(Update 3rd Feb 2017; Court date)
On Friday I received a court claim from Mr James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council for an Order for Sale of our home for his libel damages. These damages, now £35,392 with interest, arose from a counterclaim which was funded, unlawfully. with taxpayers money. I have 14 days to respond.
Running in parallel to Mr James' application to force sale is the enforcement action brought by the council for £190,390 in court costs. A court hearing in December will decide whether an interim charge on my home will be made final. Following that, they will also be able to attempt to force sale, if Mr James hasn't already succeeded. The unlawful counterclaim costs are not currently being enforced, which doesn't surprise me.
For the first time in these whole proceedings I have asked my Plaid Cymru MP, Jonathan Edwards and Assembly Member, Adam Price to intervene in this grave miscarriage of justice, and offer support morally and practically, on my my behalf. (Oct 31st....they have written to Plaid Council leader Emlyn Dole in my support...November 26th; still haven't heard if there's been any response)
As ever, I am not seeking any financial help but if anyone feels strongly enough about this to write to their MP, AM or councillor, I would be very grateful for moral support.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to fight this, day by day, especially against someone who is never held accountable, but fight it I will, to the bitter end.
31st October; See also Cneifiwr's blog here
Later post 7th November; Further thoughts...and this week's Cadno
This is terrible news. I would like to take part in some Direct Action. A noisy demonstration with the opportunity to loudly voice my rage at this outrageously cruel and spiteful injustice.
He is, indeed, never held accountable. The Welsh Audit Office points things out, he gives them the finger and doubles down on everything, they give up & slink away. The Welsh assembly appears to be more banana republic in waiting than argument for welsh independence...
I simply cannot understand the motivation behind this.
Why anyone would seek to take away someone's home is beyond comprehension.
I am sure that every decent person who is following this story has nothing but sympathy and support for you in this dreadful situation.
This is the most unbelievable travesty and should not be happening. The whole case from the very beginning is seriously flawed and should never be resulting in the loss of your home, a home you and your husband built years ago for your family to be safe, taken away by someone who earns around £250.000 a year!!!
bloody shocking and vile... I feel for you.. he is more concerned about his image than doing the right thing....... vile man.
I remember once a charity event, which he would grace us with his presence .. his entourage phoned and insisted that he had the closest car parking space to the facility ...as he was a busy and important person....... everyone else was paying to be there .. not him
Let's hope your AM and MP can bring some influence to bear on this huge injustice and find another resolution other than the loss of your home. Let morals and ethics be more important than what the law states in this case.
The law in this case has certainly been an ass and the chief executive even lower than that-no conscience, no compassion,no anything that could describe him as a human being.
There is no justice is the history of your case whatsoever... You are nothing other than an uncomfortable (and much needed) thorn in their side because you bring scrutiny to the activies and actions of the Council. There is NO WAY that any impartial reader could come to the conclusion that your blog exists primarily to attack Mr. James - You attack his actions, and those of other Council staff / members. As a prominent officer in a local officer, Mr. James should be big enough to be able to stand a little criticism.
Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is a blog, and all along the Council have been welcome to make use of the comments facility and explain just why they feel you are mistaken on the many issues that have come to prominence over the years. They haven't done that though, have they? It doesn't take a commanding intellect to work out why.
At the end of the day, Jacqui has done the rate payers of Carmarthenshire an enormous service - and much to her credit, continues to do so. Of Jacqui and Mr. James, I know whom I feel genuinely has the interests of the community at heart...
Any other person acting like this in their job would have been dismissed for gross misconduct by now, along with misappropriation of funds and improper use of company facilities.
Yet, the dark lord continues to evade justice, the irony being that he is attempting to impose his own form of justice via the legal flaw where the one with more money wins. We all know the money was tax payers funds so james was in a win win situation.
'Winning', or rather, succeeding in his claim, does not make it right however, a decent human would leave it at that and feel vindicated by the result. So, why does james persist in this nihilistic approach towards Jacqui? To understand that would be to understand the person behind this unforgivable action, which has been demonstrated here to be quite a self serving, conceited little man of low morales.
But how did he come to be in the position we find him? And I don't mean this legal situation, but the position of chief executive of the county.
