Friday 18 March 2016

The Matter of Costs

After dealing with bailiffs, instructed by Mr James to recover his damages (now £35,000 plus daily interest) for the past few weeks, Monday's (21st March) Executive Board agenda includes an exempt item titled 'Enforcement of Costs Order'. These costs are around £230,000.

As I am the party affected by the Exec Board decision on Monday I asked the Head of Law, Linda Rees Jones for sight of the report and questioned why, as all this information is in the public domain, and was a result of action in an open court, the discussion was being held in secret.

She refused to let me see the report as it contains 'Information relating to the financial affairs of any particular person' blah blah. That person being me.
Despite the title of the item, Ms Rees Jones explains that they are not looking at options for recovery but rather the principle of recovery. Ah, so that's alright then....

Aside from the fact (which I presume they are all aware) that I haven't got £230,000, this all raises several interesting points.

Should the council decide to take action for recovery, a proportion of these costs, around £41,000, relates to Mr James' counterclaim. This makes for very muddy waters for the council - this was the unlawful payment and would make for an interesting public law challenge.

It would also be interesting to see the Plaid leadership actively pursuing the effects of something they once opposed so publicly in those far off days in opposition - even if Cllr Dole is now so deeply enamoured by the Mark and Meryl Empire that he's erased all that unpleasantness from his memory.....

Mr James, concerned primarily with his own pocket rather than the taxpayer's, has already got in there first with his enforcement actions, and by trying to secure his personal damages, attempted to ensure that there was nothing left for the council. As it happens, there is nothing for him either, as I have made clear.

In my view, given the reality of my situation, the Exec Board have no option other than to waive the costs as irrecoverable, unless they're going to join with Mr James, stick the knife in and maybe make me bankrupt, a pointless and expensive exercise but one which would ensure that, as a bankrupt, I'd be unable to stand for the County Council, or even Community Council elections next year.

If I were a devotee of conspiracy theories I might even suspect that Mr James could instruct the Exec Board to waive the costs in the misguided belief that in bankruptcy, the council would be eliminated as creditors, leaving more cash for his own wallet. He'd be very disappointed.

There is an old saying that if you owe the bank a couple of hundred pounds then you worry, if you owe the bank a million, they worry. The other old saying is that you can't get blood from a stone.

My advice to the Exec Board, and the council as a whole, is to waive goodbye to these costs on Monday and, at the same time, wave goodbye to the chief executive.

* * *

By way of an update to a recent untruthful statement given by Mr James to the Western Mail a few weeks ago, I decided to make a complaint to the council. After all, the public perception of the integrity of our chief executive and Returning Officer combined, is surely very important.

In response, Ms Rees Jones, with her Monitoring Officer hat on, has decided, after three years of involving herself in every aspect of this whole saga, sitting at the chief executive's elbow for six days in court, and smoothing out his unlawful activities at every turn, that this is a private matter so she will not be involving herself in investigating anything.

This is an interesting response given that Mr James freely used the publicly funded council press office to issue his statement not to mention the very public illegal funding of the counterclaim which gave rise to the damages. 'Private' doesn't come into it.

However, as my complaint suggested a breach of the Press and Media Protocol by Mr James, apparently that aspect will, apparently, be looked at by the Corporate Complaints team...based in the chief executive's department.... I trust they will be shocked and appalled that their boss has used council facilities to defame a member of the public..again.


Anonymous said...

Officers Code of Conduct clearly states that officers should act with integrity and honesty at all times when dealing with the public. Aha? I have only ever experienced the antithesis of this in all the years I have had dealings with this authority, so it's not going to change now. With the CEOs colleagues being charged with investigating their boss, it does prove, if anymore proof was needed, that the public cannot expect any form of a fair and just investigation of any complaint no matter how serious. This is so serious it should be passed to our wonderful Welsh Assembly, whom we all have faith and trust in, to be investigated by a Minister. LOL. Shame on Wales.

Cneifiwr said...

The nightmare is far from over for you, but it is also far from over for the Council which finds itself in a quagmire all of Mark James's own making.

