This tale concerns a case brought before an Employment Tribunal in November 2009 involving a £4 million claim made by Jordan Wimmer, a former marketing executive at Nomos Capital Partners Ltd, for sex discrimination, disability discrimination, unfair constructive dismissal and an unauthorised deduction from wages. And it was the case that all of Ms Wimmer's complaints were directed against the behaviour of one Mark Lowe, the founder, head, and sole shareholder of Nomos Capital Partners Ltd and therefore worthy of being described as a "wealthy City financier", and whom she claimed had 'hounded' her out of her £577,000-a-year job.
It appeared that, as far as Ms Wimmer was concerned, her duties as a 'marketing executive' largely involved organising 'events' to which prospective investors were invited and encouraged to place their funds at the disposal of her employer. Indeed it was said that she, and two of her female colleagues, had only been hired because they collectively bore a resemblance to 'Charlie's Angels' and were therefore well placed to attract the attention of the presumably male target audience. Although one might have imagined that anyone fortunate enough to secure a post worth £577,000 per annum purely on the basis of a chance resemblance to some American actress would have been grateful for this stroke of luck, Ms Wimmer however appeared to view this an affront to her dignity.
She also, at least in retrospect, objected to the fact that her boss appeared at the business events she had organised with women who she regarded as being improperly dressed for the occasion. Naturally Ms Wimmer concluded that since their mode of dress indicated that the women in question possessed a lower moral standard than she, then they must perforce be prostitutes. In addition she complained of being 'forced' to attend a 'strip club', that Lowe had sexually harassed her, referred to her as a "dumb blonde", made a pass at her during a business trip to Madrid, and hired a hitman to kill her.
One should of course, take the opportunity to pause and reflect that, whilst allegations of sexual impropriety during the course of an employment are common place, allegations of attempted murder are few and far between. However, according to Ms Wimmer, there was an incident which took place near the King's Road in Chelsea, in which Wimmer claimed that a car had tried to run her over no less than six times. This did seem a little far-fetched, as one would have thought that anyone faced with such a predicament would have had the sense to get out of the road after the second attempt at least, not to mention the fact that she appeared to have neglected to bring the matter to the attention of the Metropolitan Police.
What was indisputable was that Ms Wimmer had suffered a breakdown in September 2008 and was admitted to the Causeway Medical Retreat for five weeks. Her employer had even advanced the £65,000 it cost for her to pay for her treatment, although there was apparently some dispute as her employer was obliged to stop her salary when she failed to repay the advance, as well as an apparent delay in paying Wimmer her bonus of £377,000. Eventually Wimmer quit her job of six years in February 2009, claiming that she was overworked. Which is where the disability discrimination came in. Since Ms Wimmer suffered from depression as a direct consequence of the pressures of her work, asserted that this depression was a 'disability' and that by failing to take proper account of her depression her employer had discriminated against her.
Naturally the defence did not take this lying down and produced an expert witness named Dr Stuart Turner who told the tribunal that Wimmer's "family problems" and a "past eating disorder" were responsible for her breakdown rather than her work. Whilst for his part, Mark Lowe admitted that it made perfectly "good commercial sense" to hire attractive women although he claimed that he'd "never heard" of Charlie's Angels and thus had no intention of replicating their antics and denied the accusations of sex and disability discrimination.
It is at this point that we probably should get around to revealing why and where the Latin fits in to this tale alleged sexual impropriety and murderous intent, and disclose the fact that, in order to pursue her case, Ms Wimmer had called on the evidence of one Ariane Gordji who had been in receipt of an email from Mark Lowe that contained the Latin quotation in question.
