JK Rowling has said she “does not accept” the claims made in court by her former personal assistant who is accused of fraudulently using the author’s credit card for spending sprees.
The author took the unusual step of issuing the statement as Amanda Donaldson, 35, is appearing at Airdrie Sheriff Court in a civil case accused of unauthorised spending and the taking of Harry Potter merchandise to a total value of almost £24,000.
Ms Donaldson gave evidence on Tuesday describing the 53-year-old writer as sometimes “generous” but also unapproachable, adding she is “offended” by the fraud allegations.
Ms Rowling later hit back at the claims and repeated her stance that she had been left with no option but to raise the court action.
A statement issued on behalf of the author said: “JK Rowling is taking legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust.
“Ms Donaldson’s dismissal last year related to alleged abuses of her expense account and misplacement of items amounting to a significant value.
“Ms Rowling does not accept the position as stated by Amanda Donaldson in her evidence, and does not find that she has adequately explained her excessive spending on the business credit card or the missing items and cash.
“Before raising the court action, Ms Rowling and her husband gave Ms Donaldson every opportunity to explain the discrepancies in her credit card spending and the missing items and cash, but Ms Donaldson chose to deny any wrongdoing and instead to blame other members of Ms Rowling’s staff.
“During her evidence Ms Rowling explained to the court that she was left with no option but to raise the court action, in order to protect the reputation of her existing staff, and to ensure Ms Donaldson is not in the position to breach the trust of another employer.
“As this is now a matter for the sheriff to determine, it is not appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Ms Donaldson was suspended and later dismissed in 2017 over the alleged incidents.
The author is seeking damages in the civil case brought under her married name Joanne Murray, and alleges Ms Donaldson made transactions including £3,629 in retailer Molton Brown, £2,139 in card shop Paper Tiger and more than £1,800 in Starbucks and Costa coffee shops on a company credit card without authorisation.
The civil case before Sheriff Derek O’Carroll was due to continue on Thursday.
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