Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Another half a million pounds...plus costs.
The council, since that decision was made, have continually wasted tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money, appealing the decision when they have had no chance of ever winning it. Today, the decision is final and Pauline Scanlon has been awarded nearly half a million pounds.
This councils ineptitude aswell as its dishonesty is now, once again, there for all to see. As a result of this even more questions have to be answered. Why were Moore and Richardson never investigated and sacked? Why were they allowed to slip out of the backdoor with glowing references from the very man who had called for Moores investigation and huge payoffs running into hundreds of thousands of pounds? The un-named council spokesman said that this was all a long time ago and a new CEO was in place now blah de blah, but if it was all so long ago then why have the council continually appealed against the decision and why were councilors still defending Moore at a FOI tribunal that I called for and which took place three weeks ago?
The fact that the council have kept appealing the decision is in itself a contradiction when the leader of the council was so outraged by it that he called for Moores investigation? Why would the leader authorise each appeal and spend huge sums of public money doing so, when he knew that Moore had behaved so badly and that the council were so wrong? Or was it that he kept on appealing until enough time had passed that a council spokesman could quite easily say "That was all a long time ago"?
But if it was all such a long time ago, why did Councilor Peter Scott, at an FOI tribunal in Newcastle three weeks ago, knowing how despicably and dishonestly Moore had behaved, describe Colin Moore an "an honest man"?
Why are this council still defending the ex -CEO when his investigation was called for twice and when he was openly found to be sharp practising, evidence changing and deliberately disingenuous? Why was he rewarded with glowing references and a huge pay off instead of no references and the sack?
But the biggest question of all is if this council are paying nearly half a million pounds to an ex emplyee who used to be in a £25,000 per year job in the council, then how much did they pay the assistant Chief Executive who was due to go to tribunal in May this year, who's case would have exposed the whole dirty truth about this council, who had called John Wilkinson and I as witnesses, but who settled out of court just the week before our film "Coatham, a common concern" was shown in parliament?
Thursday, November 05, 2009
And all Mr Dunning could say was "Everything between Redcar and Cleveland council and Persimmon is fine"?
November 03, 2009
DARTFORD, KENT; WALTHAMSTOW, FOREST GATE, E LONDON; ILFORD, SOUTH OCKENDON, ESSEX; PINNER, MIDDX.
A broker accused of helping to run a £19m sub-prime mortgage con claimed today (Tue) he was also ‘deceived’ by the set-up.Businessman Brad Fisher, 44, helped swindle millions in an elaborate scam in which construction giant Persimmon Homes played an ‘instrumental’ role, it is claimed.
A broker accused of helping to run a £19m sub-prime mortgage con claimed today (Tue) he was also ‘deceived’ by the set-up.
Businessman Brad Fisher, 44, helped swindle millions in an elaborate scam in which construction giant Persimmon Homes played an ‘instrumental’ role, it is claimed.
Alim Barry, the alleged mastermind of the scam, fled the country with most of the cash and has not been seen since.
Barry and his cousin Mohammed Barrie made huge profits when they bought an entire block of flats from Persimmon at a knock-down price before selling on the individual properties, it is alleged.
Prosecutors say the fraudsters created dozens of fake financial histories for their ‘buyers’ so their mortgage applications would be approved.
Fisher, who owns and runs mortgage broker firm The Money Superstore, or TMS, allegedly submitted vastly inflated valuations for the flats to High Street banks.
He duped the lenders into handing over far more than the properties were worth to borrowers who had no hope of repaying the money, it is said.
The crooks then pocketed the profits - estimated at £3.5m.
But Fisher denied any complicity in the illegal activity, claiming he was ‘deceived.'
Fisher had a meeting with Barry to a business deal involving mortgages for Persimmon Homes, the court heard.
Prosecutor Richard Mandel asked: ‘So is the position that your discussion with Alim Barry left you with the impression that you would be dealing with clients who were buying property from Persimmon Homes?’
‘That was the impression I was given,’ Fisher replied.
‘I now know that it was not the position.’
The court has heard Alim Barry’s shell company Atrex bought the 84 flats from Persimmon for £15.25m and sold them for £18.75m - a profit of £3.5m.
Barry then employed his cousin to recruit ‘dupes’ from within the Sierra Leonean community to act as mortgage applicants for the flats in Thamesmead, South East London.
It is claimed he and others promised the ‘buyers’ that they could get a luxury flat without paying any deposit, presenting them with detailed prospectuses to persuade them to sign up.
One applicant was even recruited as he queued for groceries in the supermarket, it is said.25 of these ‘dupes’ were sent to Fisher to fill in bogus mortgage applications, it is claimed.
