Retired accountant and generally angry dude David Forge has been kicked out of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) over several not nice emails he sent to a variety of people. Not clients, not fellow accountants, just unfortunate people caught in his cyclone of anger. An ICAEW member since 1981, he hasn’t held a license to practice since 2008. And they kicked him out anyway.
An accountant who misquoted Dad’s Army to call a female director a “stupid girl” was sexist, a disciplinary panel has heard.
David Forge used Captain Mainwaring’s famous line from the classic BBC sitcom to “belittle” his opponent in an email, a disciplinary committee was told.
In the TV series, Mainwaring – played by Arthur Lowe – repeatedly refers to Ian Lavender’s Private Pike as “Stupid Boy”.
Mr Forge, however, changed it as part of an ongoing row with the woman who sat on the board of a property management firm.
“In the infamous amended words of Captain Mainwaring – you stupid girl,” he wrote as part of a series of “sexist, aggressive and offensive” messages.
Supercut of Captain Mainwaring spitting his famous line here. Brits amiright.
An ICAEW tribunal determined any or all of the comments in Schedules A to L (below) made to these poor property management people are “contrary to ICAEW’s Code of Ethics section 150, Professional Behaviour.” So acts discreditable, basically. Judge for yourself if this guy was making accountants look bad:
Projection, thy name is David Forge.
Bruh. Projecting so hard he could be his own drive-in theatre.
When informed of the date of his trial before the ICAEW, Forge managed to hold his tongue but was still kind of a dick:
‘What Disciplinary Hearing next week?
I am currently away on a cruise and only have wifi access when ashore. Back home next week. I cannot read your attachment on my mobile phone so that will wait. My position remains as per my previous emails which have been ignored. I have completed your Financial Questionnaire and without agreement on costs I will not be burdening you with lever arch files of relevant evidence to this case and the unethical and fraudulent conduct of the complainants in this tit for tat case. Without this you are making judgements without foundation.’
And when asked if he planned to show up at the hearing he wrote:
‘The Insitute [sic] has ignored my representations and yes I have better things to do than waste my time on this nonsense. . . I tendered my resignation before I had any knowledge of this so you have wasted your members money but so be it. . . I resigned to save £50 a year so I have achieved my objective.
Thank you and goodbye!!’
“You’re not breaking up with me, I’m breaking up with you!” The ICAEW rep emailing him reminded him that a member can’t effectively resign when there is an open disciplinary complaint against said member, he of course had an email for that:
‘You are not listening and and [sic] you and your colleagues have IGNORED my representations. After I had resigned and you brought the existence of the complaint to my attention I provided to you 2 no cost solutions for dealing with this matter which the Institute IGNORED. Given that I retired in 2007 that was very foolish.
Instead you or your colleagues decided to “investigate” the complaints. What on earth did you think you were seeking to achieve? I had already been retired for 15 years at that stage!
For reasons already explained I will only provide the evidence if I am indemnified against the costs. The decision is yours.’
Forge told the ICAEW that he considered the comments he made justified, appropriate and proportionate in response to the complainants’ actions. He said that the complainants were the aggressors and he was seeking to defend a friend against what he considered to be unscrupulous and unethical actions to destroy her and her business. “You may not consider the language appropriate but that is because you have not understood the dispute,” he said.
The tribunal document embedded below then goes down the list to determine which comments violated the ICAEW Code of Ethics and which did not.
The Tribunal then considered whether the comments made as set out in Schedules A to L amounted to a breach of section 150.1 of the Code of Ethics. The Tribunal considered, in particular, whether making the comments brought discredit on the profession. The Tribunal bore in mind that the dictionary definition of discreditable is shameful or disgraceful. The Tribunal gave separate consideration to each of the emails in the Schedules to the complaint.
Schedule A referred to an email Mr Forge sent to Mr ‘A’ in December 2015 in which he said ‘You are in my opinion, the scum of the earth.’ The Tribunal took into account that the email was not sent in the context of a professional engagement or a professional setting. However, it was sent in a formal context in that it related to the management of the ‘C’ development. It also noted that the email, though addressed to Mr ‘A’, was copied to 11 other recipients.
The Tribunal was satisfied that using the phrase ‘scum of the earth’ was completely unacceptable and amounted to discreditable conduct. It was therefore a breach of section 150.1 of the Code of Ethics.
Schedule B was OK, because the tribunal knows that people can be negligent and incompetent and there’s no reason you can’t call them out for it (within reason):
Schedule B concerned an email sent by Mr Forge to members of ‘C’ calling for a General Meeting. The full sentence in question reads:
‘The Directors and Firm ‘P’ will have had 3 weeks to organise the General Meeting so they have no excuses apart from their negligence and/or incompetence’.
This did not, in the Tribunal’s, view reach the threshold for discreditable behaviour. Negligence and incompetence do arise at times, and it can be appropriate to raise these.
Gosh, I hope so. It’s bad enough “scum of the Earth” has been taken off the table.
The tribunal bore in mind that the purpose of sanctions is not to punish a member, albeit they might have that effect, but to maintain the reputation of the profession, uphold proper standards, deter misconduct and protect the public. Forge’s continued conduct over a long period of time and the fact he made direct reference to his professional status were considered aggravating factors in the tribunal’s decision to kick him out.
Full document below for those who might want to clean up their language to avoid the wrath of professional bodies: