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Sadiq Khan

Bonkers Blog January 2016

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Craske saved

27 January (Part 3) - How the other half spends

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.

Ideally the Maxine Fothergill situation should be drip fed to maximise the suspense but time pressures make that difficult. I am behind with everything and not yet answered three letters from old school and work friends received over Christmas. They will be thinking I have snuffed it.

So, playing catch up, here’s a second taster of the sort of life led by our poor councillors, the people crying crocodile tears over having to throttle the life out of the borough.

The box loads of Fothergill material is quite hard to follow even for those intimately involved. Tens of thousands of pounds get shifted around and I cannot always see to what use the money was put. This is the biggest cheque I have come across so far - from a rather poor photocopy supplied by the Bexleyheath branch of Barclays.
It’s the Management Committee at Mariners Walk in Erith sending off some money to be spent on maintenance to their then Managing Agent, Amax Estates and Property Services owned by Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill.

The tenants claim that they didn’t see much for their money and reported it to the police who have done nothing about it, allegedly because Kent police, like its counterparts in Bexleyheath, would rather believe a councillor than an ordinary member of the public.

Other things in the box of goodies is correspondence suggesting that MF has at times been short of cash with dozens of houses under mortgage but somehow she manages to extend her Gravesend property massively at much the same time. It puzzles me.

Accounting for everything is difficult because, according to the correspondence, burglars broke in and nicked all the accounts books. If Maxine is not cooperating with the truth seekers, it’s the same technique of which Bexley Council is the master. Why are books and records never opened up?

In this case one is left to speculate where the money went. It may be innocent but nobody I have spoken to thinks so.

I think the current Directors of Mariners Walk are right. Get this lot to the police ASAP and make them look at it properly. It’s too complex for a layman. I’ll let Mick Barnbrook take that on and I’ll go back to hunting the 94 year old deaf lady who likely fell foul of Bexley Council and Maxine and the persuasive limo rides.

Surely there must be an honest Conservative councillor somewhere? Is every last one of them intent on hiding the facts for fear of incriminating themselves while gently slapping Maxine’s wrist?

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