Monday, 14 August 2017

Mr James and Cardiff Bay - the Western Mail reports


20th August;
The next instalment of Cneifiwr's long-running series, the 'Council of Despair' has been published today featuring an exclusive interview with Sir Ephraim Jams...and we are introduced to a couple of new characters, including a Ms Ludmilla Legova...

Council of Despair - An exclusive interview

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark James' property dealings down in Cardiff Bay seem to have reached the ears of the Western Mail today, with an interesting article about residents' concerns over the management of their flats.

WalesOnline 14th August 2017

Blogger Jac o'the North recently went into a lot more detail in two posts, Baywatch 1 & 2, both of which I linked to here and urge you to read.

Mr James is a director of various Right To Manage (RTM) companies for Century Wharf flats and is also a director of a private company Building and Estate Solutions Today Ltd (BEST) set up in March 2017 with two business associates. All this information is freely available on Companies House website.

Aside from his burgeoning management empire, Mr James' property portfolio includes at least one flat in Century Wharf and two in another complex in Cardiff Bay, and he is also a registered landlord. (He also has a £250 per month hold over Caebrwyn's humble abode for his damages from his illegally funded counterclaim).

Amongst the issues some residents have with Mr James and the management of the Century Wharf complex is that flats are let for overnight stays, Airbnb, etc which is contrary to the terms of the leaseholds, as well as disturbing for the long term residents.
I am also told that Mr James and his business associates seem to have 'taken over' the RTM Board, with Mr James a 'self-appointed' Chairman, and there is some speculation that the new company, BEST, may be seeking to contract maintenance and management work for themselves, and expand their interests elsewhere, not just Century Wharf.

The other issue is the appointment as a manager in the complex of a young lady, a former tenant of one of Mr James' flats, who, according to sources, has little or no experience in the field of property management and was introduced to the post by Mr James himself...

Then there is the manner in which Mr James has dealt with criticism, and I am told that he runs things in the Bay in an extraordinarily similar fashion to the way he runs the council. Needless to say, this is not a good thing. There are claims to legal advice which are never disclosed, claims to ministerial 'contacts', and veiled legal threats to those who question his actions.
Having been involved in litigation with Mr James myself for a number of years I have absolutely no reason to doubt any of the claims and allegations I have heard, and I've heard quite a few.

His responses to residents, as reported in the Western Mail article are quite revealing. He dismisses their concerns over the short stay lets as having no evidential basis; stag parties and hen-dos are no more disturbing that long term lets..says he, from the comfort, and quiet, of his home in Carmarthen...

He then goes on to claim that there is not only a 'cancer' in the complex (presumably this is a charming reference to dissatisfied residents) but the young lady's appointment was all above board; having a personal knowledge of the 'candidate' was an advantage, apparently, and avoided all the fuss of advertising for the post...

I'm sure readers are getting the drift by now, and that Mr James has quite a time consuming 'hands-on' approach to his affairs in the Bay...

With that in mind, and let's not forget the many months spent chasing myself through the civil and criminal court, let alone his extensive involvement with the Swansea City Deal, isn't it time he was asked how he squeezes in his £170,000 a year role as chief executive of Carmarthenshire Council? And, for the avoidance of doubt, has anyone asked about any potential conflicts of interest yet?

And a final point, if Mr James is content to take public money to pursue his legal affairs, and use council facilities as if they were his own, who's to say he hasn't furthered his own business (or other) interests in exactly the same manner, and with exactly the same arrogance?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Teflon coated is a description that springs to mind.

Anonymous said...


Boston, Carmarthenshire and now Cardiff Gate - a hat trick!
Leopards don't change their spots

Thanks to you and Jac o'the North for highlighting this

Lets hope all the Plaid Cymru Councillors read this

caebrwyn said...

@Anon 15:37
Even Teflon degrades eventually.

Anonymous said...

