Rogue landlord warned tenants they could be shot

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Mark Fortune threatened his tenants

A MILLIONAIRE landlord warned tenants they could be shot after they asked him to pay £160 for repairs.

Ferrari-driving Mark Fortune told the complaining tenants that three of his friends had just been jailed for 12 years for a shooting.

Fortune admitted threatening them with violence and committing a breach of the peace at a flat in Edinburgh’s Lonsdale Terrace on September 6 last year.

But an accusation that the 42-year-old pretended to be a court official and a solicitor and called tenants to stop them giving evidence  was dropped.

Fiscal depute Robert Freeland told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that two tenants paid for repairs to a shower and a broken lock at the property.

They tried to consult with Fortune about the repair work but went ahead and fixed the damage by themselves, said the fiscal.

Fortune then arrived at the house, but could not get in because the locks were changed, the fiscal said.

And when his two tenants let him into the flat, he became angry.

“An argument ensued between Fortune and the two. They asked him about reimbursing the money for the repairs, which was £160. At this point Fortune began to shout and swear,” said Mr Freeland.

He swore and told them to shut their mouth, the fiscal said, and asked them if they had “read the newspapers lately”.

He then turned to one of the tenants and threatened to kick him, the fiscal added. “On being asked to calm down he continued by saying ‘You go and find out who my friends are okay? Three of them have just been locked up for shooting somebody,” said Mr Freeland.

He then left, the fiscal said.

The two concerned residents then called the police, the fiscal said.

Defence agent Murray Robertson said Fortune admitted his comments would have caused alarm to his tenants. He said Fortune was having problems with both tenants who were later “lawfully” evicted because of an outstanding debt of £999.

Mr Robertson said Fortune felt “aggrieved” they were asking for cash when they owed him rent.

The defence agent told Sheriff Derrick McIntyre that his threats were just “bluff and bluster”.

The court had earlier heard details of a separate allegation of making threats to tenants.

Fortune went on trial accused of calling up witnesses and pretending to be a solicitor in a bid to stop them giving evidence in a separate case, which was due to call in October and December last year, the court heard.

It was claimed he told seven witnesses he was a court official to try and pervert the course of justice during the telephone calls.

He was trying to prevent them from going to the court hearings, where he was set to face charges of operating an unlicensed house of multiple occupation (HMO), it was claimed.

The 42-year-old was alleged to have told the witnesses the trial against him was adjourned and to have threatened them during the calls.

And it was claimed he intimidated them to prevent them from coming to court to give evidence.

However, after the evidence of one witness was heard, the charges were dropped.

Sheriff McIntyre ordered Fortune to pay a £650 fine for the single breach of the peace charge he admitted.

Fortune was previously banned from renting out four properties in Edinburgh amid allegations he verbally abused and threatened city council officials and tenants.

Councillors ruled Fortune was unfit to hold a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence for properties in the Marchmont, Tollcross, and Morningside areas of the city.

He is thought to have 39 properties across Scotland.

Earlier this year he was fined £1000 for operating a house of multiple occupation without a licence.

Fortune, of Essex Brae, Edinburgh, was found guilty after trial at the city’s Sheriff Court of allowing five people to live in a flat in Gillespie Crescent.

The flat was visited by council officials on February 9 last year. Enforcement officers from the houses of multiple occupation section said there was no licence for the premises. Mr Fortune produced a letter from the council, dated February 11, acknowledging receipt of an application from him for a licence. He said he had sent it days before the visit.

Sheriff Frank Crowe said he was satisfied that the house was in multiple occupation for some time before the application was lodged, adding: “I think this was more than an oversight”.

Fortune faced claims last year that he had been caught on camera parking his Ferrari using a disabled blue badge outside the Crown Office in Edinburgh.

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