The E11 Business Improvement District company is more than £80k in debt and under police investigation

Public excluded from scrutiny meeting of troubled business improvement company

Public excluded from scrutiny meeting of troubled business improvement company

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A public meeting to discuss the future of a heavily indebted, publicly-funded company set up to boost businesses in Leytonstone was suddenly closed to the public and press last night.

The E11 Business Improvement District (BID) Company has fallen into almost £87,000 of debt, prompting a police investigation and questions over its future.

A large slice of the debt is owed on unpaid tax regarding BID employees' income.

The organisation, set up in 2007 to promote the interests of businesses in Leytonstone, collects a levy from businesses and has received more than £150,000 of public funding.

Councillors, including deputy leader of the council, Clyde Loakes, have been members of the company's board while financial mismanagement was taking place.

A block of Conservative councillors called in several decisions made last month for scrutiny, including the resumption of levy collection backdated to the beginning of the year and the waiving of the levy collection charge until March 2015.

At the meeting, chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, councillor Peter Herrington, said it would be inappropriate to make public a restricted document entitled Litigation and Advice.

“I’m sure it is of interest to the people outside. However, I have to state that the legal advice is to discuss it in full, not to dip our toes,” he said.

“To discuss it in full we go in to a private and confidential session.”

In requesting the meeting the Tory councillors, including group leader Matt Davis, said in December independent auditors and council officers agreed that the company would be unable to pay its debts, raising serious concerns about its financial viability.

But they claimed the cabinet arrived at the opposite conclusion last month, despite little evidence.

“No evidence is presented in the report or in the decision to suggest why officers have performed a volte face and now, given the decision, must believe that the BID will have sufficient funds to pay off its liabilities,” they said.

“The E11 BID has a record of financial mismanagement and poor record keeping, it is therefore surprising the decision was also taken to ‘waive up until end March 2015 the charge to the E11 BID company for the collection of the levy by the council’.”

“Why does it appear that we are rewarding the BID company with taxpayer’s money for their poor performance?”

Comments (8)

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8:42am Wed 9 Apr 14

NTiratsoo says...

Legal advice?

Let me see.

The team that delivered the legal advice last night, led by Mr. Fenwick, is the same team that has just lost ignominiously in the case of the Christian Kitchen (see story below).

Given that it lost largely because of an elementary set of mistakes, I wonder if its constituent members have the quite the degree of expertise that they obviously think they have.

It is noteworthy too that before the curtain came down the sage Cllr. Sullivan claimed that there was nothing in the restricted document that was not 'common knowledge'.

To mere residents such as myself, what last night's maneuverings resembled more than anything else was an attempt to protect certain Labour members from flack.

It that was indeed the case the maneuverings have already failed, because the E11 BID Co. story now has gained a momentum all of its own.
Legal advice? Let me see. The team that delivered the legal advice last night, led by Mr. Fenwick, is the same team that has just lost ignominiously in the case of the Christian Kitchen (see story below). Given that it lost largely because of an elementary set of mistakes, I wonder if its constituent members have the quite the degree of expertise that they obviously think they have. It is noteworthy too that before the curtain came down the sage Cllr. Sullivan claimed that there was nothing in the restricted document that was not 'common knowledge'. To mere residents such as myself, what last night's maneuverings resembled more than anything else was an attempt to protect certain Labour members from flack. It that was indeed the case the maneuverings have already failed, because the E11 BID Co. story now has gained a momentum all of its own. NTiratsoo
  • Score: 16

9:08am Wed 9 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

Cover up after cover up in this 'new era' of 'openness and transparency'. Except when it comes to anything to do with Labour 'rotation borough' Waltham Forest Council.
Cover up after cover up in this 'new era' of 'openness and transparency'. Except when it comes to anything to do with Labour 'rotation borough' Waltham Forest Council. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 7

11:52am Wed 9 Apr 14

mdj says...

It's doubtful whether any of this would have seen the light of day without Nick Tiratsoo's dogged investigations over a long period. All praise to him.
It needs to be highlighted that this meeting was only to discuss the very limited point of whether to continue collecting the levy: the whole seamy story needs intense, and public, investigation. A lot of our money has gone missing, and the same faces keep popping up in a strange nether world of twilit quangos, which seem to be neither publicly nor privately accountable.

To repeat: a company on which elected Councillors served was, during their periods in office as directors, failing by all elementary standards of good practice and legal compliance.

