JK Rowling sues former employee for £24,000

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JK RowlingImage copyright PA

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has launched a £24,000 legal claim against a former employee for allegedly using her money to go on shopping sprees.

Ms Rowling, 53, claims Amanda Donaldson broke strict working rules by using her funds to buy cosmetics and gifts.

Ms Donaldson worked as a personal assistant for the writer between February 2014 and April 2017, before being sacked for gross misconduct.

The 35-year-old from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, has denied the claims.

Legal papers lodged at Airdrie Sheriff Court allege Ms Donaldson wrongly benefited to a value of £23,696.32 by spending on a business credit card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.

Memorabilia requests

It is claimed Ms Donaldson had responsibility for funds and was provided with a credit card for buying items in connection with business and personal affairs only.

She had to submit statements and receipts once a month to the accountants and also had access to a safe containing foreign money.

But discrepancies were picked up in February last year on statements revealing a high volume of personal spending by Ms Donaldson.

She had a meeting with an accountant to discuss use of the card and was suspended.

Ms Rowling has alleged Ms Donaldson made a series of unauthorised payments, including:

  • £823 at Bibi Bakery
  • £1,482 at luxury candle company Jo Malone
  • £3,629 in cosmetic firm Molton Brown
  • £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger
  • £1,636 in Starbucks.

Ms Rowling also claims Ms Donaldson, who controlled memorabilia requests from fans, used her position to steal a Harry Potter motorised Hogwarts Express worth £467.56, a Harry Potter Wizard Collection worth £2231.76 and a Harry Potter Tales of Beedle The Bard Set worth £395.

Ms Rowling says the toys were taken without her “knowledge or consent”.

It is alleged Ms Donaldson bought two cats worth £1,200 and withdrew £400 in cash for a deposit for a restaurant lunch but that Ms Rowling’s husband Neil Murray discovered no deposit had been paid.

The author also claimed her former employee took £7,742-worth of foreign money from a safe.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Rowling claims her husband, Neil Murray, discovered that a £400 deposit for lunch at a restaurant was not paid

Ms Donaldson has denied the claims and said Ms Rowling had “not suffered any loss and is not entitled to damages” from her.

A spokeswoman for Ms Rowling said: “I can confirm JK Rowling has taken legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust.

“As the case is not yet concluded we are not able to comment further and there won’t be any comment from JK Rowling.”

Ms Donaldson was unavailable for comment.

The case before Sheriff Derek O’Carroll is due back in court later this year.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-46126108

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