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Home » Editor's Pick, Features, Top Story

Local People: Roger Amerena

Published by on Sunday, 12 December 2010One Comment

Roger AmerenaThere are, without doubt, some strange things going on up in the Montpelier area of Brighton. Its venerable Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association (MCHA) is holding its annual Christmas party, charging £15 per ticket, on 4th December. Or is it? Expensively produced leaflets, bearing the association’s logo and charity number, were delivered to members, and invited them to attend the event being held at Montpellier Hall with, as the leaflet indicated, “the kind permission of Mr. Roger Amerena”. In fact, the leaflets were produced and distributed by ex-chairman of the association … one Roger Amerena. Not only is it not the MCHA Christmas Party (they are holding a free party for members on 10th December at St. Nicholas’ Church), it was not authorised in any way by the association. One can only speculate about the reasoning by Mr. Amerena, who had ceased being chairman and a trustee back in May of this year, prior to the society’s annual general meeting. The reason Mr. Amerena was forced to step down as chairman and a trustee was that he was declared bankrupt and, had he remained, the MCHA risked losing its charitable status of 40 years standing. Even when this was explained to him it did not seem to bother Mr. Amerena who cajoled two elderly members of the association to nominate and second him for the position of chairman at the upcoming AGM. When his nomination was rejected by the committee a further request was put forward – that Mr. Amerena should be immediately co-opted onto the committee and should be allowed to stand – unopposed, no less – as chairman at the next AGM. That proposal failed to find a seconder. Now Mr. Amerena is offering to pay people’s memberships of the MCHA, presumably as a means to have them lobby on his behalf.

At this point some of you may feel that I am being unfair to the gentleman, that his bankruptcy is shame enough, that it is an issue between himself and his creditors. That certainly might be the case if Mr. Amerena was all that he claims. The rumour he seems content to have bandied around is that he is a hard-working pillar of the community, who has had the misfortune to be financially crippled by virtue of the loss of all the money he personally put into the failed Coach House project. If he did in fact lose money then he is not alone, and a great deal more sympathy should be extended to those who gave money when they couldn’t afford to lose it in this way. With a silver tongue worthy of a used car salesman, he told some of them that there was no risk, and they might even see a profit. Even now it is not known how much was lost as despite the intention that the limited company formed to manage the Coach House would be converted into an open and accountable charitable trust, Roger Amerena never did this, and has resolutely refused to produce satisfactory accounts.

The days of bankrupts being hanged are long behind us and some now see bankruptcy as a cheap way to avoid paying their debts. Bearing this in mind it is not unfair to say that the actions of some bankrupts today are far less honourable than in days of old. I would suggest Mr. Amerena falls into that category. In fact far from being the solvent local bigwig he attempts to portray Roger Vincent Amerena has been the subject of bankruptcy proceedings in 1994, twice in 1996, in 1997 (when he was declared a bankrupt for three years), in 2005, and again this year, which led to his second official bankruptcy. He certainly wasn’t involved in any “philanthropic” conservation ventures during any of those occasions.

There is a reason I think people in the area, particularly MCHA members, need to know this. The issue is one of accountability, which Mr. Amerena seems to think himself above. When I was a trustee of the charity in 2004 it was clear that in Roger Amerena’s mind both he and the association were one. He regularly referred to his association and even his newsletter when talking about the association’s magazine – and this was prior to him even being chairman. He took staggering liberties such as obtaining mortgage quotations on the Coach House in the name of the MCHA with no authority from the association whatsoever. He misled advertisers, telling them that the trade card he was producing for the association was distributed “all over the area” when in fact it was delivered to only a couple of hundred members. These are by no means isolated examples. The culmination of all this was when the majority of the committee wrote to the then chairman, Mr. Amerena’s predecessor, stating that they felt Roger Amerena was unfit to become the next chairman. Several years later … and nothing seems to have changed.

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One Comment »

  • Carol says:

    Roger Amerena is the most awful guy I’ve ever met. We stayed in the glorious Montpellier Hall just before Christmas. The place looked okay and the main rooms were fairly nice and very elaborate. The rooms were far from it. I didn’t do the ordering, so I can’t really blame anyone, but there’s something very sleazy about the place.
    We had a good time in Brighton, but I was glad to get out of that place and reading this piece shows me that I wasn’t wrong!

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