Friday 26 February 2016

CEO's libel settlement claims untrue - Carmarthenshire Herald

Update 9th March; The Herald article I referred to below is now online; CEO's libel settlement claims untrue

Pic source; Carmarthenshire Herald Facebook page

The Carmarthenshire Herald (out today, Feb 26th) has investigated the remarks made by chief executive Mark James, to Wales Online, in that I was untruthful when I said I had made offers to pay.

He said;

"Regrettably, Jacqui Thompson is once again not telling the truth unfortunately.....
"Perhaps she will share with media written proof of her offer to pay in instalments? I would be most interested to see it."

As I clarified in my previous post, this was not true and I had the correspondence to his solicitors in front of me.

The Herald asked for copies of this correspondence and in the full article, which also covers the ongoing bailiff action against me, reporter Jon Coles goes into the detail of the letters and confirms that they are indeed offers to pay by instalments.

Further to this the Herald asked the council whether Mr James' comments had been reported accurately on Wales Online. The council, by return, sent a copy of Mr James statement to the Herald and it was exactly as Wales Online had reported.

The Herald concludes;

"As both the content of the letters to Mr James' solicitors are inconsistent with his account to Wales Online and repeated to us, Mr James' position of absolute certainty that offers to settle were never made is in tatters"

...and furthermore, this week's Herald opinion piece, as always penned by Cadno, includes the following observations;

"...Recently, Mark James arranged for High Court Enforcement Officers to attend on the home of Carmarthenshire blogger Jacqui Thompson in an attempt to secure payment of damages due to him from her in respect of a libel action he won. 
Wales Online covered the story and Mrs Thompson set out to its reporter that she was unable to pay the sum and had offered instalments. 
Mr James’s response bears repeating here: 
"Regrettably, Jacqui Thompson is once again not telling the truth unfortunately. 
"She has refused point blank to pay anything. She has responded to my solicitor in writing saying she will never pay any of the damages and costs that the High Court awarded against her. 
"Had she offered to pay in instalments, this action would not have been necessary. 
"Perhaps she will share with media written proof of her offer to pay in instalments? I would be most interested to see it." 
So Cadno asked Mrs Thompson to share the proof of her offer of instalments. 
And she has: both a letter from her solicitors to Mr James’s solicitors from three years ago and a further email from 2015. 
In both letters Mrs Thompson sets out her financial status, which Cadno does not repeat here, but which is suggestive of an inability to satisfy Mr James’s claim. In addition she makes offers – plural – to make payments by instalments. 
In other words, readers, Mr James has laid down a challenge which Mrs Thompson has answered. And since Mr James says Mrs Thompson is not telling the truth – when she plainly is in relation to the offers to pay by instalments – we can but conclude one of two things, either: 
Mr James is genuinely ignorant of correspondence sent to his own solicitors; or 
He is not telling the truth himself. 
Now, it is not for a humble fox to say that the smell of burning undergarments appears to be any more prevalent around Mr James than any other person who casually bandies around statements about who is telling the truth when they have been unlawfully bankrolled by public money to fight litigation; however, we have a real difficulty with Mr James’s unequivocal statement which is outright contradicted by the facts. 
The condescending tone of "Perhaps she will share with media written proof of her offer to pay in instalments?” is deserving of nothing but our collective and complete contempt, especially in light of the fact that Mrs Thompson can prove and has proven that offers to pay in instalments were made. 
It matters not one ounce whether Mrs Thompson subsequently withdrew or amended those offers; it doesn't matter what she has subsequently said on her website. Mr James’s claim is that offers to settle did not exist in any event. Note, readers, NOT that he rejected them, but that they were NEVER made. 
We have a word for people who tell deliberate untruths, but Cadno is prepared to be generous to Carmarthenshire’s beloved, acclaimed, and charismatic leader. After all, readers, how can a man as prominent and busy as James, CBE, be expected to keep a handle on anything so mundane as an offer made in respect of a large personal debt to him? 
How can he be expected to remember every scrap of correspondence that comes to his attention as part of his busy lifestyle polishing his bike helmet at weekends and remembering to carefully adjust his Chopper’s saddle? 
How can he be expected to remember the facts? 
Yes, readers, the image of the grenadier blown to smithereens by his own explosive is a compelling one.
Hoist by his own petard, indeed.

All credits to The Carmarthenshire Herald, on Facebook, Twitter and web 


Anonymous said...

This just can't continue - the boundaries between Mr James's personal and private life have become intermingled and his every utterance on the libel case is a huge embarrassment for the Council. If he has lied about the installments offer, surely his behaviour will have fallen well short of the standards expected of a Chief Executive, and represents grounds for dismissal?

Anonymous said...

This is an integrity issue.

If the dark lord is prepared to publicly make such blatant untruths and stand by them, then the whole question of his integrity has to be brought into doubt. Needless to say there are many other matters that have been rightly questioned but until this, none have so effectively proven the man to be so dishonest.

Does he forget that his role is one that is prominent in the public focus? He is meant to represent the population of Carmarthenshire at the highest level yet is prepared to lie and be actively dishonest in his pursuit of hounding someone who has suffered enough already. His credibility must surely now be in tatters.

James has proven himself to be a dishonest, deceitful and disrespectful liar.

If only he had made this statement and attempted to perpetuate it in the recent law courts hearing. He would have been actively committing perjury and attempting to pervert the course of common justice. Which is such a shame as these carry a mandatory custodial sentence. Perhaps Jacqui would like to now bring that to his legal representatives attention and suggest james retracts his false misrepresentations, cease his actions and make a full public apology, or face consequences.