If rumours are to be believed he left Bolton council under a cloud, some suggest he was dismissed, but the key point is, he was obviously not up to the task, i.e., he was [and to many minds] is still quite incompetent.
Controversy follows him like a bad smell, think pension, pay, Parc Y Scarlets, council transport; yes the Ford Galaxies cost more than the Mercedes apparently which was done by way of a 2 finger salute to the public that complained about council 'executives' travelling in Mercedes vehicles.
Not being the most intelligent he is cunning and has placed 'yes people' into subordinate roles - meryl grovel, pam 'not a clue' palmer, emlyn 2 barns dole, terry'elmer fudd' davies, linda 'legal' and so on, whom he bullies into submission. There is an atmosphere of suspicion and despair in county hall; any councillors attempting to challenge his actions are simply brushed aside.
What is required is a joint effort from ALL sides to bring james to task. To ask the questions that must be answered and to be held responsible for the failures that he claims are successes. They are only successes in his own mind, and as one of the previous commentators noted, of him and Jacquie its not difficult to see which of them has the interests of the community at heart.
Until this little napoleon is brought to task and made answerable for his actions we can only expect to see the suffering continue. These blogs are a good place for bringing the problems to light but more of the community need to made aware of the problems.
We are in danger of having napoleon in charge until he retires and I for one would not wish to see that and most certainly do not want to see him ride off into the sunset with a big pay-off after all the damage and havoc he has wreaked on this community.
He needs to go and in the most ignominious way possible. The skeletons are there, they just need to be let out...
Reading this makes me feel sick. I can see one aspect where Mr Mark James and the Crown Court has messed up terrible, something which both parties fall into the trap of.
This letter that you have received is non-enforcable, Simply as it is illegal!
This letter from the Crown, is in breach of the Welsh Language Act. This act of Parliament makes it an offence to send out any correspondence in English Only. It states that all correspondence must be sent in Welsh or Welsh & English.
The crown will argue the state that the letter would be sent only in English as you did not request a Welsh Copy, however the act states that they must present the letter in both Welsh and English regardless if you requested it or not.
They must treat the Welsh and English Equal. I would simply return a copy of the Claim form to them and send a copy to the Welsh Government, requesting the original Welsh Copy and an explanation/apology to why it was not sent in the 1st place.
It may not help your outcome, but it would certainly shake up the Crown, and give you extra time, as I doubt that they will have a Welsh Copy available to hand immediately that was stamped on the same date as the English Version.
Remember, this is a Legal obligation for the Crown to send that Claim Form out in Welsh.
Best of Luck
AS an ex ccc employee. We all received an flagged email indicating that it is very important ........... stating " I would just like to inform you all and put you at ease and can confirm that I will not be leaving to join the welsh assembly..... yes they approached me but i have declined their offer ............#egoidiot
warra a kn-b
quote """"he is cunning and has placed 'yes people' into subordinate roles"" this is absolutely correct right through to senior managers
"he is cunning and has placed 'yes people' into subordinate roles"
Because its the only way he can manipulate things to go his way.
Start geting rid of these weak, ineffectual yes people (gravel, palmer etc) through their failures and inadequacies and napoleon (love it) becomes more exposed, vulnerable and ineffectual.
The reference to the Welsh Assembly [above] just demonstrates this diminutive person has an ego inversely proportionate to his size. That is just dangerous for someone in such a position.
Questions really should be raised about his qualifications for the job. Didn't he promise to learn Welsh as part of the role?
What other requirements of the job has he failed to satisfy?
Anon 23:12 What do you think he meant by "they approached me but I have declined their offer".
Did some political party approach him, and if so which, or are we to believe that he was invited to run the civil service?
And will the sale of your home force you to keep quiet? I hope not. Will it be enough for your council to affirm that he has lost their confidence - unfortunately not. Will it give the CE a bigger ego - probably. Will it be good for Carmarthen - definitely not.
A disaster for democracy.
Words fail me. That a man(?) in his grossly overpaid position, who professes to be a Christian, can be so vindictive is staggering. That he can contemplate with impunity making a family homeless just to satisfy his ego takes my breath away.
