With breathtaking views of Singapore's Marina Bay – not to mention five bedrooms, a swimming pool and a dazzling £ 43 million price tag, Sir James Dyson's new home in Asia is indeed a lavish affair.
The billionaire inventor moved his headquarters to the Asian city-state controversially earlier this year, despite being a strong advocate of the Brexit.
The & # 39; superpenthouse & # 39; of the Wallich Residence that he and his wife Deirdre bought last month takes up 21,000 square meters over three floors and is considered the most expensive apartment ever sold in the city.
Lynette Flanders (right), who worked as a house manager for the Dysons on their 20,000-pound estate in Gloucestershire for ten years, was fired last summer. Pictured with her husband Mike
But while Sir James is at home at the top of Singapore's tallest skyscraper, one of his former employees claims he is in danger of losing hers – thanks to a bitter legal fight with the bagless vacuum cleaner magnate.
Lynette Vlaanderen, who worked as a house manager for the Dysons on their £ 20 million estate in Gloucestershire for a decade, was fired last summer. After launching an unfair dismissal claim against Sir James, she was accused of spying on the Dyson family and stealing secrets in the form of emails, recorded conversations, and photos.
Now, two months after Sir James launched a £ 50,000 lawsuit against the mother of three, Mrs. Flanders, 50, has revealed that she is in danger of losing her house after she & # 39; is forced to litigate & # 39; by one of the richest men in Britain. She says she has already spent £ 60,000 on lawyers who represent her in the & # 39; David and Goliath & # 39; case.
This week, as details about the fantastic new house in Singapore developed, Ms. Flanders – who denied that something was wrong – launched an extraordinary appeal for financial support for her hefty legal costs through the online fundraising platform & # 39; CrowdJustice & # 39 ;
& # 39; The costs are huge, & # 39; she said. & # 39; I'm confused as to what their ultimate goal is. We have paid tens of thousands of pounds. Every money we earn comes with legal costs. & # 39;
Photos, Lady Deirdre Dyson and Sir James Dyson attend the Christmas installation unveiled by Sir David Attenborough at Aqua Shard on November 16, 2016 in London. The billionaire inventor controversially moved the headquarters of his company to Singapore
She described herself as a & # 39; normal working class person & # 39; to the & # 39; giant billionaires Sir James and Lady Dyson & # 39 ;, saying that she and her husband Michael spent their savings, so she can now be forced to sell the £ 400,000 three-bed cottage. purchased and lovingly restored in the village of Frampton Cotterell, Gloucestershire.
& # 39; Our house is now in danger, but we cannot run away & # 39 ;, says Ms. Flanders.
A family friend told me: & # 39; It is so ironic that in a time when Lynette is in danger of losing her own house after being forced to go to court without any option to run away, Dyson saves millions by one hundred times more .
& # 39; She feels she is being punished because she does not accept that the redundancy was fair and that she dared to challenge the Dysons. & # 39;
In the online call she launched this week, Ms. Flanders, who has type 1 diabetes, claims that she & # 39; is mentally broken & # 39; is after she has been charged by the Dysons while pursuing her unfair dismissal application.
& # 39; I was fully committed to serving them and my life came second for their needs, & she writes in an emotional report of her plight. She says she has disappeared from a & # 39; happy, hard-working, dedicated person & # 39; to someone & # 39; in a desperate position & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I need to appeal to the wider community to help me raise funds – to help the little person against a giant & # 39 ;, she adds.
& # 39; She absolutely loved her work & # 39 ;, the family friend adds. & # 39; Working for the Dysons was the life of Lyn.
& # 39; She was committed to them. In the past, she has canceled vacations to ensure that everything was good for them. She finds it so painful that someone would accuse her of actively trying to harm them. & # 39;
Mrs Flanders came into contact with Sir James for the first time in 2007 through the floor company that she runs with her husband. It was brought in to renovate and maintain wooden and stone floors in Dodington Park, a vast 300-acre 16th-century estate in Gloucestershire.
Mrs Flanders came into contact with Sir James for the first time in 2007 through the floor company that she runs with her husband. It was brought in to renovate and maintain wooden and stone floors in Dodington Park (photo), a vast 300-acre 16th-century estate in Gloucestershire
The main building – with 51 bedrooms, 40 bathrooms and ten reception rooms purchased by Sir James in 2003 – was built in the early 19th century. Its maintenance requires huge amounts of specialized renovation work and the constant attention of around 100 employees.