Mr Mandel asked: ‘As far as the impression you received was the impression you were meant to be receiving, you were deceived?’ Fisher answered: ‘That’s correct.’
All mortgage payments for the flats were made by Barry and members of his family, the jury was told. ‘He never told me that,' said Fisher.
‘If I discovered he deceived me about that I would have notified the appropriate authorities and stopped working with him.’
The prosecutor said: ‘In fact you knew exactly what the picture was, didn’t you? All along?’ ‘No, I didn’t. No’, the broker denied.‘I never knew the real seller was Alim Barry.’
Fisher never knew the claims he submitted were false, he told the jury.
He said: ‘I have never willingly or knowingly submitted any false documents or any false income references to any lender at any time.’
Shaun Hammond, defending, asked: ‘Have you ever knowingly submitted anything false to a lender?’
Fisher replied: ‘Never in my entire professional career have I knowingly or willingly provided any false documents to any lender or professional institution.
‘I never had any flats repossessed or houses repossessed from any customers or any blemishes against me from the FSA or any complaints or anything.’
Accountant Stuart Joseph, 43, has admitted inventing financial references for fraudulent mortgage applicants, the court heard.
But Fisher again denied knowing the financial references were false.
Alongside Fisher in the dock are Mohammed, 39, and Muctaru Barrie, 29, mortgage valuers Brad Fisher, 44, George Sourou, 43, and Sofiya Ahmed, 28, accountant Dean Dairo, 48, and solicitor Okwuchukwu Izuchukwu.
Mr Mandel told the court that staff at Persimmon were ‘instrumental’ in creating inflated valuations for the flats so that mortgage lenders would part with more cash.
Mohammed Barrie, of (78) Pinewood Ave, Dartford, Kent; Izuchukwu, of (139) Earlham Grove, Forest Gate, East London; Ahmed, of (153) Howard Road, Walthamstow, East London; Dairo, of (20) Eastern Ave, South Ockendon, Essex; Fisher, of (33) Tiptree Crescent, Ilford, Essex; and Sourou, of (21) The Crescent, Ilford, Essex deny conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders.
Muctaru Barrie, also of (78) Pinewood Place, Mohammed Barrie and Izuchukwu deny conspiracy to launder criminal property.
Joseph, of (4) Furham Field, Pinner, Middlesex, has admitted seven specimen charges of false accounting.
The trial continues
Monday, November 02, 2009
It's not just us calling for their investigation....
In 2006/2007, the Labour MP and the the Labour group were saying that the Coatham planning process was and I quote "tainted" and that it would "come back to haunt them". The Labour group and the Labour MP both said that the old ruling LibDem/ Conservative coalition should have it called in, the MP even emailed me and said that she was going to contact G.O.N.E to get it called in, yet no investigation or public inquiry ever took place? The Labour leader then 'blamed' the Conservatives in the letters page of the Gazette, for having signed the Development agreement! What on earth would you do that for if the scheme was so great and everything was above board?
Then we had an independent councillor calling for an investigation over the private road adoption scheme because the council paid Mcalpines £1,300,000 for work to be done on private roads that cost less than £200,000 to complete.No investigation ever took place.
Then we had the LibDems calling for an investigation into the council investing millions of pounds in Icelandic banks against advice and being one of only seven councils in the country to be shamed nationally and branded as being negligent by the Audit Commission.No investigation ever took place.
Then we had the Labour leader calling twice for the investigation into the ex-CEO for his shameful behaviour. No investigations ever took place, he was never even reprimanded infact, rather than investigate him, they gave him a massive £369,000 enhanced pay deal, glowing reference in the press and let him out the back door on a chronic illness ticket.
This council have publicly called for their own investigation in one way or another on several occasions, thats how bad things are here, yet not once has anyone done anything about any of it.
And on top of this, not only have the Serious Fraud Office stated in a letter that they should be investigated by the police possibly assisted by the CPS, they stated publicly that the police and the Audit Commission etc had investigated claims of corruption within the council when an FOI request showed that no such investigations had ever taken place!
You just couldnt make it up could you?
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Another lame reply from a lame leader of a dishonest council...
Is this the kind of behaviour that you would expect from the leader of a Local Authority especially when he has been shown time and time again to have been in charge of a council that basically, according to the SFO, should be investigated by the Police.
Here is his latest response with my reply to him...
Totally sums you up, below Chris, totally untrustworthy.
All you want to do is discredit people.
? Can you sum Chris McGlade in one word = untrustworthy.
