By Adam Gretton
Friday, November 16, 2012
Norfolk sportscar manufacturer Lotus is facing another High Court battle after an Italian architect issued a claim for an alleged unpaid bill for restyling the firm’s factory.
A claim issued by Marcofilippo Alborno claims that Group Lotus owes him more than £77,000 for drawing up plans for a redesign of the company’s headquarters in Hethel, near Wymondham, more than two years ago.
The architect, who trades in Bordighera, Italy, as Studio Alborno Architetto, says that in May 2010 he was retained by Lotus in relation to the project of “restyling Lotus Cars factory”.
The claim, which was issued at the High Court last month, says that at the time of the agreement his fee was calculated as 5pc of the total £13m contract value of the project and would be payable in instalments.
The action comes after former Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar served the Norfolk car maker and its Malaysian owner DRB Hicom with a £6.7m high court claim, saying he was wrongfully dismissed after he was sacked in June by the firm.
In the latest claim against Group Lotus, Mr Alborno claims that during an exchange of emails in February and March 2012, Nigel Marshall, the Lotus head of facilities management, authorised the claimant to invoice Group Lotus for £77,000.
The claim says that Mr Alborno raised the authorised invoice and presented it to Mr Marshall, but it still remains unpaid after claiming that the money was due to be paid by the end of May this year. Reminders were sent to Group Lotus on three occasions in August and September this year, claims Mr Alborno.
Mr Alborno claims £77,000, plus interest that currently stands at £2,244, and costs against Group Lotus over the outstanding invoice.
Plans for a new chassis engineering building and motorsport building close to the existing Lotus headquarters in Potash Lane were approved by district councillors last year as part of the expansion of the sportscar manufacturer.
The new Lotus Exige S rolled off the production line at Hethel in July as part of the growth of Lotus under the leadership of new boss Aslam Farikullah and DRB Hicom.
Group Lotus have yet to comment on the case after being contacted by the EDP on Tuesday.