Ex-university chief hit by £5,000 bill after PR firm wins court battle

THE former vice chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University was ordered to pay nearly £5,000 after a court battle with a PR firm.

Leeds-based Wolfstar took Simon Lee to court to claim 4,532.50 the company claimed it was owed for work carried out after he abruptly left Leeds Met in January last year.

Mr Lee had taken on Wolfstar's services when the university's management came under scrutiny in the wake of his departure.

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Wolfstar's work included tutoring Mr Lee before an appearance on BBC Look North but Mr Lee later refused to pay outstanding bills. He claimed he had employed the company to set up a website to publicise different career options he was pursuing, including writing a book, and to enable him to defend his own reputation online.

The dispute ended up at Halifax County Court, with Deputy District Judge Nightingale ultimately ruling Mr Lee should pay the full amount claimed, plus 435 in costs. His judgement acknowledged the website was an "ancilliary" aim but that "the main thrust... was he knew there was negative publicity on its way and he wanted to make sure he was properly represented.

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Mr Lee paid an initial invoice submitted on February 18 last year for 3,162.50 which was paid after his wife, Patricia, initially called the firm over the amount.

A subsequent bill of 7,532.50 was submitted, of which 2,500 was paid by Mr Lee, with credit being given for a further 500.

The judge said he was satisfied from the documents which he had seen that the debt claimed was due and owing.Mr Lee did not respond to a request to comment.