Nick's comments on the Council's legal competence is highly relevant: this is the legal team that did no due diligence into the background of the Leyton Olympia Market, seems to have cut corners on the H+S licensing of it also , that dragged Mrs Bracey to Crown Court for simply recycling a cardboard box, and that has encouraged Mr Loakes in his various attempts to bend the law to boost his career, which would be positively sinister were they not so inept.
These people are paid a lot of money by us and seem time and again to fail at their tasks.
When will their performance be investigated?
It's doubtful whether any of this would have seen the light of day without Nick Tiratsoo's dogged investigations over a long period. All praise to him. It needs to be highlighted that this meeting was only to discuss the very limited point of whether to continue collecting the levy: the whole seamy story needs intense, and public, investigation. A lot of our money has gone missing, and the same faces keep popping up in a strange nether world of twilit quangos, which seem to be neither publicly nor privately accountable. To repeat: a company on which elected Councillors served was, during their periods in office as directors, failing by all elementary standards of good practice and legal compliance. Nick's comments on the Council's legal competence is highly relevant: this is the legal team that did no due diligence into the background of the Leyton Olympia Market, seems to have cut corners on the H+S licensing of it also , that dragged Mrs Bracey to Crown Court for simply recycling a cardboard box, and that has encouraged Mr Loakes in his various attempts to bend the law to boost his career, which would be positively sinister were they not so inept. These people are paid a lot of money by us and seem time and again to fail at their tasks. When will their performance be investigated? mdj
  • Score: 13

5:14pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Garrow says...

Yet another example of breathtaking mismanagement by Robbins, Loakes and Co. it is quite difficult to obtain information on this matter, very little detail has been put on the Internet but as far as I can tell, the Council has yet again invested our money in some kind of business which has had dubious financial management, money as again gone missing and the usual suspects are involved. And again the Labour Party is desperate to keep the facts away from the general public and to protect their own.

I would love it if the misguided masses who vote for these inept individuals would suddenly wake up and just not vote for them, imagine what this borough would be like. Imagine the money we would have to spend if we weren't regularly having our pockets picked by "fingers" Loakes, if you just look back at some of the past financial scandals he has been involved in it comes to millions and I suspect there is more to come out of the woodwork yet. Does anybody know what qualifications Loakes and his mates have to run companies with budgets in the £ Millions?
Yet another example of breathtaking mismanagement by Robbins, Loakes and Co. it is quite difficult to obtain information on this matter, very little detail has been put on the Internet but as far as I can tell, the Council has yet again invested our money in some kind of business which has had dubious financial management, money as again gone missing and the usual suspects are involved. And again the Labour Party is desperate to keep the facts away from the general public and to protect their own. I would love it if the misguided masses who vote for these inept individuals would suddenly wake up and just not vote for them, imagine what this borough would be like. Imagine the money we would have to spend if we weren't regularly having our pockets picked by "fingers" Loakes, if you just look back at some of the past financial scandals he has been involved in it comes to millions and I suspect there is more to come out of the woodwork yet. Does anybody know what qualifications Loakes and his mates have to run companies with budgets in the £ Millions? Garrow
  • Score: 8

12:51pm Thu 10 Apr 14

mdj says...

'Does anybody know what qualifications Loakes and his mates have to run companies with budgets in the £ Millions?'

None, Garrow, judging by this too-little publicised fiasco:

'Waste authority scrap plans for huge waste plant (From Haringey ...
www.haringeyindepend
ent.co.uk/.../107074
19.'
'Does anybody know what qualifications Loakes and his mates have to run companies with budgets in the £ Millions?' None, Garrow, judging by this too-little publicised fiasco: 'Waste authority scrap plans for huge waste plant (From Haringey ... www.haringeyindepend ent.co.uk/.../107074 19.' mdj
  • Score: 3

10:03pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
Cover up after cover up in this 'new era' of 'openness and transparency'. Except when it comes to anything to do with Labour 'rotation borough' Waltham Forest Council.
I mean 'Rotten Borough' of course.

Loakes has no ability.

Like leaving a lunatic in charge of the asylum.
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: Cover up after cover up in this 'new era' of 'openness and transparency'. Except when it comes to anything to do with Labour 'rotation borough' Waltham Forest Council.[/p][/quote]I mean 'Rotten Borough' of course. Loakes has no ability. Like leaving a lunatic in charge of the asylum. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 1

12:35am Fri 11 Apr 14

James O'Rourke says...

A Game of Groans
www.renewwalthamfore
st.co.uk/2014/uncate
gorized/a-game-of-gr
oans-and-the-e11-bid
A Game of Groans www.renewwalthamfore st.co.uk/2014/uncate gorized/a-game-of-gr oans-and-the-e11-bid James O'Rourke
  • Score: 0

10:40am Fri 11 Apr 14

Garrow says...

I am indebted to mjd for the link to the London Waste story, but I dont know whether it's made me even more or less despondent. More because of the story itself or less because I think eventually this waste of £30 million, some of which must fall on the taxpayers of Waltham Forest will be investigated and as the story says, someone will have to ask the question.
I am indebted to mjd for the link to the London Waste story, but I dont know whether it's made me even more or less despondent. More because of the story itself or less because I think eventually this waste of £30 million, some of which must fall on the taxpayers of Waltham Forest will be investigated and as the story says, someone will have to ask the question. Garrow
  • Score: 4

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