Elton ponders next move as he faces £8 million legal bill
A “disappointed” Elton John told BBC News on April 11, 2001, he may appeal after losing his £14 million negligence claim in London’s High Court against the managing director of his former management company and against his former accountants.
Elton claims Andrew Haydon had been negligent in allowing John Reid Enterprises Limited to charge him overseas tour expenses.
He told BBC news: “I’m obviously disappointed (with the court ruling) and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal – which seems likely.
“As everyone in business knows, it’s notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers,” he added.
Mr Justice Ferris at the High Court three out Elton’s claim, saying: “I have concluded that the agreement which Sir Elton reached with his management company JREL regarding the costs for touring does not require that those costs should have been paid by JREL.” He said the amount should have been paid by one of Elton’s own companies.
The case has landed Elton with an estimated £8 million legal bill.
In a statement from the US, where he is touring with Billy Joel, he said: “I only heard about the judgment a few hours ago and still don’t know the full details. Obviously I am disappointed and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal – which seems likely.”
He added: “As everyone in business knows, it is notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers. I am looking forward to fulfilling my continuing recording and touring commitments.”
Elton’s solicitor and manager, Frank Presland, said after the judgment: “Sir Elton will almost certainly appeal. I haven’t gone through the judgment with him yet. I’ll talk to him after he’s played tennis – because keeping fit is more important.”
Asked if Sir Elton would be upset with the outcome, he said: “It’s just business.”
In a reference to the most celebrated quote from the hearing – when it was disclosed that Sir Elton’s spending on property and personal items, including £293,000 on flowers, once amounted to almost £40 million over a 20-month period – Mr Presland commented: “I don’t think he will cut back on his flowers.”
He added that in June, Elton would be emptying his “overflowing” garage for an auction in London of 19 cars – including Bentleys, Aston Martins and Ferraris.
Elton alleged Mr Haydon, 45, was negligent in allowing John Reid Enterprises to charge him overseas tour expenses, including booking agents, accountants and producers.
Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers was accused by Sir Elton of negligence in managing his affairs. Both defendants contested the allegations.
The judge said in his report: “Sir Elton is, if I may say so, clearly a man of great intelligence. He has the ability to understand almost anything which is explained to him. But he had little or no interest in business matters and does not bother to understand matters which do not interest him.”
He said: Sir Elton’s indifference to business was for a long time aggravated by serious problems he had up to 1990 with alcohol and drug abuse.