I've been told that Mr James spends at least one day a week in Cardiff. I have no idea whether this is true but if it is then surely we should be paying him on a part-time basis? Four-fifths of the outrageous sum he currently "earns" is surely enough to keep him and his family in the luxury he seems to think is his due. And if he wants to earn an extra few bob, perhaps he could let out part of his large house for stag or hen party participants as he obviously is of the opinion that they wouldn't disturb his peace and quiet or upset the neighbours.

Anonymous said...

Truth of the matter is the current Plaid administration needs a strong officer element in the council as they have no expertise or vision themselves. We may as well accept that the council is officer led and this wont change for the foreseeable. If anybody needs convincing about this just look at the last meeting of the council when the new directors posts were discussed. It seems to me elected councillors were "done over" in an organised way by officers _ Labour made a valiant attempt to lower the salary but it wasn't going to happen. So - what we have now is a CE who says he needs to create a new Directors post to provide him with assistance. BUT he justifies this new post by saying he is making an existing assistant CEO redundant ! you couldn't make it up. Cant understand why the unions aren't jumping sky high about this!

Anonymous said...

Of course he needs all these assistants - who else is going to run the shop in Carmarthen when he is in Cardiff doing his "proper" job. Pity we don't have one of those old-fashioned Time and Motion bods around - I wonder how he would justify it all then.

Anonymous said...

The arrogance of the man!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.25

Councillors are weak and have no backbone and they would rather keep their heads down to protect their
pay. it's a case of not rocking the boat. We voted them in to work for us and not to let it all go over their heads and do nothing.

Keanjo said...

I always thought that Local Government Officers were obliged to disclose other employment and that the employer could insist that the officer should give up one or the other.Has the Chief Executive ever disclosed this to the Council ? If he has on what basis did the Council allow him to continue? If he did not is he in breach of his terms of employments? Whilst it is recognised that he is a super administrator ,how did he manage to avoid ,for instance . phone calls from the Cardiff Company being directed to him during his County Council time .The Council tax payers deserve answers to these questions and more. An Emergency County Council meeting open to the public and the press should be held urgently to allow Mr James the opportunity to explain.

caebrwyn said...

@Keanjo

In another article published in today's Western Mail, Mr James claims to have had 'consent' from the council. According to the constitution it is his office subordinate, the Assistant Chief Executive (Paul Thomas) who has to give his blessing...so no problems there!

As for using his county council time and public resources to further his private interests, Mr James blurred those lines long ago...

Keanjo said...

IThings have obviously changed very significantly ,and not for the better .If. Paul Thomas had refused permission ,I would not give a lot for his career prospects! If that is typical of the constitution then it needs to binned and re- written pdq.How could the Council possibly approve such a nonsense?

caebrwyn said...

@Keanjo
I forgot to add that Paul Thomas is supposed to consult with the employee's chief officer prior to granting consent, in this case that would be Mr James himself! It would be interesting to see the reasoning behind the consent, which I daresay was also prepared by Mr James.

Anonymous said...

In the Western Mail article mentioned above he seemed to spell out his preferred HR policy for recruitment

Namely:

“Enquiries were made informally locally and a candidate with sound administrative experience and very high academic qualifications was identified. They were also available at short notice. This was reported to directors and directors were informed that the candidate was known to one director.

“This is not particularly unusual at where staff, certainly those who are recruited at very short notice, are often known to managers or even related to members of staff.

“In a small team, such knowledge even if personal is often invaluable and avoids unnecessary expense of advertising, and the perils of recruiting people who prove to be less than a good fit. It can also as I am sure you will appreciate avoid subsequent significant employment and ultimately legal issues. All very good value and service for leaseholders.”

Seems almost identical to the policy he adopts for the Council


caebrwyn said...

@Anon 16:57
Yes, identical. It's a definition of cronyism, in Mr James' own words.

Anonymous said...

https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/20708101_1474176295953395_1645104152290316420_n.jpg?oh=96576c379472d74198631a860d430d49&oe=5A22E813

caebrwyn said...

Thank you Anon 21:21 for the link, which you can click on here. I'm sure it will raise a smile considering the above post...

Anonymous said...

re the link given by Anon 21:21 - I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Appropriate, funny, depressing.