A security guard has accused publisher Felix Dennis, one of the Midlands’ richest men, of sacking him unfairly.
Thomas Sulwey has taken computer media publisher Mr Dennis to an employment tribunal claiming compensation for unfair dismissal.
Mr Sulwey lost his job at the millionaire’s country estate at the Old Manor, Dorsington, near Stratford-on-Avon.
Estate manager David Bliss told the hearing Mr Dennis expected all areas on his country pile to be kept tidy and up to a high standard.
“Mr Sulwey was expected to water lawns and look after chickens and dogs as well as carry out patrols,” he said. “There was an incident where a lawn had not been sprinkled with water and Mr Sulwey claimed that it had not been needed.”
The tribunal heard how Mr Sulwey, of Smith Street, Warwick, was one of 34 people employed by Mr Dennis on the estate.
Mr Bliss went on: “There was also a dispute over Mr Sulwey’s timesheet and Mr Dennis said he had seen Mr Sulwey driving too fast around the village.
“Mr Sulwey’s log sheet lacked comprehensive details and we believe he was not carrying out the proper security tours. He left unwashed cups behind him, failed to attend a meeting and spent time reading magazines in the laundry room”.
Mr Bliss also alleged that Mr Sulwey had failed to report an accident to a car which cost £235 to repair.
“There was a time when there was a lot of flooding in Stratford and Mr Sulwey failed to attend work although other staff had turned up,” said Mr Bliss.
Mr Sulwey accused his employer of fabricating evidence against him and described the alleged complaints as trivial.
“I forgot to report the damaged car but I was owed £120 in wages,” he said. “I believe the alleged complaints were ulterior motives because I had made a nuisance of myself about the unpaid wages.
“I could not attend the meeting because I had other important commitments. I believe Mr Bliss was gunning for me.”
Mr Bliss admitted there had been an error over Mr Sulwey’s wages but said this had been resolved.
The hearing lasted three days and chairman Mary Cocks said a decision would be made at a later date.
Mr Dennis, who was named as the seventh wealthiest man in the Midlands in the Birmingham Post Rich List, was not at the hearing in Birmingham but was the named respondent.
He is believed to be worth about £750 million, has businesses in London and the United States.
He is endeavouring to create the largest forest in England, dubbed the “Forest of Dennis”. Already some 600,000 saplings have been planted over 1,000 acres and he plans to make it even bigger, with an eventual target of 20,000 acres.