AN EMBARRASSING dispute over rent and a messy office could land MP Ed Balls in court.
Mr Balls is being sued for £1,966 by Normanton estate agent Paul Sampson who leased the town’s former MP an office between 2006 and 2010.
He claims it was left in a ‘filthy state’ and that he is still owed rent following an increase in 2008.
Mr Sampson said: “I’ve been trying to settle this with him since last July and at one point I received a cheque for £80, which I found totally insulting.
“We’ve had to redecorate and recarpet and all I want back is what it has cost us plus the extra rent, which we had a gentleman’s agreement about.
“I am disappointed that I’m having to do this. I didn’t want to go to court, but it’s not fair that someone in his position should get away with this.
“It’s nothing personal against him, I’m not doing it to be malicious. It’s purely business.”
A statement issued by Mr Balls’s constituency office said: “We have put in a robust defence after attempts to settle the matter were rejected. The bottom line is that there will be no payment of taxpayers’ money that is not justified.
“Since this is now a matter before the courts it would be inappropriate for us or anyone else to make any further comment on this which could prejudice the outcome of this case.”
A letter sent to Mr Sampson by Mr Balls’s solicitor Tom Jones, in January, said the MP, who now represents Morley and Outwood, ‘categorically denied’ that any gentleman’s agreement had been made regarding a rent increase.
The letter offered £150 towards a replacement carpet, which it said was in a ‘bad state of repair’ when Mr Balls moved in. It also offered £75 towards the costs of clearing rubbish and £337.50 towards the cost of redecoration ‘on production of a receipt’.
It added: “If he terms of this settlement are unacceptable we have instructions to accept service of proceedings.”