You call for your ex CEO's investigation twice but then let him leave the council on the grounds of ill health, with over £360,000 of public money, without so much as a question asked, for him to turn up working for Cumbria council just months later?
You paint a false image to the public in the press about the village green process being over when in reality, you were aware all along that the process was not over because the council itself had notified solicitors that they intended to take the issue to Judicial Review themselves?
You don't do anything about the fact that your ex CEO and finance officer surpress an audit report in order to lie about the councils star rating?
You fail to do anything about the fact that the ex CEO was pushing the inclusion of a 5GP surgery as part of the Coatham Scheme whilst his wife was pushing it as a board member of the PCT and that there was a massive conflict of interests but you could only bring yourself to describe it as naughty?
You spend millions of pounds of public money assisting the efforts of a private developer who just so happens to have been found as being instrumental in a multi million pound mortgage fraud in a british crown court?
You support an MP who was behaved shockingly in the expenses scandal and who persuaded members of the public to stand for groups in elections other than the Labour group against Labour candidates?
You allow council officers to bring the council down into disrepute in tribunal after tribunal and yet take no action whatsoever infact you have another cabinet member defend them in the press when the officer should have been sacked.
And you pledge to take the Coatham scheme back to the drawing board, brand the planning process tainted and announce in the press that the consultation has been inadequate before the local elections but then after the election when you have secured power again, you give the scheme cross party backing, tell people in the press that the scheme is excellent, announce in the press that the councils consultation shows that the silent majority are in favour of the scheme and then spend tens of thousands of pounds defending the same planning process at Judicial Review that you had described as tainted and which you said in the press, after the council had been found to have been unlawful, that you had known all along to be unlawful and you call me untrustworthy George for letting people know the truth about how the leader of a local authority fails to respond to direct questions?
If I were you George I'd examine all the things that you have allowed the guilty in the council to get away with and I'd examine your own untrustworthy actions before you start levelling that accusation at anyone. If I were you George, I'd do the right thing and resign because to be perfectly honest you are an absolute disgrace and should have been sacked long ago because your record as leader shows that not only are you dishonest, you have no control of the council whatsoever.
The officers are running rings round you mate, they did it to your predecessors. They are laughing at you all and it is the public who are suffering because of it.
I'll tell you what George, you may think that I'm untrustworthy for posting your replies on this site, but as long as you continue to let these abuses go unchecked and uninvestigated, whilst you allow the guilty to get away with those abuses, then I'll continue to shed light on the actions of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and their ineptitude and deceit and their wasting of public money every step of the way...
Answers on a postcard...
"Mr Mandel told the court that staff at Persimmon were ‘instrumental’ in creating inflated valuations for the flats so that mortgage lenders would part with more cash".
I wonder what Persimmon Homes did to persuade Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council pay Persimmons' legal fees and consultancy fees, something that isn't the councils responsibility, to the tune of approximately £143,000? I wonder what they did to persuade the council to erect a fence around the Coatham Enclosure on their behalf to the tune, at the last count of £48,000 and I wonder what they did to persuade the council to become financial liable for a multi million pound sea defence, that is Persimmons' sole responsibility if they want to build houses on a zone 3 high flood risk area?
What have Persimmon done or said to our council, for the council 'to part' with millions of pounds of public cash on behalf of Persimmon homes? Are local authorities supposed to take on massive financial burdens to the tax payer, that are not their responsibility, and which benefit a developer massively?
Answers on a post card please.
Last night at four minutes past nine...
Seems that R&CBC's dealings with Persimmon Homes are fine. District Auditor paid a visit last week on various issues. Nothing to say on Persimmons Chris. Appears the Development agreement signed under the Coalition is fine also.We hope to carry on developing the site after the successful boating lakeand Mo mosaic opening last week.
It is obvious that the council, perhaps even George himself, monitors this site as the timing of his response following the posting that I made yesterday, was absolutely perfect. I sent this response at around midnight...
I would have got back to you earlier but I havent been at the computer because I've been engrossed in the X Factor!
However, it's strange that I make a posting on my blog about a lack of a response from you regarding Persimmon being involved in a multi million pound fraud in Thamesmead and then later that evening you send me a reply? With timing like that, you should be a comedian!
A few things though, you say everything is fine with Persimmon because the District Auditor didn't mention them, but there again, the District Auditor didn't mention the final financial audit report that Moore and Richardson surpressed and then, after colluding with someone within the Audit Commission, replaced with another 'final' report that was more to Mr Moores and Mr Richardsons liking, so I wouldn't put any weight on Persimmon not being mentioned by the Auditor. But that wasn't what I asked, or for that matter, brought to your attention.
