A simple question to the City Council:
“What is the most recent valuation of the Cunard Building; and which firm has given the valuation?”
Answer? It is worth £27 million but we cannot tell you how we arrived at that figure, nor can we tell you who the valuers were. Why? “We no longer hold any information on this… Our retention of emails or any other correspondence has nothing to do with our accountancy practices.” Honestly, you could not make this up!
It is either a farrago of lies, or gross incompetence. I do not wish to believe it is the former. Therefore, I looked for evidence of the latter, and found it in how they award contracts without exercising due diligence. Let me give an example.
The council awarded a company in the PHD1 Group a number of contracts. It went into administration some weeks ago – not unusual in the world of business – but did so after police stated in open court that PHD1’s chairman, Peter McInnes, associated with heroin dealers and laundered their money (incidentally, McInnes is nowhere listed as owner or director of PHD1 although he is quoted as its chairman).
Listed owner of the companies is family member Julie Caroline McInnes. On the 2nd February last, Ms McInnes registered a group of companies called the Bilt Group, and she is listed as their sole shareholder. Miraculously, as PHD1 went into administration, the contracts awarded to it by the City Council, were transferred to Bilt within days. These companies have shared directors and business addresses. Now they have shared contracts.
Now I may not be the world’s sharpest business person, but I would have thought that in these circumstances, the council would have seen fit to intervene in some way. That is, exercised due diligence about those with whom they are dealing. Apparently, they have chosen not to do so. Can anyone tell council tax payers what is going on??