Elton John took centre stage at London’s High Court on November 15, 2000, in a 20 million pound legal battle against the “men in suits”.
Sir Elton, who was wearing a sombre grey suit himself, is suing Andrew Haydon, of Elton’s former management company John Reid Enterprises (JRE), and City accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which looked after his
Elton took the witness stand in court 17 in London’s drab, wood-panelled and grey stone Royal Courts of Justice. He was giving evidence from the same witness box where pop stars Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Williams have also stood in previous entertainment industry legal battles.
The hearing is expected to last up to eight weeks and involves allegations against both the accountancy firm and Andrew Haydon, former managing director of management company John Reid Enterprises.
Elton’s lawyer, Gordon Pollock, has said that the star had an aversion to “men in suits” — lawyers, accountants and others — who badgered him about boring financial details. Pollock said that rather than get involved in that side of the business, Elton hired others to do the tedious administrative tasks. He had, said Pollock, “trusted them implicitly” and paid them well for their services.
On November 15, 2000, Elton was questioned about his dealings with the John Reid organisation and what its role was. Pollock said Elton had expressed the view that John Reid’s remuneration had been generous, but that the star had been prepared to pay for “an all-inclusive service”. Pollock asked what Sir Elton understood by an all-inclusive service.
Elton said: “To me the all-inclusive service would be payments of agents’ fees, looking after my recording career, running my companies, more or less everything. An all-encompassing service.” Pollock has claimed that PriceWaterhouseCoopers had regarded Elton as “a nice little earner”.
However, the judge has been told that the accountancy firm had looked carefully at the criticisms and had rejected them. Their lawyer, Mark Hapgood, has told the court that the firm had acted for Elton for 11 years and regretted that the dispute had arisen. Elton’s personal claim is backed by three of his companies, W Bong Ltd, J Bondi Ltd and Happenspace Ltd.
The case continues.
EJW.com court reporters will also continue to bring you the latest breaking news about this court case, and provide succinct context and relevant legal notes to guide you through a complex case, in the weeks ahead. Please be aware that EJW.com is unwilling to prejudice the court hearing, and its expert panel will therefore not offer any “what it all could lead to” analysis of the deliberations until the trial closes.