An interesting question which the WAO might like to ponder is the nature of the indemnity used by the chief executive to bring his counter-claim. In the normal run of things, an indemnity would only kick in if Mr James had lost, but it seems that the council paid the bills anyway. If it did, it could well be the case that the council not only approved an unlawful indemnity, but then compounded matters by breaching the terms of the unlawful indemnity.

Anonymous said...

How awful to be pursued by bailiffs under orders by the CEO of our own council for his own personal gain. It is truly shocking, especially given that he stole money from the public purse which has enabled him to do it. This Council could well be ultimately responsible for making a family homeless due to their own unlawful practice. Another one, as I am already aware of a family about to lose their home due this council's negligence. How many others?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be ironic if you could bring a claim against the dark lord on the basis of his recent written untruths, i.e. the commentary regarding your proposals for payment and his statement that no such offer had been made.

We all know he's a habitual liar and a Uri Geller where truth is concerned. It would be a coup to prove it publicly and have him suffer financially for it. Money appears to be everything to this low life, so whilst you can sit back and rest assured you have a good support network in the form of friends and associates via this website he, on the other hand, can only count his 'friends' by the financial value he places on their services.

I know which I'd rather be.

As for linda rhys-jones and her performance along with & merrily grovel & that other 'dole'ful bunch it reminds me of the film The Stepford Wives.

Anonymous said...

I believe that all of this should now come to an end and a line be drawn under it.

The current council needs to stand by its declared principles as expoused by the current leader and PHG a couple of year so and stop all court actions and just move on.

If the CEO needs to have his damages and costs paid off then the council should just bite the bullet and do it - now.

What has been achieved by you Jaqui ? You have secured The filming of council meetings which has exposed our democracy to the disinfection of sunlight. I never had the slightest idea that we were represented by such a bunch of inept and seemingly daft people.

You forced the council into a review of how democracy here works and some changes have been made -although not embraced but they will be, eventually.

To pursue you to the point of bankruptcy would be an absolute overkill and expose the council to ridicule and even more loathing than they generate now.

We definitely need a fresh start and that needs to commence now.

Unknown said...

I found this link today and thought how apt to Jacqui's situation and the actions of both Mark James and the Executive. This is the conclusion of the piece:-

As Lord Bridge noted from Wades Administrative Law, fifth edition (1982), pp 355-356, in R v Tower Hamlets London Borough Council, Ex parte Chetnik Developments Ltd: ‘Statutory power conferred for public purposes is conferred as it were upon trust, not absolutely – that is to say, it can validly be used only in the right and proper way which parliament when conferring it is presumed to have intended.’

And although private individuals are free, subject to law, to act out of malice or revenge, a public authority must act ‘reasonably and in good faith and upon lawful and relevant grounds of public interest’. For ‘unfettered discretion is wholly inappropriate to a public authority, which possesses powers solely in order that it may use them for the public good’.

But while comedic monologist Marriott Edgar referred to Blackpool in The Lion and Albert as being ‘noted for fresh-air and fun’, the council’s decision here seems unlikely to have brought much fun to anyone involved.

Nicholas Dobson, Freeth Cartwright"

Malice & revenge when anyone speaks out against their actions. Self interest before public interest seems to be the mantra of the CEO and the Executive supported by the Monitoring Officer!

Anonymous said...

Re. Ms Rees Jones - you may recall this is from Y Cneifiwr’s post of Saturday, 9 May 2015:

Mystery also surrounds the post of Head of Administration and Law where Mrs Linda Rees Jones clocked up what must have been a Wales all-comers record as "acting" head since the retirement of Lyn Thomas in 2011. By installing Mrs Rees Jones as acting head, Mr James avoided the messy business of having to get the appointment approved by councillors, and so matters remained until recently when Linda Legal suddenly began signing herself off as Head of Administration and Law, no longer just acting.

It will be recalled that the eminent lawyer and co-opted member of the council's Audit Committee, Sir David Lewis, described the quality of legal advice put out by Mrs Rees Jones's department as "cavalier at best and incompetent at worst".

Anonymous said...

We are a homeless family thanks to the 'secret' council.