A MAN whose company collapsed owing thousands of pounds has denied being involved in a similar venture in Huddersfield.
However, businessman Aziz Patel, 25, has answered the phone at Go Haven property letting agents in Marsh and has done promotional work for the newly-founded company.
He publicised his participation in the Great North Run with the name of the company emblazoned across his vest.
Also, potential sponsors were directed to a website linked to Go Haven, but he says the company on Westbourne Road, Marsh, is run entirely by his sister, 34-year-old Nasim Banu Patel.
She said: "Aziz has been helping me out voluntarily, giving me help and advice.
"He's only involved in the sense of promoting and advertising and raising awareness of the company in Huddersfield. The office in Huddersfield is a separate entity from the company in Sunderland.
"Aziz is not a director and has no legal obligations to Go Haven. I'm responsible for the finances and administration."
Mr Patel was featured in the Examiner in August, when he was preparing to take part in the Great North run to raise money for a cancer charity.
He gave the impression the Marsh office was part of the North-East operation he ran called Haven Property Management - but that company had stopped trading in January and was dissolved on October 11, owing thousands of pounds.
Mr Patel now says he was wrong to give the impression the two businesses were linked.
"I was only trying to help my sister's business," he said. "It is pure coincidence she has set up a property company.
"She helped me in the past and I'm repaying the favour. I've done that voluntarily and I've nothing at all to do with Go Haven.
"All this stress has made me ill. I've had a viral infection and I've been resting for four weeks."
Haven Property Management was based in Sunderland. Mr Patel's mother, Zarina, was listed as the company secretary for Go Haven and the collapsed North-East company, but Mr Patel says she has not been actively involved with either.
Nasim Patel has also said her mother is not involved in the day-to- day running of her business.
The definition of a company secretary is the person responsible for keeping the various records of the company, such as minutes of board and general meetings and various records which must be kept at the registered office.
Every company must have a secretary, who must be a different person to the sole director.
Mr Patel ran the Sunderland company single-handedly, collecting money from tenants and then paying it to their landlords.
The firm was paid to collect rents from hundreds of tenants on Wearside for dozens of landlords, but some clients say they never received the cash after Mr Patel sent them cheques which bounced.
Sunderland businessman John Weston, 45, says he is owed more than £3,000. He added: "I'm sure there are others and we want to get as many as possible so we can see how much Haven Property Management owes."
Another landlord, John Dulay, says he is owed £10,000, but Mr Patel says he owes Mr Dulay no more than £4,000 and Mr Weston less than £2,000 and had contacted both men and organised to repay them.
But Mr Weston said nothing has yet been paid and he would only believe it when he had the money in his hand.
An unpaid British Telecom bill was also being sorted and Mr Patel said all his debts would then be cleared, so far as he knew.
Mr Patel also ran a hairdressers from the same Sunderland premises and says an employee stole £10,000 from that business and more than £19,000 from Haven Property Management Ltd over 18 months.
He says his accountancy procedures meant he did not pick up on the thefts for several months.
Also, accounts he sent to Companies House had been returned to him for more work.
He said he was just too busy to keep a proper check on them and added: "I was paying money into the business, but lost focus of money going out."
"I paid almost everyone back by selling my cars, borrowing money from my family and using all my savings. I now have nothing left. I've sold all my assets to pay the landlords."
The cars were a Land Rover Freelander and a Mercedes.
* Police in Sunderland say a 58-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft from Haven Property Management Limited in June, 2004, and is now on bail.