A Sheffield businessman has reported a law firm to regulators after staff sent emails celebrating his bankruptcy, including one that said: ‘the wicked witch is dead’.
Lawyers at DLA Piper suggested they should drink champagne at Glossop Road Baths after Steve Wilkinson lost the premises when his company failed.
Internal emails seen by The Star reveal Roger McCourt, a former partner, described the bankruptcy order in 2009 as, ‘good news - the wicked witch is dead’.
Colleague Duncan Mosley, also a partner, responded with, ‘Just made my day Roger,’ adding he planned to go up to the building and ‘see if they stock any champagne’.
In other emails he described Mr Wilkinson as a ‘nutter’, while Stephen Sly, another partner, said he had a ‘twisted mind’.
Steve Wilkinson was developing the Glossop Road Baths complex - which includes a spa, 21 apartments and a restaurant - when his business, Premisys, went into administration in 2002.
He struck a deal with his bank, RBS, and finished the job in 2004. But legal arguments involving DLA Piper raged for a further four years. He went bankrupt in 2008.
Steve discovered the emails after making a ‘subject access request’ for data held on him.
He said: “To have a global law firm actively wish to celebrate my demise by visiting the premises to quaff champagne is sick.”
He sent the emails to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The SRA replied with a letter that says, ‘We are carefully considering all of the information you have provided, alongside the other information we hold about the parties you have reported.’
A DLA spokesman said: “These comments were made over six years ago about an individual who, over a period of seven years, heavily contested High Court proceedings involving our client, but ultimately failed. During this time he also made many disparaging and abusive statements about our personnel. We regret that the frustration caused by such circumstances was reflected in the language used about him.”