The Same Old Song

One of the many problems associated with Liverpool City Council (LCC) is the sheer number and scale of the unanswered questions which are outstanding, concerning how it has been conducted over the last ten years or so. The Caller Report dealt with some rather narrow areas of council activity, but its findings were shocking to many. The police are plodding along with Operation Aloft – they have twenty officers full time on the case – investigating a relatively small number of nefarious transactions involving the council. The Labour Party is yet to show what it will do about those councillors who have, either by their actions or their complicit silence, brought the party into disrepute.

I thought of these matters when I read that Alistair Machray, former editor of the Liverpool Echo, had been appointed a board member of the Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre (ACC). The ACC is wholly owned by LCC, so someone in the council has obviously made a decision to appoint him. Remember that as editor of the Echo, he was responsible for its policy of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” when it came to LCC, depriving its readers of the truth of what was happening in their council. Equally important is the question of directors’ fees for those sitting on the ACC board.

Way back on 20/3/2018, I submitted an FoI request on these fees, having discovered that over £500,000 had been shelled out to the board in the previous year. Having heard nothing by 20/4/2018, I did a follow-up to LCC. Still, there was no response. In exasperation, I wrote again on the 19/5/2018, threatening LCC with the Information Commissioner. I received a brief and equivocal response, stating that no councillor or council officer on the board received these fees. There was nothing about who did get the fees, but there were only three directors left. That meant an average “earner” of £170,000 each for 3 or4 meetings per year. Yet another scandal – the then chief executive, the then mayor and the then deputy mayor all agreed this outrageous payout.

I have chanted the mantra about transparency and accountability for years. Latterly, I have added the need for prosecutions and convictions. Yet when I look at LCC, very little has changed. By and large, the same players continue to drag the city down. Allow me to run through just a sample of the outstanding issues which need resolution:

  1. The scams at the football ground car parks.
  2. The New Chinatown debacle.
  3. Fox Street Village and the Paramount Building, which although unsafe, still have people living in them.
  4. Tarmacademy – need I say more?
  5. North Liverpool Regeneration Company. Receiving £3.5 million from the public purse whilst being blacklisted by Ofsted for the “misuse” of £600,000 of taxpayers funding.

I could go on – we can each make our own list of priorities – but these are just a handful of the wholly dubious deals which have not, to my knowledge, been properly investigated as yet. Perhaps it is hoped that they might just fade away. No change in attitude there!

Yet we have Joe Anderson once again brazenly seeking legal fees from the council tax payers. In the course of his legal submission, he was linked with career criminal Thomas Mee! As a result, questions are now being asked about the connections between Anderson, Mee, Elliot Lawless, Andy Barr, Cllr Ann O’Byrne and Samuel Beilin. What a collection!

The latest individual to come under the microscope is eager self-publicist Kate Stewart, owner of the Sandon complex facing LFC’s Anfield stadium. There is a mystery as to how she allegedly became an unlisted tenant in the Cunard Building. This is taking her expressed wish to work with Joe Anderson too far, although links are being made between her and Cllr Joanne Calvert, daughter of Anderson.

Meanwhile, the news items continue to flow thick and fast. The city centre road works are running at £13 million over budget (think: Andy Barr and King Construction). North Point Global, with the Serious Fraud Office on their tail, owe the taxman £1.7million and investors £40 million (think: Peter McInnes). Regional press awards again feature the hapless Liam Thorpe (think: staunch defender of Joe Anderson’s administration). The new mayor is named as one of the most influential women in the United Kingdom (think: who she?!?).

Last Tuesday, the role of a “senior officer” in the council was discussed by a handpicked group of councillors. The meeting was held in camera – no press or public were allowed in. Is it, therefore, any wonder that respected NGO Transparency International placed LCC in category 5 of secretive public bodies (the range is from 1 to 6)?


9 thoughts on “The Same Old Song

  1. Outstanding analysis Peter once again the complicit Labour party staying Silent the have failed us all prosecution prosecution prosecution is needed


  2. I sent this article to the local Labour activist who lives on the Burns streets, he told me not to believe a word of it.
    Denial is an easy way of avoiding the truth.
    I will never vote Labour again

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This has been going on since the days of hatton and co.
    Oooh the irony, a morally and financially bankrupt council now. run by a twice bankrupt mayor.
    The people of Liverpool only have themselves to.blame,
    Suck it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can anyone explain to me how the (relatively) recent Local Plan hearing could go ahead, with so much ‘murk’ floating around the city? The criteria for a Local Plan hearing are: Legality, Soundness and Co-operation. Legality is easy to understand, since it relates to preparation of the plan. However, ‘soundness’ and ‘Co-operation’ are different matters altogether.
    I’m not being an armchair contributor here and did make written and oral submissions at the recent Local Plan hearings – and they took many hours of work to prepare. For what it’s worth, I came away disillusioned and regard Local Plan hearings as a total waste of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, I’m a native of Liverpool, and worked around the world since the 1970’s. It was my intention to return to my home city and retire. I had saved enough money for a deposit on an apartment at Infinity Waters, and made the deal in December 2019. You know what happened next!
    I was re-reading old newspaper articles on Elliot Lawless, particularly,
    how he “saved” the stalled Residence Development in Manchester.
    This appeared in the Liverpool Echo, on 9th March 2021.
    I quote:
    “My motivation throughout the administration process was to protect my investors. They helped me build my business and I was duty-bound to look out for them.”
    “I’ve worked tirelessly for twelve months on this and my thanks go to the administrators and to the investors for staying the course.”

    The investors’ deposits were £35 million in The Residence. They will receive approximately 25p in the £.
    Total losses, £25,250,000.
    Well done Elliot! A really good salvage job!
    We have formed an Infinity Investor Group and a Steering Committee(SC), to try and save our apartments, and not end up like the unfortunate Residence investors. You may know that the Administrators in these stalled developments (including Aura) are David Rubin & Partners. These became part of Begbie Traynor’s in March 2021.
    We have bid for the asset as an Investor Led Buy Out(ILBO). We have been rebuffed several times by DRP, who favour a bid by Legacie! Yes, the John Morley company. I have read your previous blogs on the connections between Lawless and Morley, via Equity Group, IQD Limited, Seychelles etc. So it is little surprise that DRP keep wheeling out Legacie. We are sure DRP, and in particular, their front man, Paul Cooper are part of this scam.
    In the last 48 hours an overseas friend of a member of our SC emailed him, and I quote our SC member: “…today a friend of mine in Cyprus was reached by a UK property agent (RW invest) and offered to sell him a studio at Infinity for £199K. They told him that the asset will be out from Admin and Elliot will sort things out with Creditors in 6-8 weeks!! …”
    RW Invest and Legacie are indeed in partnership.
    Another SC member comments:
    “RW Invest is a John Morley Company whose Bid is currently being favoured over our ILBO bid and who is clearly collaborating with Elliot Lawless as without his approval Tower A is totally blighted and has no value on the Open Market (non Elliot consortium or associate)”
    It’s a simple scam they have been using throughout the city. Start the Fractional Sales Development, gather in as much investor deposits as possible, go into Administration, give the investors a quarter of their money back, then resell the apartments to another group of investors. Nice work if you can get it!!!
    I always wonder if Legacie/Lawless were involved in the Parliament Residence, Baltic Triangle collapse.
    Question: remember Lawless illegally demolished the old Parr Street Mill following a fire, a few years back? Who was the demolition contractor? Was it that crook Thomas Mee?
    Thanks for all your help in this matter – it was was your original blog on the Morley-Lawless connection that has allowed us to make further investigations.


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