It hasn’t been a good few days for Usman Khushi. In the early hours of Friday morning last week, his Range Rover went up in flames. It’s understood he’d only moved to the west end of Glasgow last month, spending some £610,000 for a house there. Exactly why the car seemingly burst into flames is not yet known.
Why am I telling you this? Well, Usman Khushi is a non-executive director at the Sub Club in the city. Which reminds me of a story I ran on this blog a while ago – the only one to touch it before that was Business Teshno on Twitter.
There were a few details which I managed to miss in the original story. For example, days before the fundraiser to save the Sub Club was launched, he was photographed on his own Instagram page travelling to Berlin via a private jet to celebrate at Peggy Gou’s birthday party. Aware of how this would look, he most certainly was not.
Now, the fundraiser in question raised £189,620 in the space of four weeks. And some big names donated too. For example, Patrick Topping donated £500, as did Eats Everything. Nick Sabine, one of the founders of Resident Advisor, threw £100 into the pot.
But what was this money used for? Well, the fundraiser itself featured an update which revealed their plans. For example, just over £52,000 was going to be put into a Staff Hardship Fund. This one makes sense. But then they state that £31.864 was going to be used to recover furlough money “denied by HMRC”, as they put it.
Curiously, they make no mention here of the fact they handed in the paperwork to join the furlough scheme one day late. Seeing as just over £30,000 of money the public willingly handed over was being used to rectify the club’s own mistake, shouldn’t that have been declared at the time?
Then again, Sub Club doesn’t seem to have been particularly well run in the past. Looking around on Companies House, you discover that the original Sub Club (Scotland) Limited was put into compulsory liquidation back in 2011. Statements from June 2009 show the company had £43,791 in assets but a whopping £280,963 due to be paid out over the following 12 months.
And a more recent statement for Outer Limits, the company which owns Sub Club isn’t much more encouraging. On March 31st 2020, the company had £54,080 of assets but £114,762 going out over the next year.
How does Sub Club continue to operate with such finances? It’s a good question, and part of that answer comes from Khushi. When the controversy over the private jet blew up last year, he claimed that he never took money out of Sub Club – he only ever put money in to the club, because he believed strongly in it. Judging by the frequency which some people seem to come in and out of the club, it looks like this is a strategy they utilise more frequently.
This is perfect legal, and isn’t a problem so long that the investors realise they’re doing it for the love. But as a long term strategy for running a club? Whilst I accept there might be more going on here than I realise, this thinking seems positively here and now…