Either way his position is now untenable and he must leave. Of course, we all know he wont go. Someone as arrogant and egotistical as james will only go when pushed.

james is no Jeffery Archer or Chris Huhne nor on the same level as them, but the one thing he has in common is that all of them are guilty of telling lies in legal proceedings.

The time for james to go has never been so strong and go now before matters get any worse. Quit while you’re ahead would be my advise.

Martin Milan said...

His position has been untenable for some time... he seems to thrive on it...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there is no-one (apart from the wonderful Cllr Caiach)in the council, whether officer or elected representative, who is strong enough to stand up to this bully and they all seem to be in thrall to him for some reason or another. He is also a very clever and wily operator and usually seems to be one step ahead of any move to wrong-foot him. But this latest example of his "economy with the truth" ought to be the last straw.

Unknown said...

Mark James is just the kind of CEO the self serving members of this Council needs; it's reciprocal back scratching. If your not a self serving member or officer then you're controlled with a rod of iron. While public interest reports can be ignored with alacrity by officers and the Executive alike and scrutiny is circumvented there is no need for honesty or integrity as all "bad apples" are safe from any accountability.

Surely when MJ went to court to have the bailiffs collect what he's owed he would have lied then about not being offered the money owed in installments. I don't think a judge would involve bailiffs unless there was no other way of recouping the money surely he would have asked. Now here is a chance to speak to the police, as someone said, he'd have committed perjury and as I know from bitter experience officers of the CCC may feel a bit uncomfortable about doing it but when that's expected of them they will do it. MJ though would feel no discomfort I'm sure about doing so.

All this because they wanted to silence a Blogger!

Anonymous said...

The issue is that half of the councillors haven't got the sense or intelligence to realise how he is using them. Its not a matter of enthral, its just dictatorship by someone with napoleon syndrome. The rest of the councillors, i.e., Cllr Caiach who do attempt to stand against him and question the bizarre behaviour simply get shouted down with undertones and hints of legal issues, so the herd simply votes along with him. After all they know no better or different.

Local elections are coming and its time to sweep the shower of sleeping sheep out and install some serious thinking people who are willing to question this mans erratic behaviour. Only then can things change and this clown shown the exit. Preferably with a size 10 firmly planted in his rear end and under no illusion that he is not welcome back. Ever.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right, Anon @ 23.41 - any councillor (and presumably, any officer) who dares question or stand up to Our Dear Leader is shouted down - which would suggest that the others are not only enthralled by him (naming no names!) but are also in thrall to him (ie he has some power over or knowledge about them) which keeps them quiet.

Wavell said...

The morning Council meetings effectively block any young blood from taking part.
Why not have the meetings take place at say 7:00 p.m. ?
That way the "working" man/woman can take part in proceedings.

Anonymous said...

His behaviour is becoming increasingly Putinesque - if he hears anything he doesn't like, his first reaction is to make an accusation of lying. Whether such accusations stand up to scrutiny is obviously of no concern to him. The plucky Carmarthenshire Herald has stood up to him, and revealed his true colours. It's such a travesty that Councillors are not willing to do the same. To accuse Cllr Caiach of lying in an open Council meeting is scandalous - even if it were true, his language and attitude shows utter contempt for Cllr Caiach personally and for the position of an elected councillor more generally. To their shame, her fellow Members let him get away with it, yet again. Eunuchs!

Martin Milan said...

The trouble with Councillor Caiach is that she has a nasty habit of not simply believing everything she is told. She engages in subversive, nasty pastimes like scrutiny and reasoned thought...

These things don't tend to go down to well in the council chamber, where it seems they like their reasoning weak and their scrutiny weaker still...

Poor old Mr James keeps having his morning coffee and biscuits ruined by this impetuous woman and her god forsaken facts! Now the proles are threatening open revolt!

Poor man...

Being serious, you need massive political change if you are to bring about a change in either the CEO or his conduct. People need to wake up and smell the bullshit...

Anonymous said...

Then this forum is the likely place to achieve that.

With like minded [and hopefully intelligent] people visiting this forum there are some well reasoned balanced replies. No doubt some of these people are in a position to challenge their local councillors and make the necessary changes leading towards the removal of james.

I don't know how Jacqui can go about implementing a website or forum for change but there is a reasonable groundswell here. She no doubt, will have some statistics for the site and have a better idea of visitors etc, but with the right amount of effort and exposure this could be the platform that starts the delivery of those very changes the county needs.

Its been mentioned before. Rather than simply commenting we need to take action as well.

I would stand in my ward.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous @ 09:03.

Unless some form of action is taken, then this simply becomes a place for moaning and doing nothing about anything.

Unknown said...

Anon 09:03 has made some interesting suggestions. A lot of the problem seems to be the way Cllrs have to consider the reputation of not only the CCC but that of their political party before raising any concerns or problems their constituents might have at Council Meetings. I believe that is why "People First" was set up to give Cllrs the freedom to act on their constituents behalf without worrying about toeing the party line and not rocking any boats.

The Independents are a party itself, Cllrs are expected to toe the party line. From what I gather "People First" was also set up to give truly independent candidates for positions as Cllrs, MPs & AMs a banner to stand under as without that they'd not be able to stand as Cllrs. All they have to follow is the Bell Principles which can be found on the website "". Much more on why & how individual Cllrs decided to separate themselves from the mainstream on that website. One drawback is money can't be drawn from a political party's purse to help fight an election as it is not a "Political Party" but a "Movement". If I were younger, better at communicating and without any caring duties I would consider becoming more active too. Lots to think about isn't there?