Now as it turned out Ms Gordji didn't work for Mr Lowe and never had. She had however made the acquaintance of his son Khalid Lowe while she was studying at University College, London. Given that Mr Lowe senior was a wealthy City financier with a £100 million fortune, Ms Gordji appeared to have sought to develop her contact with him in order to improve her chances of finding gainful employment. According to her account of events, she came across the Latin phrase "ego autem dico vobis diligite inimicos vestros" and, knowing that Lowe was a classics scholar, decided to send him an email asking him what it meant. Although even those of us who are not classics scholars might well have had a good chance of recognising the phrase as being Matthew 5:44, which renders into English as 'But I say to you, Love your enemies'.
Now whilst this might well reflect the traditional Christian approach to such matters, in his reply Mr Lowe sought to demonstrate that he possessed a more robust attitude to his enemies, which could be summed up in the words, "irrumabo vos et pedicabo vos". According to her testimony Ms Gordji claimed that she was "intrigued" by this and used the internet to obtain a translation, although no explanation was forthcoming as to why it hadn't occurred to her to do that in the first place when faced with Matthew 5:44. Nevertheless having discovered what the phrase meant, Ms Gordji said that she regarded it as "inappropriate", but "put it down to Mr Lowe's eccentric and slightly strange sense of humour" and thought nothing more of it. Until that is she read about the case in the newspaper, and decided to get in touch with Miss Wimmer, presumably because she believed that her testimony would 'help' in some way.
Mr Lowe himself defended his use of the phrase on the grounds that it was "burlesque", and that it was "always light-hearted in the first century and it still is now" being nothing more than a "more robust and more pagan response to love your enemies". Which of course brings us to the subject of the meaning of the inappropriate Latin quotation in question which is, of course, derived from Catullus 16 which begins, Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo, and roughly translates as "I'm going to fuck you in the arse and stick my cock in your mouth". Which in itself would be sufficient explanation as to why the British media took a great deal more interest in this case than the typical proceeding before an employment tribunal. Apart from the fact that it enabled sundry journalists to make worthy statements about the enduring value of Latin poetry and display their own classical scholarship.
It turned out that Nomos Capital Partners Limited was an independent financial intemediary advising clients on which hedge fund they should choose. Unfortunately for the company it seems that one of the hedge funds its clients were directed towards was Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC; an apparently succesful and perfectly respectable investment company until it was revealed to be nothing more than a billion dollar Ponzi scheme and promptly collapsed. Nomos Capital Partners Limited susbsequently filed for insolvency on the 19th May 2009, a development which might have called into question their ability to pay the £4 million demanded by Jordan Wimmer.
However as it turned out such questions proved beside the point, although a certain amount of patience was required to await the vedict of the Employment Tribunal which didn't appear until some months later on the 3rd May 2010. The tribunal duly pronounced that "We did not find the claimant a persuasive witness" and that "Her dramatic account is simply not corroborated by the overwhelming totality of the contemporaneous documents" and dismissed all of Ms Wimmer's complaints.
Incidentally Jordan Wimmer was a Canadian. And very blonde. The significance of either is unclear.
- Martin Evans, City executive Jordan Wimmer 'believed boss had hired a Russian hit-man' tribunal told, Daily Telegraph, 11 Nov 2009
- Helen Pidd, 'He served me up like a piece of meat', ex-sales executive tells tribunal, The Guardian, 17 November 2009
- Lindsay Fortado, Nomos Capital’s Lowe Testifies He Never Hired Escorts, Hit Man, Nov. 18 (Bloomberg)
- Matthew Moore, City executive in stiletto harassment case 'denied bonus over tax inspection fears', Daily Telegraph, 19 Nov 2009
- City boss denies lewd Latin claim, BBC News, 23 November 2009
- James Lumley, Nomos Capital’s Lowe Says He Sent Explicit Latin Poem As a Joke, Nov. 23 (Bloomberg)
- Colin Fernandez, Millionaire hedge fund boss 'sent work experience girl vile sexual email', Daily Mail, 24th November 2009
- Female executive who accused City boss of bringing escorts to meetings loses £4m discrimination case, Daily Mail, 3rd May 2010