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Sadiq Khan

Bonkers Blog August 2016

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Craske saved

12 August - Another collection of oddments

The Crown v Councillor Cheryl Bacon
It’s a year since the police presented their case against Councillor Cheryl Bacon and her friends for lying on a massive scale while in Public Office and the Crown Prosecution Service has been sitting on the file ever since. Mick Barnbrook made enquiries three weeks ago as a result of which he has been told that everyone there is on leave until the second week in September.

You’d think if the CPS thought there was no case to answer they’d have said so ages ago. Maybe that is not so easy when the evidence stacked against Bacon and Co. is so very strong.

Index to related blogs and documents.


Bexley Council sticks by its decision that Councillor Maxine Fothergill brought it into disrepute

This blog is one of several relating to Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill and linked from the relevant Index page. Together they cover five different subjects all related in some way to Ms. Fothergill.

• Some cover her Code of Conduct Committee hearing which resulted in sanctions against Councillor Fothergill. It was alleged that she used her position as Councillor to obtain a financial advantage. viz. that she bought a bungalow from a vulnerable Bexley resident at an advantageous price.
No evidence that Ms. Fothergill paid less than the market price ever came to light and the alleged victim did not make the written complaint necessary to cause a Code of Conduct hearing. When Bexley Council was pressed to provide evidence it could only point to a document written by a Member of its own Code of Conduct Committee, Judge and Jury.
The probability is that the Leader of Bexley Council was unwilling to forgive the fact that Maxine Fothergill had brought down the Leader’s preferred election candidate by reporting him to the police for more than one theft. The sanctions appeared to be nothing but retribution. The Leader of Bexley Council is renowned for her ruthless retribution.
The police issued a caution.
• Others show how she was alleged to have conducted her business affairs in a way that some of her associates considered ethically dubious and have almost no link to Bexley Council.
• Councillor Maxine Fothergill fought Sevenoaks Council over an unauthorised house extension and lost. There is again no Bexley Council link apart from it becoming clear that her main residence is not in the borough
• When a resident requested a Judicial Review of Bexley Council’s refusal to state that it would always comply with the law they managed to convince a barrister that he was taking issue with them over the entirely unconnected issue of the verdict given by the Code of Conduct Committee Committee in the Maxine Fothergill case.
Nothing could be further from the truth and there is documentary evidence to that effect that Bexley Council lied to their barrister.
Nevertheless the barrister persuaded a judge to refuse to hear the Judical Review and Bexley Council, dishonest to the last, billed the resident the cost of hiring their tame barrister.
• Councillor Fothergill was sued for libel and lost.

Nobody knows exactly what Councillor Maxine Fothergill is supposed to have done to incur the wrath of Bexley Council. It must be something to do with her property business but the complainant won’t say what. In fact the complainant didn’t even make a complaint, not a written one anyway and that is what the law requires. Insiders report that the complaint on which the Code of Conduct Committee acted was written by a pseudo Council Officer, viz. one of the so called Independent Persons. The Independent Person is a member of the Code of Conduct Committee. If the usually reliable informant is correct it is a clear case of Judge and Jury.
Verdict
In the absence of any public information about what Councillor Fothergill is supposed to have done, the only possibility of damaging Bexley Council’s reputation comes from the Council itself. It is not too unreasonable to assume that Councillor Fothergill’s misdemeanour, if indeed there was one, was minor in the extreme and her ‘friends’ were exacting some sort of revenge. If in doubt always assume that Bexley Council is crooked.

Index to related blogs.

Houses in Multiple Occupation
Fresh from his skirting around the truth in this week’s News Shopper, Cabinet Member Brad Smith has decided on licensing all HMOs and issued a Press Release. If you are looking for early relief from the worst sort of HMOs, forget it. If it happens it will be more than a year away.
HMO

Bexley has not got a fly tipping problem - the Council says so
RubbishCabinet Member Don Massey is proud of Bexley when showing people around. Does he ever get around Bexley any more or is he familiar only with the A2 to Rochester?

The pile of rubbish shown here does not exist as far as Bexley Council is concerned, it’s on private property so it won’t be included in the stats.


The unqualified man
Mr. Barnbrook has challenged Bexley Council about their refusal to say what qualifications their Head of Legal, Akin Alabi might have which the professional bodies don’t know about. His letter put forward various scenarios…


A. He has obtained his appointment as Head of Legal Services of Bexley Council by means of forged documentation.
B. He has orally misrepresented himself to the Council’s Appointments Committee as being either a qualified solicitor or a qualified barrister, when that is not the case.
C. He has been appointed as Head of Legal Services in a different name from the one he used to obtain his professional qualification as a solicitor or barrister.
D. The Council is knowingly and deliberately refusing to supply the information I have requested in the knowledge that it might implicate members of the Appointments Committee in a Criminal Conspiracy or Misconduct in Public Office.

If he had any qualifications they would be freely available from either the Law Society or the Bar Council but neither know him.


Bexley Council once again failed to come to Alabi’s defence and is prepared only to say “I am entirely satisfied that Mr. Alabi is appropriately qualified and experienced and meets the requirements of the role but is entitled to have his personal information protected”. That statement comes from Director of Finance Alison Griffin proving that when it comes to a cover up all the senior officers will swiftly go into mutual self preservation mode.

MoonieBexley Council’s job description for their Head of Legal says that being either a qualified Solicitor or Barrister is an essential requirement of the job.

The apology for a Chief Executive Gill Steward has also lost no time in protecting Mr. Alabi. She has decreed that Mr. John Watson who was the first to discover that Mr. Alabi’s qualifications, whatever they may be, did not appear to meet Bexley Council’s minimum requirement cannot email his concerns to the Council in future. “I am arranging for your e mail address and any other e mails addresses (sic) that you might create to be blocked.”

Using the ‘vexatious’ rules is what Bexley Council always does when it has lost the argument.

Gill Steward is most definitely a loser.


Facebook
RidgewayI have yet to discover the attraction of Facebook but there can be little doubt that it is a very popular social media platform. Those who use it to follow the local scene may be interested to learn that there is now a group which celebrates Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer, or more accurately the public footpath that sits astride it.

The Ridgeway runs from the Crossness pumping station to Plumstead. The group follows in the footsteps of The Greenway which is its twin on the other side of the River.


It could have been 1001
Bexley Council is bragging that there are now 1,000 Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators in the borough. I wonder how accurate the statistics are. My road is plastered with Neighbourhood Watch signs and has been for ten or fifteen years, but there has never been an active watch here.

Last year I was persuaded to take on the role - as if there wasn’t enough to do already - but I was rejected when it was discovered I ran Bexley is Bonkers.

 

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