Brian Rogan, the managing director of Wembley steel firm Cleveland Bridge, this week revealed that his firm was brought to the brink of insolvency by its problems on the project.
Rogan, pictured left, took the witness stand in CBUK's £50m court battle with Multiplex on Tuesday. He said directors had believed in December 2003 there was a risk that the firm would be insolvent in a month. Under cross-examination from Roger Stewart, Multiplex's counsel, Rogan also disclosed that CBUK's directors had tried to appeal to Tony Blair and Alan Milburn, the Labour MP for Darlington,
Co Durham, where the firm has its headquarters, to resolve the crisis. Prime minister Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency takes in the Yarm Road base as well.
In a brisk exchange, Rogan repeatedly attacked Multiplex's management of Wembley as "out of control". He said: "In 35 years in construction I have never been involved in a project so badly out of control and so badly mismanaged by the main contractor".
In response to questioning from Stewart, Rogan said that he had been asked by Ashley Muldoon in 2003 whether CBUK was trading while insolvent.
Rogan said: "I told him that the directors genuinely believed they were not, but if things didn't improve in January, or if [CBUK's major shareholder] Sheikh Abdullah didn't agree to bankroll the firm then it would be in January."
Rogan also revealed that he had told Muldoon in December 2003 that he was prepared to quit Cleveland Bridge because of rows on the project.
He said the relationship between the two contractors was so bad that he refused to give Multiplex access to Cleveland Bridge's original tender documentation when acceleration payments were being discussed.
They put every obstacle they could in the way to avoid paying
Cleveland Bridge’s Brian Rogan
He said: "If we'd given them our tender, they would have found some way of using it against us … They were putting every obstacle they could in the way to avoid paying."
Multiplex alleges that CBUK forced it into a cost-plus period in early 2004 because it knew it was under financial pressure, but that its difficulties had in the main not been because of the Wembley contract.
CBUK claims that Multiplex put it under unfair financial pressure to force it off the project.
Last week, Multiplex project manager Ranald McGregor revealed that the steelwork bill for Wembley was likely to approach £200m.
The case continues.