THE FORMER general manager of Sheffield’s The Leadmill (cap. 900), Rupert Dell, has been told to pay the venue £370,000 for breach of contract.
Dell, who now operates as an independent promoter, was found liable for damages and costs by Sheffield County Court, after being accused of harassing and bullying staff, falsifying figures and making bookings for rival venue Plug (1,200), following his dismissal in early 2014, breaching the terms of his termination.
It was also alleged Dell had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee, to whom he gave the newly-created position of box office manager, but later faced allegations of sexual harassment from the woman.
In another incident, Dell is alleged to have asked staff to move £500 from the bar takings for a show, to make it appear that promoter SJM Concerts had paid the venue, in figures to be sent to Leadmill director Phil Mills.
In a statement to LIVE UK, Dell, who has also worked for DHP Family and Goldenvoice UK, denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of harassment.
“My wife, children and I have suffered immeasurably from the civil action taken by Phil Mills and The Leadmill for the past three years,” says Dell.
“Due to lack of funds I was unable to contest the case in court and therefore I believe my evidence was not heard by the judge.
“In my opinion, all they wanted to achieve was the destruction of my character and all I have achieved and worked for over 25 years.”
Dell, who is Jewish, claims he was also the subject of anti-Semitic comments while working at The Leadmill, but when he raised the issue was branded “vexatious” by Mills.
General manager of The Leadmill Ian Lawlor says the venue now wants to return its focus to music.
“It has been a long and expensive struggle but we are determined to defend and protect both our staffs and The Leadmill’s reputations,” he says.