Established in 1950 by Jeffery Bernhard OBE , the Bernard’s group offer a strategic mix of businesses in Rugby.
I met Stephen Bernhard and his wife Jenny last year . It was an odd meeting , we had our eye on a broken down building in the town centre that they own which we hoped we could purchase to establish a community arts facility.
Stephen took control immediately ‘We don’t think you should buy the building , we will renovate it spend 100k and we will take 12% on our investment .’ which equates to 12k rent per anum.
We met in a building they owned which currently houses an expensive restaurant , before we left we had to settle the coffee bill at 14 quid!
We felt that a fantastic opportunity was unfolding not just for us but the people of Rugby who need something to compensate for the advancing dereliction and decay of our community.
Over the year we had another two meetings with Jenny , we were told she was a ball breaker , a tough cookie but overall she was easy going and took the time to listen to our ideas .
We got to a point where we needed another meet with the Bernard’s , for five months we sent emails but got no reply , by this time we had worked out that the Bernard’s were not really offering us much , a return of 12% ? who in the world gets 12% return on their investment from an organisation with a charitable status ? We thought that this was an arbitrary figure he plucked out of the air and hoped that with further negotiations we could reduce this figure to a more realistic sum.
We never got the opportunity to enter into negotiations , after a period of over 5 months Stephen Bernhard finally sent us a definitive proposal .
When I read it I felt anger as did everyone else who saw the email .
The 12% return on their 100k investment went out the window replaced by 36% , he wanted us to obtain grant money to contribute to renovation costs and if we failed to meet the costs of rent the we would be out and they would rent the building for a daycare centre for the elderly .
I think this needed to be put into context for Mr Bernhard, Rugby people and anyone with an interest in Psycho capitalism.
Psycho Capitalists , I guess I invented a new term , does it fit the likes of Stephen Bernhard and Gerald Palmer , I think so , Stephen and Gerald are both advanced in age and both behave like they have a lifetime ahead of them . They do not but nobody has bothered to tell them . In Stephen’s case he has wealth , possibly more wealth than anyone else in Rugby , this wealth was accrued from Rugby and the people who for generations bought crap from the Bernard’s garden centre which held a monopoly over this sector for decades .
The Bernhard’s business and wealth is not really my concern , the pathological behaviour that comes with extreme wealth does.
The arrogance that emanates from these people is hard to stomach , I hardly know Stephen Bernard but on first meeting I got a vibe that the guy had the potential to be odious .
What Bernhard seemed to ignore was the potential of what we want to create , much needed opportunities for local people , a creative base and focal point for creative people and a facility for community activity , all this got ignored by Bernhard who saw the opportunity to create more wealth for himself.
People’s greed and avarice ruins lives , this is the case with Gerald Palmer who wrecked SP3 with an appalling disregard for the welfare of the musicians ,Bernhard also has caused much damage , building up our hopes then ruthlessly tearing them down , negating opportunities , psycho capitalists, a cancer for society.