It is understood that the firm of Leonard Curtis, receiver for the defunct contractor, is growing increasingly frustrated with the failure of the prince and his advisers to reach a final settlement over debts for the refurbishment of the prince’s country home, Bagshot Park, in Surrey.
A source close to CJ Sims said: “By the end of this month, we will decide what to do. Right now, it is in the hands of the prince whether he wants an amicable settlement or wants to do it the hard way. If necessary we will go to court; we are not going away.“ It is understood that the receiver is still pursuing the prince for £300 000-£500 000 that the builder claims it was owed before it went to the wall in February.
The prince insists his debt is £150 000-£200 000, of which £100 000 is understood to have been paid after the prince lost an adjudication in March.
The source added: “We want the correct price. They are in a weak position; they’ve already been given an extension to the deadline set by the receiver last June. We want to bring this thing to a head by the end of this month.
“Unlike CJ Sims, the receiver has had time to pursue him and will not shy away from pursuing him through the courts.” It is understood that Buckingham Palace is now in charge of negotiations with the receiver as the sums involved are too large to be paid by Prince Edward alone.
It is in the hands of the prince whether he wants to do it amicably or the hard way
CJ Sims Source
Buckingham Palace property director John Tiltman was unavailable for comment, but it is understood that he must have any offers of payment endorsed by Sir Michael Peat, Keeper of the Privy Purse and Treasurer to the Queen.
A palace insider said regular meetings between the two parties’ QSs were taking place but added that a final account settlement had not yet been reached.
He said: “We’re still in discussions. It is taking a while but these things take time. Perhaps the receiver is just trying to stir things up a bit.” Leonard Curtis declined to comment.
CJ Sims was awarded the Royal Warrant prior to going into administrative receivership.