1994 – this was the start of my campaign against the crooks of the Scottish legal profession – in my case, it was the lawyer who was handling my dead father’s estate, who ripped my family off, along with the Executor – the infamous Norman James Howitt, an accountant with Welchs in Galashiels, Scottish Borders, Scotland.
The series of articles I am putting up begins with October 1994 – this article written by William Chisholm, of “The Scotsman” Newspaper.
Coverage also followed at the time on television & radio, & in the local press to the Borders.
I put these articles up in this blog, as they are still relevant to today’s world in 2006.
People are still getting ripped off by their lawyers in Scotland, and what I have been through, (along with the long successful campaign I & others pursued to bring an end to self regulation – with the recent announcement from the Scottish Executive that independent regulation will be imposed on the legal profession) will, I hope, help others who have similar experiences.
The first article : 18 october 1994:
Son threatens to walk away from inheritance
By William Chisholm, The Scotsman Tuesday 18 October 1994
A 20-year old man from Jedburgh speaks of disinheriting himself after battling almost five years for a share of his father’s ￡300,000 estate.
Peter Cherbi, 20, from Jedburgh, says the years since his father Gino died in January 1990, have been a living nightmare which shows no signs of ending.
He has lodged an official complaint with the Law Society of Scotland seeking an inquiry into the alleged failure of administrators to settle his late father’s affairs.
In his letter to the Law Society, Mr Cherbi names the accountant Norman Howitt of John Welch & Co, the estate’s executor, and the solicitor Andrew Penman of Kelso law firm P & J Stormonth Darling, legal adviser to Mr Howitt.
Mr Cherbi has received demands for council tax and inheritance tax on the estate, even though he has yet to inherit.
None beneficiaries named in his father’s will who were to receive legacies ranging from ￡500 to ￡2000 have not been paid, according to Peter Cherbi. They include relatives in Italy and France and neighbours in Jedburgh.
Gino Andrew Cherbi came to Scotland from his native Tuscany as a boy in the 1920’s. He became a successful businessman in the Borders with a restaurant and shop in Jedburgh. He invested shrewdly in shares and also owned race horses and greyhounds.
At the time of his death at the age of 72, he had a wide ranging portfolio of shares, unit trusts and bank accounts as well as property. He was also the proud owner of a classic 1950s Sunbeam Alpine Mark 3 motor car. In 1990 a Kelso garage valued the car at ｣4000. According to Peter Cherbi, it was sold in 1993 for ￡1,200, although he had received a higher offer.
A document drawn up in1990 showed the estate to be worth ￡257,211 exclusive of Italian assets. The famly had expected administration to take two years.
Mr Cherbi last night said he was so disillusioned he was prepared to give up his inheritance.
“The process has caused me so much emotional strain and expense that I feel like walking away”, said Mr Cherbi.
“I have been a victim of my late father’s will rather than a beneficiary”
The case is being brought to the attention of local MP Archy Kirkwood, who is a lawyer.
“It would appear legal regulations which allowed this kind of thing to happen must be flawed and should be scrutinised nationally to stop others suffering the same fate as myself”, said Cherbi.
“I would be interested to hear from others who have undergone a similar experience”
He is also contemplating court proceedings against the executry for compensation.
Mr Howitt claimed Mr Cherbi’s affairs had been extremely complicated. he did not wish to respond to Mr Cherbi’s allegations through a newspaper, but would deal with them if they were put to him by Mr Cherbi’s solicitor.
Mr Howitt said “I am aware of some of the difficulties but I don’t believe Mr Cherbi should have taken his complainit to the press”.
Mr Cherbi countered “We have been trying to get facts from the executry for a year via my own solicitor. It was precisely because of the inaction of the trustees that I decided to bring my concerns into the public domain”
Mr Penman said “Some of the issues Mr Cherbi has raised with you have been dealt with. some others are new allegations and comments” Mr Cherbi should have raised his concerns through his lawyer or wth the executry, he said.
“If at that point he is not satisfied with our responses, then it would be appropriate for him to take further steps”, said Mr Penman. “It would be inappropriate to discuss the details. Those discussions should be a matter between Mr Cherbi and ourselves”