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Ministry Of Sound sue Trinity Street backers

By | Published on Monday 2 March 2009

The fallout from the collapse of music-based e-commerce company Trinity Street took a new turn this morning when it was revealed Ministry Of Sound plan to sue the firm’s financial backers Ingenious Media.

As previously reported, David Robson and Andy Murray, who acquired Trinity Street back in 2004 and who formed an alliance with music investment firm Ingenious in 2007, were fired from the company and pushed off its board at the end of last year. They announced in January that they planned to sue the e-commerce firm’s parent company, Trinity Universal Holdings, claiming they were unlawfully removed as directors in what they describe as a “boardroom coup”.

When Ingenious announced they were putting Trinity Street into administration last month, Robson and Murray issued a statement saying their former company had been allowed to collapse after new managers put in place by the investment firm “failed to secure new business and allowed loyal, long-term clients to take their business elsewhere”.

They extended their litigation to name Ingenious as defendants, and subsequently denied claims from Ingenious insiders that the company had been under-performing long before they were removed as directors, adding that the investment outfit’s own lawyers had indicated the company was solvent right up until the point they put it into administration.

Ministry Of Sound were one of Trinity Street’s major clients, with the e-commerce firm providing the back end to the dance music brand’s online sales operations, including its download, mail-order and ticket sales.

Ministry’s parent company MSHK claims that they had little warning about the pending closure of Trinity Street, which crippled their etail operations. Not only that but, they allege, after they had expressed concerns about the departures of Robson and Murray they received assurances from the company’s new management, and Ingenious, that Trinity Street was “solvent and stable”.

MSHK’s writ demands a return of monies owed to Ministry from past ticket, download and mail-order sales, as well as damages for the lost business and reputation damage they claim they suffered as a result of the sudden closure of their etail operations.

As well as Ingenious itself, the lawsuit also names as defendants Ingenious director Sanjay Wadhwani, who was also named in Robson and Murray’s lawsuit, and former Universal and EMI exec Barney Wragg, who headed up Trinity Street between the two directors’ dismissal and its closure.

Confirming their litigation, Lohan Presencer, CEO of MSHK told CMU: “Online sales form a significant part of our business and is an important commercial platform for us, servicing over 250,000 visitors per week. To suddenly find that we had no website was a terrible blow, especially as we had received repeated assurances from senior directors at Trinity Street and management from Ingenious that the company remained solvent and stable”.

Ingenious continue to deny Robson and Murray’s version of events, saying it was the company’s poor performance that led to their removal, and adding that it was only after their departure that they realised how bad Trinity Street was doing, a discovery which led to their decision to put the company into administration. The investment company is yet to comment on Ministry’s lawsuit.