What I brought to your attention was that it has been established in a British Crown Court, that your preferred developer for the Coatham Scheme, have been found to have been instrumental in a multi million pound mortgage fraud and is this the kind of company that Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council should be dealing with? Do you think that it is right that as Mark Hannon said in the paper just this week, three million pounds of public money should have been spent aiding Persimmon in trying to start this scheme, when they have been involved in fraudulent activity with more public money being spent on things that are Persimmons' sole responsibility, to come?
Finally George, you state that the Development Agreement is fine. It may be legal George, we were informed at the JR or at the appeal stage that the Development Agreement was legal, but the legality of the Development Agreement is also not the issue here.
If the council had nothing to hide or be ashamed about, then why has the council done all that it can to stop that development agreement being shown to anyone? The council even resisted it being shown to a high court. I have a copy of a Gazette Letters page from a year or so ago, where you, in response to Councilor Valerie Halton, blamed the signing of the Coatham Development on the coalition that she was a part of when you said that it was the old Coalition and not the new Labour group who had signed the Coatham Development Agreement.Why would you apportion the blame for signing that Agreement if was something to be so proud of?
If it doesn't contain anything that won't cause concern to ordinary members of the public, then as with the barristers opinion, just show it. Don't hide behind commercial sensitivity or anything like that, disclose it to the public afterall, it's their money that is being spent. How can commercial sensitivity come into play now? I can understand you not showing anyone the Development Agreement because of commercial sensitivity when the scheme was in its early stages but not now, a few months after you had stated publicly that you were going to start work in July or August.
The councils commercial sensitivity argument doesn't hold any water anymore.
I'll tell you what, as you know I'm at Tribunal next week over the issue of the councils responses to me under the FOI act regarding the council being liable for the sea defence as part of the Coatham Scheme, something that is Persimmons' sole responsibility.
To save a whole lot of time and expense I am asking you now officially, as leader of the council George, to order the disclosure of the Coatham Development Agreement to the Tribunal and myself as I am acting on my own behalf, and lets see exactly what the council have committed public money to?
You claim to be open and transparent, well put that into practise and disclose that document to the tribunal and to me at the oral hearing next week.
I look forward to your response,
I thought, seeing as how the council are supposed to have adopted a policy of openness and transparency, that I would have had a detailed response but this morning, instead, I received this...
You would say that Chris, never mind.
So I sent this reply...
Your email was hardly the response that I was expecting? I mean, you said absolutely nothing about Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council funding, and being involved with, a developer that has been shown in a British Crown Court to have been instrumental in a major, multi million pound fraud, you said absolutely nothing about the fact that it has been shown that your ex-CEO and Finance officer surpressed a final financial audit report that showed the council weren't a four star authority and then replaced it, with the assistance of someone in the Audit Commission, with another 'final' report that showed the council were a four star authority and you made no mention whatsoever of disclosing the Coatham Development Agreement to the forthcoming tribunal and myself in the interests of transparency and openness, let alone acknowledge my official request that you do so.
I'll make sure that when the newsletter goes out to the whole of Redcar, highlighting the Councils association with and funding of, a developer who has been 'instumental' in such a massive fraud, that your glib response to such serious, documented issues, is known.
It seems that this councils adopted policy of transparency and openness only applies to the things that want to be open and transparent about and they only want to comment on the things that they can claim some credit for. I've just been watching the politics show and there was a feature on council magazines being used to only put across what they want the public to know, not what is actually happening and that behaving in this manner is actually against the rules. I immediately cast my mind back to the time that the council were found guilty in a high court of having an unlawful Coatham planning meeting, of being found negligent by the audit commission for investing money in Icelandic banks against advice, of being found guilty of maladministration twice within six months and how in all of these cases not one word was mentioned in their council magazine?
I then remembered how both George Dunning and Mark Hannon had both made out in the press in early 2008, that the Coatham Village green issue was over and that we were beaten when in truth, the council had actually informed opposition solicitors that it was the councils intention to apply for an expedited rolled up hearing, something that the campaigners wanted themselves, before the press release went out. Dunning and Hannon were quite happy to paint a picture that suited them and they did not tell the truth to the people of this area in the press.
This downright failure to answer the questions and tell the truth is symptomatic in politics in this country and it was never more on display than in Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
They are an absolute disgrace and I will make sure that the public of this area know that this council have, and still are, funding a developer who have been found to have been 'instrumental' in a multi million pound mortgage fraud in an ongoing case in a British Crown Court, no matter how much Mr Dunning and his band of merry men try to evade the issue.