Maybe the electorate of Carmarthenshire could ensure that a modicum of natural justice prevails in this matter when they cast their votes in next May’s elections for the County Council by not returning any serving members of the Council who have supported the unlawful legal indemnity payment which prompted Mr James’s legal action. Apparently, before the offer of the legal indemnity payment Mr James was willing to settle the matter out of court.
Here’s a start, on 27/2/2014 the following members voted against the motion to “Accept the findings of the Wales Audit Office and agree to withdraw the provision in the council’s constitution which allows for the granting of indemnities to Members and Officers to bring actions for defamation.”:
S.M. Allen, D.J.R. Bartlett, T. Bowen, A.P. Cooper, D.M. Cundy, D.B. Davies, I.W. Davies, J.A. Davies, S.L. Davies, T. Davies, W.K. Davies, W.R.A. Davies, T. Devichand, J.S. Edmunds, G.N.R. Edwards, D.C. Evans, W.J.W. Evans, M. Gravell, C.P. Higgins, P.M. Hughes, I.J. Jackson, A. James, J.D. James, A.W. Jones, H.I. Jones, P.E.M. Jones, T.J. Jones, K. Madge, S. Mathews, A.G. Morgan, P.A. Palmer, D.W.H. Richards, B.A.L. Roberts, H.B. Shepardson, L.M. Stephens, T. Theophilus, E.G. Thomas, M.K. Thomas, W.D. Thomas, J. Tremlett and J. Williams.
All of them, plus T. Bowen, also voted against the motion: “That Carmarthenshire County Council declares it has no confidence in Council Leader Cllr Kevin Madge, Deputy Leader Cllr Pam Palmer and former Leader Cllr Meryl Gravell as they were members of the Executive Board which made the decisions deemed to be ‘unlawful’ by the Wales Audit Office in its Report, and remain members of the present Executive Board.”
An obvious addition to the list would be Emlyn Dole who now appears to support the unlawful indemnity payment. This change of heart can surely have nothing to do with his collaboration with the independents or the granting of planning permission.
Hit these councillors where it hurts them most – in their pockets.
Minutes of the meeting can be seen at http://online.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/agendas/eng/COCO20140227/MINUTES.HTM
Further to the list of councillors @10.32, in addition to Emlyn Dole, you can also add the other Plaid members of the current Executive board - councillors Cllrs. Hazel Evans, Linda Evans, David Jenkins and Gareth Jones. All of whom seem to have had a miraculous change of opinion on the matter now they’re in power. At the Executive board on 21st March they all voted in favour of pursuing Jacqui for the costs awarded to the council by the High Court.
I would not be at all surprised to find that many councillors and senior officers may have been bullied, harrassed or threatened to the point where they are frightened rabbits in headlights, too scared to do anything but submit to it. There is no other explanation why so many of them on all sides seem unable to function normally. Who by? Well, that would take a public inquiry to sort out - in the gift of Welsh Assembly members. Or have they been similarly affected?
To answer Redhead at 23:29 its quite simple. If these councillors are so easily bullied then they have no place in the council.
This council needs intelligent people strong enough to remain honest to their own convictions and not be bullied into submission by the likes of james. Every school has its bully and every bully meets its match. The time is coming where this particular bully will meet his Waterloo and the county can be rid of it for ever.
Bringing the matter into the public eye, thanks to the likes of this blog and other, only serves to strengthen public resolve and I too look forward to seeing these feckless people out of work and back in the real world. Lets just hope we have some people with backbones who are willing to stand.
I note that there is a clear conflict of interest here. By applying to force sale of your home in his personal capacity, he is endeavouring to ensure that his personal costs are borne by you, because if they aren't, he has to rely on the unlawful indemnity, and having declared it unlawful, I suspect even the toothless watchdog the WAO might find a tooth or two to pursue a case against him if the unlawful indemnity becomes a personal payout.
But every penny he personally siphons off from you in advance of the council of which he is chief executive going after you is a penny less for the council tax payers of the county. So by going after you personally himself he is apparently potentially acting unethically. His professional duty would be to try to ensure that the council got 1st dibs on the equity in your house,
There is much spoken about the bullying and fear element that permeates County Hall. It clearly affects both officers and members alike. There is only one person who can create such an atmosphere of unease and trepidation, and that person has shown himself to be malicious and vindictive in the extreme. This vindictiveness has to be stopped. This behaviour towards Jacqui alone, should be enough for a Minister to question the mindset of this person. It is not the type of behaviour befitting the role of Chief executive - far from it.
