Belfast Telegraph

Charity claims it is owed thousands by bankrupt business consultant

By Margaret Canning

A Northern Ireland charity has said it's still waiting for full payment from business consultant Eva Grosman for an event five years ago.

Ms Grosman, a well-known figure due to her involvement in voluntary organisations and as head of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB), went bankrupt last week.

Now a high-profile charity says Ms Grosman had entered an arrangement on behalf of voluntary organisation Art Links for services from face painting to musical bands totalling nearly £23,000 for an event in Belfast in 2011.

The charity, whose board members have contacted the Belfast Telegraph, said Ms Grosman had paid them with £8,000 through funding from a separate organisation, and had settled some other sums directly with vendors.

In addition, the charity had written off some sums in its accounts in 2013.

It now claims Ms Grosman had later agreed to pay £6,000 to it in three instalments starting last June.

Now the charity, which did not want to be named, claims that none of the £6,000 has been paid, and as a result legal representatives for the charity contacted Ms Grosman for payment in September, stating that there would be proceedings if the money was not forthcoming. While Ms Grosman did not wish to comment, it's understood she maintains that the debt is owed by Art Links and not by her personally, and that the sum allegedly owed to the charity is covered in the separate £8,000 payment.

It's understood that no legal proceedings have yet been issued.

Ms Grosman had been a member of the board of the charity but subsequently resigned.

She is currently chief executive and secretary of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, whose leadership also includes DUP Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and former Alliance Party leader Lord Alderdice.

The centre has offices in the Scottish Provident Building in Belfast city centre.

Ms Grosman is also curator of the TedX Stormont talks, which held an event last week featuring talks from women including Justice Minister Claire Sugden and Lindsay Robinson, wife of DUP MP Gavin Robinson, who spoke about her battle with post-natal depression.

The petition making Ms Grosman bankrupt was brought by GPS Colour Graphics in Belfast and related to the printing of a magazine for the Polish community in Northern Ireland.

It's understood the debts accrued between 2007 - when the magazine was launched as Glosik - and 2009.

The company said it had issued her with a statutory demand for £21,137, though Ms Grosman argued that the debt was owed by a company called Link Polska Ltd.

GPS director David Bell said a legal settlement in December 2013 was later reached for Ms Grosman to repay £8,200, but the amount was not paid.

The company then issued proceedings to recover the original sum of £21,000, leading to the bankruptcy petition.

Ms Grosman told the Belfast Telegraph last week: "It's an unfortunate situation due to business debts from back a few years ago."

She established the anti-sectarian and anti-racist Unite Against Hate campaign in 2009.

And after moving to Northern Ireland from London, she established Polish Cultural Week, which has taken place every year since 2006.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph last year, the 41-year-old described leaving her native Poland for London in her teens, before the success of the business she worked for brought her to the province.

Belfast Telegraph