Former chairman attacks Van Elle over £330,000 bill for chief executive’s house

The former chairman of troubled Nottinghamshire piling firm Van Elle is challenging the company’s shareholders to question why it wrote off £330,000 of work on building a house for its Chief Executive, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

In the report, the newspaper says it has seen documents that show Van Elle invoiced Chief Executive John Fenton for more than £200,000 at the end of last year. The report suggests that the bill was dropped when former chairman and the founder of the firm, Michael Ellis, stepped down.

Last week it was revealed that Fenton is stepping down from his position due to a serious family illness. Van Elle says he paid for the works for the new house in October last year – a move that was agreed with Ellis, and that the invoice was only raised after the pair fell out over the way the company was being run.

The report comes at a time when Ellis is attempting to try and remove Fenton and a senior independent director the firm. Ellis is reportedly set to write to shareholders today, complaining that Van Elle is “going backwards in a rising market”.

The founder, who owns a 20pc stake in the Aim-listed company, has triggered a shareholder meeting to vote in two new members of the board. He is also said to be demanding senior independent director Robin Williams step down and wants shareholders to vote on him returning to the boardroom.

Van Elle has called a meeting for 15th December in London. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange last week, the company said: “The Board believes the Ellis Resolutions reflect the failure by Mr Ellis to accept that Van Elle is no longer his private family business and that the Ellis Resolutions serve to promote the interests of Mr Ellis and his family, not necessarily to the benefit of the company and its other shareholders.”