The house doesnt have a charge on it - the land it sits on does. What value with planning permission could this return I wonder? We are talking big money here surely? The fact there is silence in the Ranks tends imo to raise such questions as Cui Bono? Clearly there is a very unusually strong motive behind all of this which in itself raises many questions. Suspicious moi? Too right! If one thing this terrible state of affairs has proved without any shadow of a doubt it is that our Politicos of whatever colour are inefective and cowardly.
What a shower in power. A Public Inquiry into all this must be undertaken now.
The threat of losing their comfy well paid positions needs to be brought to their attention. I would also suggest doing some digging around for dirt.
Let me get this straight.
Ken Haylock at 00:19 raises an interesting point:
"...there is a clear conflict of interest here. By applying to force sale of your home in his personal capacity, he is endeavouring to ensure that his personal costs are borne by you, because if they aren't, he has to rely on the unlawful indemnity..."
So, is james using a lawyer, appointed by and paid for by himself or one paid for by the council, acting under james' instructions?
If he is successful in the libel claim then where will the money go? Presumably, as he was funded by the council, it will go there, which will leave you homeless. And who then has the responsibility of re-housing you? I guess that would be the council.
So they are creating a problem that is clearly unavoidable. They are struggling to provide sufficient housing for those that currently need housing, yet the person 'in overall charge' is happy to compound that problem in pursuit of his own malicious agenda.
People have already commented that in his office he should be able to take comments which question his actions and had he simply turned the other cheek at your commentary he would certainly not have received the barrage of honest comments and actions from the general public who are now outraged at his behaviour. He has done himself no favours.
I'm beginning to wonder exactly how close this clown is sailing to the wind and how invincible he thinks he is. As Ken suggests, there may be a conflict of interests. His claim was funded unlawfully [i understand] so enforcing it should also be questionable.
But who stands to gain financially if the claim is enforced? The council or james? He was acting in public office at the time, so a representative of the council. Consequently any damages recovered should therefore be to the council. If james wanted to personally bring a claim against you, then he would have been required to underwrite his own costs, something which has been alluded to, in which case there were questions over the chances of success.
In conclusion, under what authority is james acting? His or the council. Either way it may be suggested he is acting improperly and could even be suggested a case for malfeasance exists. I truly hope you could prove that as I for one would love to see the end of this bigot.
I imagine that he didn't need to pay up front, and even if he did there's probably more bunce lost down the side of his sofa than the costs awarded here, so excessively is he remunerated. It's an open question whether vindictiveness or venality is motivating him to go after Jacqui with the intent of making her homeless; perhaps it's equal measures of both. It's unlikely he will miss out on any luxuries for want of the cash, and unless he's utterly delusional, he won't be motivated by some burning sense of injustice, in fact you'd feel he was more likely to be feeling a sense of deep & abiding shame, were it not obvious over many years that he is indeed completely shameless...
Small point. It was Boston Lincolnshire not Bolton from whence he came.
Don't his actions constitute misuse of public funds, i.e. fraud?
Just in case the council decides to mysteriously manage to lose the aforesaid minutes, they are now recorded in perpetuity here:
I know its probably been tried before but should sufficient people agree then the WAG would be required to explore and at the very least be made aware of james actions. He is going too far with this action and I for one am beginning to question not only his motives but his mental faculties. He is not fit for office.
Petition the WAG and see what happens, but I think there is sufficient groundswell now to achieve a very good number of votes:
I am aware that, in the Breckman case CCC dismissed the Ombudsman’s report after her complaint had been successfully upheld. In fact the previous Enforcement Manager not only made disparaging comments directed at the Ombudsman himself, but launched what can only be described as a vitriolic attack on Mrs Breckman. His comments would have had the potential of being libellous had he not been given privilege to make them What they do reflect however is the view held by other officers who then passed that view to other agencies.
