Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Banker Owes EJAF $1.1M
Dubai-based Spencer Lodge pledged the cash at Sir Elton’s White Tie and Tiara Ball for a day out with the 64-year-old singer and his husband David Furnish.
Lodge, 40, signed a contract promising to pay the money to the Elton John Aids Foundation but it is yet to receive a penny.
Numerous attempts have been made to contact Lodge and now, with Sir Elton’s backing, the Foundation has started a High Court action to recover the pledge. Lodge made the generous bid in June 2010 at the Gothic-themed ball held in the grounds of the couple’s Windsor mansion. The bash featured a performance by Lady Gaga and helped raise over £5million for the Foundation.
The day out included a trip with the couple to visit some of their charitable projects in the UK.
Sources close to the star said: “Both David and Elton, and everyone involved with the ELAF, are really angry about this.
“Elton is not personally hounding the man and demanding the cash back but he is fully supportive of the legal proceedings to benefit the charity.
“The lot was a one-off opportunity to make his charity an astonishing amount of money. Organisers had actually secured another bid of £650,000 which, of course, they would have been delighted with.
“The feeling is Mr Lodge was at the ball, enjoying the plush surroundings a little too enthusiastically and didn’t really know quite how much he was bidding.
“In the cold light of day, it appears he got cold feet and couldn’t go through with the bid. Initially there was a misunderstanding as Mr Lodge was changing lawyers but still nothing has been resolved so that’s why it has gone this far.”
Dad-of-two Lodge, owner of an investment advisory firm, is a well-known on the Middle-Eastern business and celebrity circuit.
The Elton John Aids Foundation, whose celebrity supporters and patrons include Sting, Lulu, Prince and Sharon Stone, has funded over 1,100 projects worldwide, raising over £40million. The largest HIV/AIDS grant maker in the UK, the charity supports those affected by the disease.
Last night he was unavailable for comment. Sir Elton’s spokesman refused to discuss the matter.