You will recall that, on Sunday 21st August, we sent a letter to the PTFC Trust trustees, with the consent and on behalf of (what was then) over 200 season ticket-holders (this is now more than 300). We followed-up with an email on Wednesday 24th August after we had not received a substantive response, and again with a letter from our lawyers on Friday 26th August. We have, this morning, seen the statement from PTFC Trust, which relates to those pieces of correspondence.
We think our reasons for writing to them through lawyers are completely justified, namely:
- that the request we made concerns important matters of trust law and the manner in which trustees discharge their obligations to provide information to beneficiaries
- we wanted them to appreciate the seriousness of their obligations
- save for an email acknowledging receipt of the request, we had received no reply to a request that should have been very easy, and very quick, to answer.
The reality of the matter is that there was an established precedent and practice, until March 2022, that the PTFC Trust would publish all of its minutes, in full, on the Club website. This was a vital way in which the Trust ensured that its beneficiaries had sufficient information about its activities to satisfy themselves that the trust was being run properly and in the interests of them.
The PTFC Trust has provided no justification for refusing the publication of the minutes. This is despite the demonstrable importance of beneficiaries being able to understand what it was that was discussed, in substance, at the meetings of the Trustees. We think this is especially important for the time-frame March to May 2022, given the (admitted) lodging of a note of interest in acquiring the shares of the Club by the old Trustees at some point before 26th May 2022.
So we have a very simple question: why won’t the new Trustees adhere to the established precedent and practice of providing information to the beneficiaries in this way? What, exactly, do they or the old trustees have to hide?
We were told in their proposal document that the new trustees are “approachable”, “attentive”, “accountable”, and value “open communication”. Surely such a group of trustees aspiring to those values would be, at least, as transparent as their predecessors?
We separately note that the PTFC Trust has published a document containing, among other things, two unsigned Deeds of Variation prepared by Burness Paull LLP, one dated 16th August and the other on or after 17th August. We will look at the content of these closely and encourage others to do so as well.