Wednesday, 3 November 2010

"I Knew Nothing" Says JoCo

Funny isn't it? You send email after email and you are ignored. Write some stuff on a sweary blog that's read by a few hundred people and suddenly you get a response.

I've now had a reply from NCC Monitoring Officer Glen O'Connell including the Standards Committee's Assessment Sub-Committee's deliberations on my complaint about JoCo's conduct during the Radford Unity Complex fiasco.

Essentially I complained that JoCo appeared to have misled the call-in sub-committee over the amount that RUC was to be sold for. The minutes record him claiming it would fetch £320k whereas Nottingham Studios had already been offered it for £150k.

And yet, the Standards Committee said -

"4) ...that the Portfolio Holder Decision and supporting documentation had been prepared by professional officers and the Subject Councillor was entitled to rely on their content when taking the Decision and when participating in the Call-In Sub-Committee meeting on 4 March 2010;

(5) that there was no evidence before the Sub-Committee to suggest that the Subject Councillor was aware of Property Plus negotiations at the time of the Call-In Sub-Committee meeting on 4 March 2010..."

In other words he didn't know.

Now, what we need to remember here is that this is an assessment sub-committee. Its role is to decide whether there is a case to investigate. It's totally disingenuous to state at this stage that there is 'no evidence' that he was aware of 'negotiations'. That's what you do investigations for, to see if there is evidence.

And yet there was evidence that JoCo was quite involved in the matter. The Post quotes Nottingham Studio's agent telling NCC in an email -

"My understanding is that the leader is very keen to see this sale go through."

Now that's not proof that he knew every in-and-out of what was happening but it does suggest that he was maintaining a close interest. There are other potential explanations too but then, in order to discover which explanation is the correct one you carry out an investigation.

The Assessment sub-committee is effectively expecting me to prove the case before it will even agree to investigate. That is a perverse outcome. I have the right to request a review of the decision and I intend to do so but first I am going to see if I can get hold of any more evidence. I have one or two lines of inquiry but if anybody can help with this please email me via the link in the blog profile.

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