Controversial charity agency specialist Chris Stoddard – who is reported to have left a trail of failed businesses over the past decade – has run into trouble yet again after his latest venture, CS Fundraising, went into liquidation.
According to Companies House, Stoddard has held 37 director appointments; he remains a director of 11 companies, has resigned from 10 and 16 of the companies have been dissolved.
The latest collapse stems back to June 2013, when Stoddard launched CS Fundraising to acquire the business of CSDM Fundraising – another of his failed businesses – from its administrators.
Stoddard’s companies have specialised in managing direct mail fundraising campaigns for charities which do not have the internal resource to do it themselves. He claims to have been contracted by a number of charities over the years, although has never named them.
Stoddard recently released a statement saying the payment-by-results model CSDM used “posed challenges to some commentators within the charity industry”, whom, he added, “went to great lengths to make it as difficult as possible for the CSDM/CSF model of business to continue”.
The statement added: “At the time of liquidation, CSF will owe only a nominal amount to trade creditors with whom arrangements have been made so that, once assets are realised in the liquidation, it is not expected that any proven creditors will be remain unpaid.”
However, Stoddard does have “previous”. In 2010 Stoddard’s company CSDM went into administration, leaving some creditors unpaid. Its assets were acquired from the administrators by his next company, CSDM Fundraising, which also went into administration, in 2013, again leaving some creditors unpaid.
Although frowned upon by some, the practice – known as “phoenixing” – is perfectly legal. The website of the UK Attorney General states: “It is perfectly legal to form a new company from the remains of a failed company. Any director of a failed company can become a director of a new company unless he or she is: subject to a disqualification order or undertaking; personally adjudged bankrupt; subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or undertaking.”
Charity specialist goes bust, again