Sportswear business linked to Ben Houchen collapsed with £ 3million in debt


A sportswear business linked to Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has collapsed over £ 3million in debt.

BLK Sport was led by the Conservative Mayor while serving as a Stockton city councilor in 2016.

But the clothing company then went bankrupt in early 2018 – with seven-figure debts and money owed to the IRS alongside a series of other creditors.

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Mr Houchen said he retired from BLK five years ago in January 2017 before officially leaving the company after winning his first term as mayor in May of that year.

The mayor added: “It was a year before BLK started to experience financial difficulties, which arose after I left the company – as evidenced and confirmed by the report to the Insolvency Department which was submitted. two years ago.”

The metro mayor called it a “non-story from five years ago” – and said he had had a “delivery record” in the past four years, pointing to Teesside Airport, the former site of the steelworks, and “securing investments and jobs for the region”.

Ben Houchen with BLK employees in 2016

Documents from Companies House reveal more about how the company entered troubled financial waters – with a report from the liquidator listing the distribution of creditors owed.

An inventory dated December 2017 showed HM Revenue and Customs owed £ 64,071, the Cornish Pirates rugby union team were listed as owed £ 35,700 and Teesside’s company LV Shipping owed nearly 12 £ 400.

Mr Houchen was also on the list of debtors of £ 28,000.

The company finally collapsed in 2018 with seven-figure debt.

A 2019 liquidator report said: ‘We have received claims totaling £ 3,384,595 from unsecured creditors in connection with this proceeding.

“There will not be enough funds available to pay a distribution to unsecured creditors.”

The documents show that Mr. Houchen ended his tenure as a director of the company on May 5, 2017.

The company was finally officially dissolved in January 2020.

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