Former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke was served legal documents before his Seas the Moment fete in Tobago on Saturday, as current Chutney Soca Monarch Neval Chatelal has sued him in an effort to recover $250,000 which was lent to Yorke last year.
Chatelal has been pleading unsuccessfully since May last year with Yorke to pay him back the $250,000, according to documents filed in the San Fernando High Court on Thursday.
In the court documents, which have been obtained by the T&T Guardian, Chatelal said following the fete Yorke held in Tobago last March, known as Island Vibe, Yorke approached him to borrow some money.
Yorke, 46, said he needed the money because he was in “financial difficulty and unable to meet certain debts,” Chatelal stated in the court documents.
Among those that Yorke owed were the caterers who also took legal action but the matter was eventually settled out-of-court.
According to the court documents filed by Chatelal, Yorke stated he was “unable to secure a lender and desperately needed to pay service providers for his Island Vibe all-inclusive party which did not net a profit.”
Yorke said that “approaching the bank was not a viable consideration, as the time for approval from his bank would place him in an embarrassing situation with the persons and companies to which he was indebted after the event,” the court documents stated. Chatelal agreed to lend Yorke the $250,000.
Yorke, in turn, agreed to repay the $250,000 and $50,000 in interest after two months.
On March 7, last year Chatelal deposited the $250,000 into the Dwight Yorke Foundation Account held at Republic Bank.
After the two months passed when Yorke was allegedly supposed to repay all the money, Chatelal contacted him.
A series of WhatsApp messages between Yorke and Chatelal was produced as supporting evidence in the court documents.
Eventually, on December 20, Chatelal received the $50,000 interest from Yorke. Chatelal agreed to give Yorke some more time to pay off the debt in full.
After some more back and forth with Yorke and not getting the money owed Chatelal sought legal recourse.
Chatelal is being represented by former attorney general Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan.
A pre-action protocol letter was sent to Yorke on January 15 where he was “invited to amicably settle the matter.”
There was no response to the pre-actionv protocol letter. The pre-action protocol time period expired on February 12.
The lawsuit was filed at the San Fernando High Court a few days after the time expired. The matter has been listed before Justice Ricky Rahim.
Yorke’s fete Seas The Moment was held at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park on Saturday with Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez, second place in this year’s Road March competition Iwer George and Soca Monarch Aaron “Voice” St Louis among the performers.
While Bunji was performing at Seas The Moment, Road March winner Machel Montano was also in Tobago performing at the Call To Paradise fete held at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort.
Montano had previously taken legal action against Yorke for falsely advertising that he was to perform at one of Yorke’s fetes. In 2016, Montano eventually dropped the lawsuit.
An injunction was granted to Montano to prevent Yorke from further using his name to promote the party.
In 1998 the Manchester United football club paid Aston Villa a transfer fee of £12.6 million for Yorke.
He was the club’s most expensive signing at the time. Yorke retired from football in 2009. Since then Yorke has faced some financial woes.
It was reported in British media last year that Yorke had put his six-bedroom mansion in Cheshire up for sale for £2.25 million.
According to reports, Yorke’s company assets showed a 73 per cent decline on the previous year and taking bank overdraft fees and loans into account, it had net assets of just £2.
Last year, a bankruptcy petition against Yorke was dropped.
Yorke was not present at a hearing at the Bankruptcy and Companies Court in London when the petition was formally dismissed by the court officials.
The registrar was told the amount owed by Yorke had fallen below the £5,000 threshold creditors can petition for a debtor to be made bankrupt.
His creditor was not named in court. Yorke could not be reached for comment last night.
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NEVAL CHATELAL'S OPEN LETTER TO DWIGHT YORKE WILL HAVE YOU WANTING MORE.
Firstly, thank you for doing the right thing and paying back your debt, the interest and legal fees. Persons who know me well, can attest to how many hours I put into my craft and I was certainly not ready to part with the monetary fruits of my hard work that easily.
I understand that I may be forgettable to a man of your renown. I also tend to forget things from time to time, but, though they may be few, I won't forget the times we met. I won't forget the circumstances and how urgently you needed a loan with terms you outlined and the promises you made. I do not wish to see your name and image being dragged for yet another time in the public domain so I will not release the photos of our first meeting at 'Island Vibe - 2017'.
It was my mistake to not record the meeting we had in Trinidad where you asked for more time due to your financial situation. My intuition told me that I was being played and strung along. Your recent statements in the press about not being broke confirmed that I was toyed with.
Your statements also revealed an apparent delay tactic that I fell for: "What would possess people to think that I spent all my money?...let them continue thinking that, they might just leave me alone then", you said.
I truly believed you were experiencing financial problems. That is why I exercised great compassion and patience with the time extensions. If you hadn't been evasive and disrespectful in your communications with me, I would have given you two years even to pay back the amount.
I will not release screenshots of our conversations where you pleaded for more time after missing deadlines set by your very own self. I will not show the conversations that were dismissive toward me and what I interpreted as bordering on contemptuous.
I loaned you the money in good faith because of the tremendous respect I have and still have for you and your legacy. I am a fan and supporter of your works great and small, and I believe in your vision for Tobago and culture. I had and still have no desire to bring your public image into disrepute. I did not wish to become embroiled in the predictable controversy that such a lawsuit would prompt. You, however, gave me no other choice by mockingly agreeing to legal recourse.
I am not hurt or stressed. I am not trying to be petty or cynical either. I hope we have both learned from our mistakes and that we make better decisions when it comes to our finances. Thank you again for not delaying in doing the right thing. Thank you to SC Anand Ramlogan and the team of lawyers at Freedom Law Chambers and thank you in advance to the public for being gentle people, acknowledging that we are human and we make mistakes from time to time.
If it means anything to you, I forgave you the instant you repaid what was owed. May we all recover peacefully from this event and start the healing process. I wish you success and victory in your future endeavors and I am always here to lend a helping hand. Jai ho!!!