Before I start some breaking news - I have been charged with an alleged criminal offence ie that I called the Chief Executive of bent Sandwell Council a "c*cksucker". I am due to appear before Dudley Magistrates at 10.00 am of 11th September. I will be entering a "not guilty" plea. Watch this space....
In my blog two days ago about the way Sandwell Council (with the support of West Midlands Police) rigged the ballot to form a "Business Improvement District" (BIDs)* I mentioned the mysterious involvement of a Mr Mike Maynard. Yesterday he broke cover AND let the cat out of the bag!
I mentioned how undemocratic BIDs are. Mr Maynard classes himself as a "publicist" but says he is NOT a trader/business in the Wednesbury BID area. Nevertheless he somehow managed to find his way onto the "steering group". It is not explained, yet, how this came about. Mr Maynard does not state his qualifications as "a publicist".
Mr Maynard's only point of objection so far is that I got the mileage wrong between Wednesbury and the proposed 19ha shopping centre at Lion Farm Oldbury (which is being forced through by Sandwell Council's joke "Cabinet" which, unbelievably, contains the Liar** Cllr Elain Costigan). Big deal. The fact remains that two huge new shopping centres (very close to Merry Hill) will play havoc with retail in all six towns of Sandwell. He cannot counter the truth ie that the Secretary of State in the Ministry Of Housing, Communities and Local Government declared the rigged ballot void for "material irregularity" and added:
"it is likely that voting in the BID ballot has been affected to a significant extent by contravention of any requirement of the Regulations."
Yes folks, Jan Britton's bent staff rigged the ballot though, as ever, he presumably "knew nothing" about it "lol".
Our friend Maynard has also set himself up as a spokesperson for West Midlands Police publicly stating that their role was "simply advisory". Leaving aside that everything could be said to be "advisory" before the approval of the BID anyway this is "simply" not true. Not only did WMP attack me for campaigning against the BID based on a false and malicious statement from Costigan even though this was not a criminal offence anyway (all on tape and witnessed by a Solicitor) but one Sgt K. Jones was on the steering committee (at least on a list presented to the Government by SMBC employee Gerry Ritchie - though see below). Further, once the rigged ballot delivered the desired result, Inspector Richard Phillips was immediately "elected" to the BID Board!
Having said that there is now a serious question whether Gerry Ritchie lied to the Government. It was alleged that the steering committee meetings were stuffed with Sandwell Councillors plus cronies and SMBC staff eg as per this photo of a meeting which I understand is all SMBC people apart from friend Maynard:
Yet Ritchie included in the evidence of bent Sandwell Council to the Secretary of State that Cllrs Olwen Jones and Bob Lloyd were on the steering committee. Either he was lying in a quasi-judicial process or the two Councillors are since they both put IN WRITING:
Cllr Olwen Jones: "To my knowledge I have never been asked to be a member of the steering group and I have never attended this group, any suggestion that I have is wrong."
Cllr Bob Lloyd: "I have not been part of the steering group at any time."
We are used to no action being taken against rogue members of Jan Britton's bent paid service but this major discrepancy requires immediate investigation! It would be very odd if Jan's staff were lying about Councillors - particularly ones his political master has been trying to shaft.
In my blog of two days ago - based on the hard work done by local community activist Darryl Magher - I pointed out that Britton's bent staff were trying to have their cake and eat it ie by denying the Facebook Group was anything to do with the corrupt Council but then claiming that various notices etc were put up on the Facebook pages (by Maynard).
This is what SMBC said in evidence - in a quasi-judicial process - to the Government:
Strange therefore that Mr Maynard should use this logo on both "his" Facebook and Twitter BID accounts:
Compare and contrast this with, er, the official artwork produced by Sandwell Council on the much-derided BIB business plan....
As above, however, Maynard let the truth slip out yesterday in this exchange where he admitted SMBC had asked him to set up the social media accounts even though THEY were the official promoter:
"I was asked by the council"! Oops! I immediately asked Maynard who asked him but he has belatedly clammed up. Accordingly I have submitted the following Freedom of Information request to the bent Labour Council:
"To: Info Management <Info_Management@sandwell.gov.uk>
Yesterday Mr Mike Maynard of Wednesbury stated in writing that he was asked by Sandwell Council to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote the proposed Wednesbury BID scheme.
1 Who, precisely, made the decision to ask Mr Maynard to set up and run the social media accounts?
2 Who, specifically, asked Mr Maynard to set up the social media accounts?
3 As SMBC was the BID promoter why did it not set up its own social media accounts?
4 Who authorised Mr Maynard to use the Council's artwork for the BID on his social media accounts?
5 What was the agreement made with Mr Maynard to run the accounts? What procedures did SMBC employ to monitor the content of the accounts?
6 Why did Mr Gerry Ritchie fail to state that SMBC had asked Mr Maynard to open and operate the said accounts when giving his evidence on this matter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in respect of the appeal against the validity of the BID ballot?
7 Please disclose all documentation - as defined below - relating to questions (1) to (5) above.
“Document” means any letter/email (made or received), note, attendance note, record, report, paperwork of whatsoever nature prepared manually or electronically in respect of the subject of the request.
Where communications are with a third party disclosure should include those with the third party’s servants or agents.
Where a document is no longer in existence please state the gist of the document and how it came to be destroyed.
Where one would normally expect a document to be in existence (eg an attendance note of a telephone conversation) please state why a document was not prepared in the particular instance.
Two Other Matters:
1 I mentioned that the actions of Britton's bent staff (nothing to do with him of course) had cost the taxpayer at least £10,000 ie you and me. I am indebted to Mr Magher again who confirms that the ballot rigging actually cost us £14,290! Someone's head must roll for this..... If Zorro Hughes and cronies are going to try another ballot this will cost yet more again.
2 I am also indebted to the caller who reminded me that before Morrisons metaphorically get into bed with Costigan they should remember that she was heavily promoting the building of a giant warehouse in Wednesbury for their arch-rivals, er, Lidl (which has caused distress and inconvenience to a number of local residents)!
** See the above link for the facts of this.
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PROUD TO HAVE BEEN TROLLED BY DICKHEAD DARREN COOPER, DECEASED.