All these problems stem from the time that MJ was appointed as “Chief Executive” (i.e. head office boy and bottle washer) of Carmarthenshire County Council. All these problems might have been avoided and the good name of this council – now gone for ever – had the councillors responsible for his appointment carried out the minimum of research and “digging” into his employment history – did they ever think of questioning any people in Boston, Lincs. (whether councillor employees there or even residents in Boston) to discover what he was really like? If BBC “Taro Nawr” could do this, then our councillors of the time could and should have done so as well! The fact that they obviously failed to carry out adequate investigation, checks and research into his “history” amounts to serious neglect of duty and diligence by those councillors – and, unfortunately, some are still with us.
MJ will not go until he himself decides to leave voluntarily, and to cease helping himself to the public money “slush fund”. Local elections will not change things, because the vast majority of the electorate are either innocent of what has/is happening, or they don’t really care as it has no effect on them personally, and, if they even bother to vote in local elections, will be swayed by the bumf/lies put out by candidates in their election literature, or they don’t care/mind what has and is continuing to happen to ordinary members of the public by the actions of this greedy bully of a man who cares not for others, but only for himself .
The way MJ is behaving is way beyond what could be described as appropriate or normal for a person who holds such position power and responsibility. His vindictiveness is palpable. He needs to be reigned in and questioned as to his motives for such maliciousness towards a family, by our Welsh Government. Christopher Salmon was so right when he called our council a 'cicilian cartel'. There must be an Inquiry into whether this man is fit to hold such a position in our council. A person suffering from hubris - sociopathy, call it what you will, should not be in a position of such power, it is dangerous.
Have you considered taking a case to the ECHR? You can do it yourself easily enough. I know it is a slow and protracted process but surely whilst matters are underway no further action can be taken against you? Just a thought. I would have thought you had more than enough on which to base a good case.
Current thoughts on this debacle are as follows. These are just thoughts.
1. Launch Petitions - more than one and to various sources ( individuals too)
2. Launch a case in the ECHR as a family for abuse of Rights etc etc
3. Petition and write to the House of Lords especially Lord Pickles or copy him in as he has declared his views and stance on matters in the past.
4. Write to each 'individual' involved not as any Office Holder pointing out the seriousness of issues and where the buck will stop as well as pointing out their position.
5. This entire situation is IMPO a blatant case of 'Ultra Vires'. Do your homework on this aspect and dont forget to quote it in all and any writings.
Perhaps a sensible judge could order payment of £1 per week?
This case is unprecedented where a chief executive and his cronies have joined forces resulting in a family's homelessness.
It is interesting that in all the comments on Cneifiwr's blog, and yours, no one has excused or supported the reprehensible action of the chief executive and the spineless lot supporting him.
But the problem is how to deal with the issue.
The rot needs to be removed but how?
Feelings are running high against the spineless councillors and their puppet master but nothing is being done apart from comments across blogging boards.
Until real action is taken to remove the cancer that currently runs through the council we will continue to go around in circles; james will instigate another shocker action, bloggers and board readers will throw their keyboards into meltdown condemning his actions and the fanning of councillors to him and the whole process will go full circle once more.
The man must be laughing his socks off at all us keyboard warriors and probably gives thanks to the Gods of money & deceit every Sunday in his exclusive Towy church for his bulging bank balance and brass neck.
The sooner some real action takes place to arrest his actions and those of his spineless blind followers the quicker the county can return to something resembling sanity. Pembrokeshire achieved it with parry-jones, there's no reason why Carmarthenshire cannot achieve it with james.
Would I be justified in assuming the executive board to be as culpable as Mark James especially if he returns his spoils to the council?
Come the local elections, do not vote for a councillor seeking re-election but for someone else - but make sure you do vote to maximise the efforts to unseat the present councillors ( but with one exception....)
I think there is more than one councillor who will take on board serious issues that exist in Carmarthenshire and with the amount of damning evidence in the public domain perhaps they will do the decent thing and join the ranks of the minority who are prepared to work for an end to the disastrous issues that plague members of the public.
Got a twitter account?
Then push for a wider audience and an investigation by bringing these matters to those that can do more: https://twitter.com/search?q=bbc%20xray&src=typd
The more people that knock the door the more chance it will be investigated.
The sooner tv journalists start investigating the sooner WAG will need to act.
This has really gone too far. In his own interest the Chief Executive should show some semblance of humanity and withdraw his claim
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