Shirl, John and the Pentagon


We didn’t think wrinkly rogue Shirly Porter could surprise us anymore with tales from her illustrious past, but she has.

Shocking as it sounds, Shirl once owned a defence company with links to the Pentagon!

The old warmonger was forced to hand control of the company, called Telos, to her hapless son John, who promptly became embroiled in a US legal scandal.

Telos bond holders, claim they are owed more than $80m in dividends and redemptions dating back to 1989.

What the hell is it with those Porter’s who appear to be in the habit of leaving massive debts wherever they go?

This is the full sordid story, from the Guardian:

”  The son of disgraced Tesco heiress Shirley Porter is embroiled in a legal row at the American defence company he controls.

Telos, which has long been associated with leading US neocon figures, is being sued by its bond holders, who claim they are owed more than $80m in dividends and redemptions dating back to 1989.

The company says the terms of the bond allow it to waive payments if it does not have the financial resources. But hedge fund Costa Brava accuses the firm of paying executives and John Porter ‘an exorbitant amount of money’ and is now suing the firm.

It is also claimed that Telos has taken a $12m loan from a company linked with Porter at an interest rate of 17 per cent – more than three times US base rates. A spokesman for Telos said the loan is at a ‘blended rate and lower’ than claimed.

John Porter controls 80 per cent of Telos, which specialises in network and communications security applications. In a document passed to The Observer, it appears he was given this stake by his mother in 1994, at a time when she faced a £27m fine for gerrymandering, through the sale of council homes during her spell as leader of Westminster Council.

To escape the fine, she signed over assets to her son. She then claimed her wealth extended to just £300,000, though estimates put her fortune at £69m. The council failed to pursue her. But a subsequent investigation proved she moved millions of pounds to her son via a complex web of companies.

In 2004, she and the council agreed she would pay £12.3m, but Labour councillors at Westminster have pressed district auditor Les Kidner to reopen the case in a bid to force her to pay up the full fine. Councillors are aghast that investigators failed to spot the Porter family connection with Telos. They are supported by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has written to the attorney general on this issue. Kidner’s conclusions are expected early next month.

In the last year more than half the Telos board have resigned. The trouble began on a golf course when Telos insiders questioned whether non-executive director David Borland’s use of the company’s club membership compromised his independence as a member of the firm’s audit committee.

Telos spokesman Warren Jones said: ‘The compensation for directors is based on a competitive market for board-level talent, and the company’s return on investment to shareholders. In the past three years of independent surveys, we are at the top, or in the top five, of 100 federal solution providers [that is, to the US central government] for return on investment. This is evidence that the directors we had then – and with our reconstituted board – warrant the fair market amounts we have set.’

Telos was originally called C3. It has close ties to the Pentagon. It is unusual for foreigners to be allowed to control US defence contractors but it is thought Porter’s path was cleared because of his mother’s close relationship with Margaret Thatcher.

John Porter could not be reached for comment.”

What a dreadful family.

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