An Ilkeston business chief has told a court that a speeding ban would force the closure of two offices with the loss of 62 jobs.
Jason Rowan, managing director of the Energy Save, says a six-month disqualification would hamper his work at a crucial time.
His Bentley was clocked at 57mph on the A52 in Bramcote on February 3 last year. At Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, he was found guilty of breaking the 40mph limit.
Rowan, 45, is arguing that a ban would cause “exceptional hardship” because the company lost customers after a BBC Watchdog programme filmed a salesman talking to someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
In court, he described it as “sensation journalism” which “abuses the whole ethos of the company.”
Energy Save recently set up its HQ in the former Ilkeston Co-op building off the Market Place.
He claimed that customers had “panicked,” forcing him to trim the 300-strong workforce to 120 in two months. If he were banned, he said his accountants told him that he would need to close offices in Derby and Leicester with the loss of another 62 jobs.
“It is restructuring, trying to keep the company afloat. We are trying to save the business. My own bank account is overdrawn.
“We have £40,000 turnover and on profit margins, we are losing money on a weekly basis. We have got £67,000 going out in the wages bill, a £30,000 deficit every week,” said Rowan of Rosyth Crescent, Chellaston near Derby.
He said it was not possible to employ one of his existing staff as a driver, telling the court: “People can’t work the hours I work.
“The hours I work are absurd. I would need three people 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
But District Judge Tim Spruce said it was difficult to establish a link between Rowan’s right to drive and the risk of shutting two offices.
“It is disproportionate and frankly, on the evidence, I don’t buy it,” he said.
He adjourned the case for three weeks and told Rowan to produce written evidence of the firm’s finances, his personal assets “including the Bentley and another vehicle.”
Mr Spruce said: “This is what the court needs to see. The test is not whether if Mr Rowan loses his licence, it is hardship. The test is that it needs to be exceptional.”
Rowan said he had already spent £50,000 fighting the BBC over the programme and expected that figure to reach £150,000.
When questioned by Sarah Sanderson, prosecuting, Rowan said he had spent £12,000 on the speeding case, which has been in court nine times.
She asked him: “Why would you close two offices relating to job losses for 62 people, rather than have one person drive you about?”
The father-of-three replied: “There is no money to pay that.”