When she was asked to cover the maternity leave of one of the estate's part-time cleaners, Mrs. Flanders agreed and worked for four hours every working day. When she got a contract when one of the five household cleaners and husband Michael also offered a full-time job, the couple folded their flooring business.
& # 39; Lyn loved working for them, & # 39; the family friend told me this week. & # 39; Sir James was always nice to her and she got along well with Lady Dyson. She always trusted her about private matters, but Lyn would never have dreamed of revealing things she had been told. & # 39;
It was perhaps thanks to this loyalty, not to mention the secretarial skills that Mrs. Flanders had learned as a YTS trainee who worked for Rolls-Royce in the 1990s, that in 2011 she was promoted to & # 39; house manager & # 39 ;.
By the time she was fired, she earned £ 39,000 a year. Her job description included everything from organizing events and entertainment in the house to ordering food, stationery and equipment, plus managing staff.
When she was asked to cover the maternity leave of one of the estate's part-time cleaners, Mrs. Flanders agreed and worked for four hours every working day. Pictured, Dodington Park
The Dysons were particularly friendly when Mrs. Flanders had a serious diabetes episode at the end of 2016 that brought her into a coma.
They sent flowers when she was admitted to intensive care and when she returned to the hospital last May for a planned operation that required six weeks' absence from work, Sir James and Deirdre agreed to continue to pay her full salary .
Despite the enormous inequality in their wealth, the Dysons may have recognized something of themselves in Flanders. Both were hard-working couples and parents of two sons and a daughter.
Both had worked hard to build their own business. And if the 400-year-old cottage of Flanders was shaded by Dodington Park, they would have worked hard to restore it. After buying two dilapidated stone houses in 1999, they lived for a year in a caravan with the children Ben, now 28, Kayty, 26, and Scott, 22, while becoming the beloved house that Mrs. Flanders says she can lose now .
There was a time in the early years of their relationship when the Dysons also struggled to make ends meet. They met as students at the art academy in London and moved to a derelict house in Fulham after their marriage in 1968.
The main building – with 51 bedrooms, 40 bathrooms and ten reception rooms purchased by Sir James in 2003 – was built at the beginning of the 19th century
Sometimes the money was so tight that Sir James & # 39; took a job at a gas station in the evening, while Deirdre helped keep things under water by teaching in the kitchen.
It was not until 1974, when his first commercial invention – the Ballbarrow version of the wheelbarrow – came on the market that the couple's lead to fame and fortune began.
They would now be worth £ 12.6 billion. In addition to Dodington Park and their stay in Singapore, they also have a £ 20 million mansion in London, a £ 3 million castle in Provence and a £ 50 million New York penthouse.
Meanwhile, mechanic daughter Lynette left for the Downend School in Bristol at the age of 16, before becoming a Rolls-Royce intern. She met graphic designer and artist Michael Flanders in 1989 and married the following year before they founded their floor trade in 1995. & # 39; They are ordinary people who have worked hard to give their families a good life & # 39 ;, says the friend.
Last July, a few days after she returned to work after her operation, Mrs. Flanders was invited to meet with Dodington Park's estate manager and received a & # 39; redundancy process letter & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Lyn was absolutely stunned and destroyed & # 39 ;, says the friend. & # 39; She had not seen it coming and could not understand why it happened. She had no warning whatsoever about negative aspects of her work. & # 39;
According to the friend, Mrs. Flanders was told that Lady Dyson, who owns a carpet and carpet company, has decided to take over as a house manager herself – which may seem strange as the Dysons have moved to Singapore, about 7,000 miles beyond.
Last July, a few days after she returned to work after her operation, Mrs. Flanders was summoned to meet Dodington Park's estate manager and received a & # 39; redundancy process letter & # 39;
The friend added: & # 39; To be real, the job itself should no longer exist, but if she takes over Lyn & # 39; s job, that might not be unnecessary. & # 39; According to another source, Ms. Flanders received £ 5,000 on top of the legal redundancy scheme when she signed a letter accepting payment as a settlement.
& # 39; She wouldn't sign it & # 39 ;, says the source. & # 39; She was advised to seek legal advice and a lawyer informed her that she might have a reason for unreasonable dismissal. & # 39;
On her last day, on 31 August last year, Mrs. Flanders was shown flowers and thanked by the manager of the estate – but it didn't take long before the relationships were spoiled.
