A ROGUE landlord who was struck off the council’s register for threatening tenants has been ordered to pay more victims almost £2500 in compensation.
Mark Fortune, 47, admitted two charges of threatening people with violence, one of assault, four of fraud, two charges of sending threatening emails and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Amongst his victims were a solicitor at a city-based legal firm and the rector of one of the Capital’s leading private schools.
Fortune, who was brought back to Scotland from France in April on a European Arrest Warrant to face the charges, was removed from the city council’s Landlords’ Register in 2013 after being fined £650 for threatening tenants of a property in Lonsdale Terrace over a bill for minor repairs.
Sheriff Kenneth McGowan was told on Tuesday that Fortune made a number of calls to the solicitor at HBJ Gateley Wareing, a firm which was chasing him for council tax arrears.
In one chilling call, he stated it was wrong to mess around with him, and said: “You are a beast and everyone in your office is going to know that.”
The calls to the rector of Edinburgh Academy came after the school terminated Fortune’s son’s education there.
Police were present during one of Fortune’s calls, in which he said: “You and I will be having very difficult conversations, one of which you don’t want to be having. Things will escalate unbelievably.
“I will take whatever action I see fit. I hold you personally responsible. I’ll appear at your door. Long-term, lifelong repercussions.”
The court also heard that Fortune held a tenant’s hand on a radiator when he complained about the lack of heating in his bedroom. The man said the radiator was hot at the bottom, but cold elsewhere. Fortune replied: “I don’t care. It’s working, Now pay the rent.”
The victims of the email threats were members of staff at firms dealing with Fortune’s sequestration.
One of the messages stated: “One piece of advice, stop trying to make an a*** of me and trying to have a laugh at me thinking you are smart. Keep it up and I’ll show you how smart you are and please believe me you don’t want to go there. I won’t remind you again, the next time actions will speak louder.”
The Fiscal told the court that a member of staff was so scared that he installed CCTV at his home.
The attempt to pervert the course of justice came after a row over a deposit.
Defence solicitor Tom Bannigan told Sheriff McGowan that his client had been under tremendous stress. “He was upset and angry,” he said.
Fortune, described in court as a prisoner at Saughton, was ordered to perform 250 hours of unpaid work in 18 months and to pay compensation of £2425 to his victims. The offences occurred between February 2011 and April 2016.