Eric Miller (businessman)

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Sir Eric Merton Miller (28 September 1926[1] – 22 September 1977) was an English businessman, who committed suicide while under investigation for fraud.[2]

Early life[edit]

Miller was brought up in the Jewish community in the East End of London and left school at the age of 16 to work in an estate agency. Shortly thereafter, he was spotted as a business talent by George Farrow who ran a small property company called Peachey. Farrow recruited Miller to work for him, and after Farrow's retirement, Miller became Chairman of Peachey.[2]

Property dealings[edit]

Under Miller's guidance, Peachey Property Corporation took over many other companies and became the predominant freeholder for high-end leasehold properties in London. In the early 1960s, a sudden change in policy led Peachey to sell off some of the residential property in an attempt to become a major player in the commercial property field (then undergoing a boom). This attempt was not particularly successful. Miller was the developer of the Churchill Hotel in Portman Square for the Loews US Corporation.[2]

Political activity[edit]

Miller's father had been a Labour Party councillor and he also supported the party. In the early 1970s, Eric Miller began contributing to the running of Harold Wilson's private office and became a close personal supporter. He was appointed to the board of Labour Party Properties and served as Treasurer of the Socialist International. He was also a long serving director of Fulham F.C.[2]

Investigations[edit]

Miller received a knighthood in Wilson's retirement Honours list in 1976 (the controversial 'Lavender List'). However, rumours were already growing that the financial dealings of his companies had not been legitimate, and his inclusion in the list was criticised. Investigations uncovered the siphoning off of large sums from the Peachey Property Corporation, and Miller was forced from the chairmanship and eventually off the Peachey board entirely in early 1977. The Fraud squad and Department of Trade launched investigations, and Miller was served with four writs seeking restitution of funds he had allegedly taken.[3]

Personal life and death[edit]

Miller was twice married,[2] first to Leonore E. Frankel in 1950. The married ended in divorce. He married secondly to Myra Cohen in 1957.[3][4]

Miller died by suicide in September 1977, shooting himself in the head on the Jewish Day of Atonement.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916–2007
  2. ^ a b c d e "Obituary: Sir Eric Miller – Former Chairman of Peachy". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 23 September 1977. p. 15.
  3. ^ a b "Sir Eric Miller, British Realtor Who Was Target of Fund Inquiries". The New York Times. 23 September 1977. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  4. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916–2005
  5. ^ "Verdict of Suicide on Sir Eric Miller". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 6 October 1977. p. 4.