Port Vale: Chairman and chief executive voted themselves on to board
PORT Vale's chairman and chief executive voted themselves and each other on to the board of directors by using shares they had received without putting any money into the club.
Thirty thousand so-called 'nil paid' shares issued to potential investor Blue Sky International were also counted as part of the 'yes' vote in polls to elect Peter Miller and Perry Deakin as directors – even though the U.S. artificial sports turf manufacturer hadn't invested a penny into the club.
Marcus Adams, of supporter group North London Valiants (NLV), viewed the voting figures which had been collated for him by club secretary Bill Lodey when he visited Vale Park on Monday, having asked to see them as a shareholder.
The NLV representative's findings have infuriated shareholders and supporters' groups, who last week claimed both men were elected to the board under false pretences.
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Letters sent to shareholders and statements on the club's website in late September and early October said Mr Miller, above right, and Mr Deakin, below, had purchased shares at the time they sought election to the board, and shareholders assumed this meant they had put money into the club.
But a Sentinel investigation led Mr Deakin to admit that, up until November 24, neither man had invested any money into Port Vale. Mr Deakin and Mr Miller say the money for their shares has since gone into the club, but The Sentinel has been unable to verify this.
Enquiries by Mr Adams, on behalf of NLV, have now revealed Mr Deakin used his 20,000 'nil paid' shares to vote for himself to become a director, while Mr Miller also used his 50,000 'nil paid' shares to vote for Mr Deakin.
In addition, 30,000 'nil paid' shares issued in the name of Margit Julicher, wife of Blue Sky chairman Hank Julicher, were counted in favour of Mr Deakin's appointment, despite the fact that the deal with the U.S. firm has stalled after hitting what has been described as 'contractual issues'.
Vale's other two directors Glenn Oliver and Mike Lloyd also voted in favour of Mr Deakin's appointment and he was elected on to the board on October 7.
Mr Miller voted for himself and also received support from Mr Deakin and Blue Sky International, as well as the other current club directors and the supporters' club, which was using a proxy vote for the 49,800 shares owned by Potteries pop star Robbie Williams.
Supporters' club chairman Pete Williams said last night: "It seems the poll we carried out with fans over the use of the proxy for Robbie Williams' shares for the election of Mr Miller was a waste of time as these men had effectively orchestrated their own election to the board, irresp-ective of what around 1,000 other shareholders thought.
"Of course, when we canvassed the opinions of fans we were under the impression that Mr Miller had 'purchased', and paid for, £250,000 worth of shares, which is why fans who knew nothing about him backed his election.
"As for the use of the Blue Sky 'nil paid' shares, it's bemusing. As far as we have been told the Blue Sky deal has hit 'contractual issues' and so we want to know who authorised the use of Blue Sky's shares in these polls."
Speaking on behalf of NLV, Marcus Adams said: "The sad reality is that Mr Miller and Mr Deakin have issued themselves and Blue Sky unpaid shares worth £500,000 to cement themselves as the power hub of Port Vale.
"Shareholders and fans will be justifiably angry and frustrated that, in essence, they have misled fans and shareholders.
"NLV, as a branch of the official Supporters' Club, would like to see the immediate resignation of Mr Miller and Mr Deakin, the unpaid shares to be deleted from the share register and an interim board of balanced individuals appointed who can oversee future boardroom appointments and investment."
A spokesman for Port Vale said Mr Deakin felt the chairman's statement on the club's website last Friday "covered these points".
The supporters' club has resolved to write to all four of Vale's directors registering the concerns of fans. It will also contact local MPs and organise a meeting of shareholders to discuss recent revelations.
Meanwhile, in response to a letter from Malcolm Hirst from NLV, a Football League spokesman told The Sentinel yesterday: "The Football League has received a letter from a supporter regarding Port Vale. The issues raised in the letter are currently being considered and the Football League will respond to him in due course."
WATERWORLD owner Mo Chaudry last night offered to lay on hospitality for up to 50 guests at the unveiling of the Roy Sproson statue in January.
It will be before the game at the M Club gym at Festival Park, after the club refused to provide refreshments for former players and Sproson family members.