Sir William Francis spent more than 20 years at Tarmac where he became vice chairman and chief operating officer before leaving in 1976.
He later became an executive director at Trafalgar House and was president of the ICE between 1987 and 1988.
The writ claims he agreed to work as a consultant for Ardmore in summer 2002.
Papers filed at the Technology & Construction Court in London reveal Sir William is claiming Ardmore agreed to pay “20% of the amount of any grants approved through the claimant’s efforts in respect of the proposed development”.
Sir William claims he is owed the cash after Ardmore decided to put on hold development of the site in Wednesfield back in 2003 but then agreed in April 2005 that Sir William’s remuneration “would be varied from 20% of any grants approved to 20% of the increase in value of the site over the defendant’s original purchase price up to the second quarter of 2005”.
He claims this amounted to £460,000 which was reduced in October 2005 after Ardmore paid him £50,000 via three post-dated cheques.
Since then, the writ adds, the “defendant has failed and/or refused to pay any sums”. Sir William is also claiming £80,500 in VAT.
Ardmore totally rejects Sir William’s claim. A source close to the company said: “They will fight this because they don’t think there’s any substance in the claim at all.
“This man is nearly 85 now and his claim involves a bit of land in the black country Ardmore was planning to develop.
“Sir William knew the local development agency and there was talk of Ardmore getting some grants from them but the deal didn’t stack up and everything petered out.
“Why he’s suddenly claiming for something now is a bit of a mystery.”