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How-Do the North West media website has suspended activity. They amongst other things were supporters of the Prestigious North West Football Awards, for which we at FTD sponsored a category in 2011.This is the statement in full from their website;
'Last November, How-Do entered into a merger with the publisher of Manchester Confidential.
How-Do had been trading profitably for some time but the company had taken a 70% stake in 2009 in a company which published the commercial property news web site, Place North West.
The continuing and sizeable losses incurred by Place became too substantial to bear and the ManCon deal appeared to offer an option enabling in-house technical support and enhanced levels of sales activity.
However, several key matters were not disclosed during the merger discussions. Firstly that the company we believed we were merging with, CPub, had no assets. Mark Garner, the MD of Cpub, has a policy of keeping all his url's and assets out of his companies so that he can easily close them and start again. We were also not told that the Crown was about to petition Cpub to be wound up, something which occurred a few days later although we were not informed about this until several weeks later. We were also not told that there were several ongoing employment tribunals being brought against Cpub by former employees including one case of sexual harassment.
In the weeks following the merger, the true nature of Mark Garner's operations became clear. He has been made bankrupt three times in recent years; 1998, 2002 and most recently in 2009 and has also been a director of a dozen plus failed companies. Three of his companies have failed in the past four years with debts of over £1m.
Once we had belatedly discovered the true nature of the situation, we took professional advice and decided to exit the merger at the end of January.
The dispute between How-Do and Nick Jaspan and ManCon and Mark Garner has been in the hands of lawyers since early February. The advice we received was not to comment on the increasingly desperate and acrimonious statements being issued by Mark Garner by way of emails styled as How-Do.org and try to settle the matter through lawyers or mediation. Despite prompting from numerous parties to consider legal action for defamation, our legal advice was that any libel action would prove fruitless as no costs were likely to be recovered because Mark Garner has no assets.
The increasing number and the nature of the emails being sent to How-Do readers, composed by Mark Garner, a classic playground bully, has tested the enormous reservoir of goodwill that exists in the North West towards How-Do. With no end in sight to this dispute and as we are unable to mitigate against the ongoing email tirades, we have decided to suspend publication and related activities until a resolution is reached.
Any folk who have bought tickets to our future events or have submitted entries to our Northern Marketing Awards will be refunded in the course of the next few days.
We are proud of what How-Do has achieved over the five years since we launched and we look forward to returning as soon as we're able to.