Secret millionaire sued by little brother over property sale
16 July 2010
One of the most generous secret millionaires from the Channel 4 programme of the same name - who during one episode gave away £155,000 of his own money - is being sued by his younger brother over £15,000 allegedly owed to him from the sale of their mother's home.
John Griffin, who founded London's largest taxi firm Addison Lee in 1975, was taken to Central London County Court this week by his brother, Michael Griffin, a fifty-three-year-old out of work actor from New Barnet.
According to the younger sibling, his sixty-eight-year-old brother, who is estimated to be worth £50 million, cut him out of the profit made when their mother's home was sold in 2004.
The house had been left to them and three other siblings after their mother died in 1998. However, at the time the family home was occupied by their sister, Eileen, who had recently gone bankrupt, and to aid the selling of the property the deed was signed over to John, who gave each heir £19,200.
The house was sold in 2004, after Eileen had been evicted by the trustees of her bankruptcy, and John gave each of the siblings £15,000 from the sale, each except Michael, and now Michael is demanding his share of the money.
He told the court: ""There's been a massive tear in our family. It's signified by John's inability to consider or pay put what I believe to be my share of my mother's estate.
"My brother has a great resentment towards me and this is clearly suggested by his lack of willingness to help me in my life and the fact he has spent more money on solicitors and legal representatives than he even owes me."
John claims he withheld Michael's share of the profit because he had heard from mutual friends that he had been mixed up in drugs. He said: "I'm not a fan of your activities across the board. I'm not a fan of people [who] do not ever work. I'm a hard working person.
"What I find in you is a million miles away from where I stand."
He added: "I have no legal obligation to give you any extra money, I'm doing it as an act of largesse. I think this reasonably reflects my late mother's intentions in handing out her will.
"Life's not about handouts and freebies. Until you have met my requirements I will not pay you any money."
The case continues.