The first to realize that something was wrong, she said this week when she started her fundraising campaign, was late September when she had not received her last salary or severance payment.
When she called to find out what had happened, she received an email accusing her of committing & # 39; serious criminal acts & # 39 ;.
One of the allegations was that on her work laptop she had a folder named & # 39; Deirdre & # 39; had made with & # 39; private, confidential and sensitive medical information & # 39; from Lady Dyson and then copied it to a portable USB stick. She was also accused of copying 5,000 e-mails to her personal e-mail account and sending five photos she had taken on her phone in the Dysons home.
Mrs Flanders denies all claims against her and says that the truth has turned against her, despite the fact that the bosses of Dodington Park knew that she used her own phone and home laptop for business matters.
She admits that she has created a computer folder with the name & # 39; Deirdre & # 39; and makes the recordings of the work she did to clean up & # 39; the electronic files & # 39; but says she copied it to a USB & # 39; to keep a profile of the work that she had undertaken & # 39; as part of her unfair dismissal claim.
Last October, following a Supreme Court ruling, Ms. Flanders was forced to transfer her devices to a specialized IT company and still not get them back
When she handed in her keys and Dodington Park pass before leaving the estate, she admitted she didn't realize if any computer or phone data was being applied to my personal devices, and this wasn't brought to my attention either. 39;
Regarding emails – including a list of guests invited to a & # 39; private opera & # 39; who received the Dysons – they were sent to her personal e-mail address because she was working at home and they could only print from her home computer, not her work laptop.
The photos, taken from a family tree window sill view, were taken before the window sill was cleared so that the framed photos could be returned to the correct location.
In October last year, following a Supreme Court ruling, Ms. Flanders was forced to transfer her devices to a specialized IT company and still not get them back.
Instead, she had to check hundreds of thousands of pieces of data under the supervision of a lawyer, a process that adds thousands to her legal bill.
& # 39; I do not deny that I have had data from the Dysons. I have done nothing with such data outside of work purposes and I agree that data should be deleted, & she says on her CrowdJustice page.
A spokesperson for the Dyson family said: & # 39; The Dysons are looking for the return of their private property that has been taken without their consent, which runs to several thousand electronic databases, as well as family photos & videos, # 39; ; s (s) medical records.
& # 39; Before the family was forced to turn to the Supreme Court as a last resort, Mrs. Flanders was given numerous opportunities to return the family property, but chose not to do so. Subsequently, a court ordered Ms Flanders to comply with the family's request and this remains the case. The family has also funded elements of the legal process to help Ms. Flanders follow the direction of the court and to act in a reasonable and proportionate manner at all times to protect the property and privacy of herself and of many others who affected by Mrs Vlaanderen. & # 39;
His case against his former employee comes in what have been aggravating circumstances for the billionaire for several months.
In January of this year, the candid Brexiteer, who called on the government to leave the EU without a deal, was accused of hypocrisy after he left Britain and his tax system for Singapore, claiming to have his business & # 39; future-proof & # 39; would make
In January of this year, the candid Brexiteer, who called on the government to leave the EU without a deal, was accused of hypocrisy after he left Great Britain and his tax system for Singapore for claiming to have his business & # 39; future-proof & # 39; would make.
This week he was also embroiled in a war of words with Honda about his plans to launch a Dyson electric car. The Japanese carmaker reacted furiously to claims made in a letter from Sir James to his local MP suggesting that his controversial decision to relocate production and his headquarters to Asia was partly due to Honda & # 39; s refusal to him rent an unused building to its factory in Swindon. Honda denies the claims.
It is also not the first time that Sir James is bumping into a former employee.
In 2017, he settled a legal dispute with his former CEO, Max Conze, fired for allegedly stealing trade secrets from Dyson.
Conze responded by saying: & # 39; This ridiculous allegation only tries to divert attention from the claims that Dyson knows I have to spend. & # 39; He later received a payment of several million pounds to settle his claim for missing long-term shares.
For the time being, the saga of Dyson v Flanders seems to be continuing. Last night Mrs Flanders' appeal had reached £ 4,225, still a way from her goal of £ 100,000.
But according to the family friend: & # 39; Every penny helps. The attempt to raise funds at CrowdJustice is a last desperate attempt so that she and Mike do not lose their house due to legal costs.
& # 39; Sir James has chosen to leave this route for whatever reason and he will not let it go.
& # 39; Lynette has broken because of this. She doesn't know what his endgame is. She feels like her life has been stolen. & # 39;
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