filings, detailed in the Court of Appeal judgment, suggest he and Mr Glinton opposed this activity - and are also seeking Paul Winder’s removal - because they are unhappy with how Sir Jack’s trust is being managed, particularly when it comes to paying out money.
The former butler, in his April 17, 2019, summons to the Court of Appeal, also sought Orders that “Paul Winder maintain the status quo as regards the assets of the trust subject to leave of the court”.
And he also wanted the court to stipulate that Sir Jack’s former companion, Patty Bloom, and her daughter, Amy Clough, “undertake not to enforce their rights against the said Paul Winder” until the court ordered otherwise. The duo were also said to be beneficiaries of The Sir Jack Hayward 1993 Discretionary Settlement.
However, attorneys for Sir Jack’s two children, Rick Hayward and Susan Heath, and grandchildren Rupert Hayward, Giles Hayward, Francesca Hayward, Emma Cameron, Alexander Heath and Nicholas Heath, successfully argued that Mr Bethel’s appeal was an “abuse of process”.
Besides breaching the Court of Appeal Act because it had been filed without the Supreme Court’s permission, they argued that the case had simply not been referred to another judge as opposed to a refusal to hear it.