A millionaire luxury sofa designer is suing her friend and neighbour for more than £770,000 in a bitter dispute over a loan she gave him that he never paid back.
Ginny Avison and her husband Andrew were good friends with their good friend Glenrick White back in 2014 when he asked them to lend him £210,000 for a multi-million-pound investment in the Caribbean.
Mr White, who lives in the next street to the Avison’s picturesque townhouse in Worthing, West Sussex, said he only needed the money for 60 days to prove that he had the funds, and agreed to pay £700-a-day interest over the term.
The 61-year-old entrepreneur promised to repay the loan plus the 20% interest of £42,000 by 31 December 2014. But eight years later, the Avisons haven’t seen a penny.
Ginny and Andrew Avison are suing their friend and neighbour for £770,000 after not being paid back a loan of £210,000
Glenrick White asked to borrow £210,000 in 2014 to prove he had the funds for a multi-million-pound investment in the Caribbean
In February, they took Mr White to court claiming they were now owed an eye-watering £1,794,100, having continued to add interest at 20% every 60 days.
But the judge ruled the terms of the friends’ arrangement was unclear on what would happen if the loan wasn’t repaid on time and he said the interest rate should be 8.5% a year rather than the 122% claimed by the couple, reducing the interest owed to £483,581.
Before relations became frosty, Mr White, who spent time with the Avisons over Christmas 2014, admitted the loan would not be repaid in time, insisting the debt would be settled in due course.
Ginny and Andrew Avison continued to socialize with Mr White and his family and discussed how to repay the loan at a meeting at a Costa Coffee in Worthing in November 2015.
However, as the interest on the unpaid loan began to escalate the two families fell out and both parties took legal advice.
At the High Court hearing in London in February, the judge said Mr White needed the loan to show international financiers that he had five per cent of the £11.55 million project budget – £578,000 – to set up a biomass pellet business in Guyana.
The Avisons would make a ‘quick and handsome profit’ if the loan had been repaid as envisaged, he said.
Deputy Judge Stephen Houseman found that Mr White had tried to ‘keep the Avisons sweet’ for as long as possible and forged a series of letters from a supposed business associate named Titus Van Heur to conceal the truth.
The judge ruled Mr White should repay £294,000 from the initial loan and interest at 8.5% from January 1 2015, bringing the total debt to £777,581.
Mr White needed the loan to show international financiers that he had five per cent of the £11.55 million project budget – £578,000 – to set up a biomass pellet business in Guyana
Mrs Avison said that once they retired they were hoping for a less stressful lifestyle but, ‘the case is still not settled and it has been very stressful
But despite four court hearings the dispute with Mr White and his former business partner Claudia Emmanuel continues.
The next showdown is due in a County Court in West Sussex, although the venue and date are yet to be set.
The Avisons have been forced to sell their five-bedroom beach-front family home in Worthing in 2017 for £790,000 to pay lawyers’ fees.
The couple had worked together for over 20 years making much sought-after high-quality upholstery at their factory in west London.
Their colourful patterned sofas sell for more than £5,000 and their armchairs cost over £2,500.
They retired to Worthing in the hope of a less stressful lifestyle.
Ginny Avison explained: ‘The case is still not settled. It has been very stressful.’
Mrs Avison said that they have been forced to sell their five-bedroom beach-front home in Worthing to pay lawyers’ fees
Her husband Andrew added: ‘All we want is our money back. These were our life savings which were meant for our retirement.
‘We had to sell my family house on the beach-front to pay the legal fees and move into this house. We have not been able to provide the support for our grandchildren that we had wanted.’
Mr White declined to comment when approached by MailOnline.
He said: ‘Why are you writing about me? Why is my case interesting?’
It was not possible to reach his former business partner Claudia Emmanuel who now lives in Barbados.