Northampton Town: Council wins £2.1m case against Cardozas

Anthony and David Cardoza.
Image caption David Cardoza (right) and his father Anthony (left) appeared at the High Court in Birmingham

The former owner of a football club has been described by a judge as "untrustworthy" after he was ordered to repay £2.1m to a council that loaned money for a stadium redevelopment.

Birmingham High Court ruled that Anthony Cardoza, formerly of Northampton Town, should give the money back to Northampton Borough Council.

The council sued Cardoza to recoup some of its £10.25m loan to the club.

Judge Simon Barker called him "untrustworthy and unreliable".

Cardoza's son and former club chairman, David Cardoza, who was also being sued, has been ordered to repay other money used to rebuild his house.

The council loan was made to the club to fund its redevelopment of Sixfields Stadium and nearby land, but the work was never finished.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Work first stalled on the club's East Stand in 2014

Most of the money is unaccounted for and it is the subject of an ongoing investigation by Northamptonshire Police.

The loan deal was agreed in 2013, but work stalled on the redevelopment due to the club's financial problems and the Cardozas sold the club in 2015.

The redevelopment project was being carried out by a company called 1st Land Ltd, which received the bulk of the council's £10.25m loan from the club, but it then went into administration.

During the High Court hearing in July, Judge Simon Barker QC was told Anthony Cardoza had received money from 1st Land Ltd.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The judge said David Cardoza (pictured) "believes that lying and suppressing the truth is part and parcel of doing business"
Image caption Northampton Borough Council made the £10.25m loan to help the club redevelop its Sixfields Stadium and surrounding land

At the latest hearing where the judge made his ruling, Anthony Cardoza was ordered to repay £2.79m, but will only have to pay the council £2.1m as he had already repaid a sum into the football club's loan account.

The judge said Anthony Cardoza's "demeanour as a witness was urbane and engaging".

He added: "His demeanour is a front for a person who, at least in business and in litigation, is thoroughly untrustworthy and unreliable."

The figure for the amount of money David Cardoza must repay has yet to be decided.

The judge said that "he readily admitted that, like his father, he believes that lying and suppressing the truth is part and parcel of doing business".

Speaking after the court victory, the council's leader Jonathan Nunn told the BBC he did not yet know how much of the money it would be able to recover from the Cardozas.

"It is good news the court has found in our favour, and we are now focused on the enforcement options available to us," he said.

"For me though, it doesn't feel like jubilation is in order. This came out because the borough council didn't do a good job of protecting the public money."

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