London development Agency, Lottery funding of the Olympics, lee Jasper, Yvonne Thompson and very confusing accounts of public expendture
London Development Agency's Resources and Risk Committee, led by the LDA's Statutory Finance Officer, with the support of Deloitte, its internal auditor has reviewed and reported on allegations about LDA funded projects published in the Evening Standard on 5, 6, 10 and 17 December 2007.
The full report is available here and the details of the Evening Standard allegations here.
Red Ken's office issued a release as well. The Evening Standard has riposted with an article
by Andrew Gilligan "MPs seek full inquiry into City Hall grants scandal"
Briefly, the Evening Standard newspaper and it's ace reporter Andrew Gilligan, nemesis (unwittingly ) of Dr David Kelly, had alleged that LDA contracts and funding were awarded to organisations because of their personal friendships with the Mayor's advisor Lee Jasper or because of inappropriate interference by Mr Jasper. The review has found that this was not true and the Press release detaining the 11 detailed conclusions is available here.
Some statements made in the Evening Standard relate to allegations that private individuals appropriated money from organisations to which the LDA had given funds. The LDA has limited powers to investigate such charges as it cannot sequester bank accounts, force disclosure of emails or accounts, or interrogate individuals, beat them up, set up loaded Tribunals headed by retired judges etc. In order to remove all ambiguities regarding any remaining charges the LDA has referred any such cases to the police to examine.
It is worth noting that the Board of LDA in reviewing the report say ..."in respect of the three projects mentioned by the Evening Standard which the LDA has referred to the Police, that the agency had already identified areas of concerns and was in any event pursuing follow-on action. "
Mysteriously, they add ... "With regard to the inaccurate and misleading statements covered by the Evening Standard and others, the Board further recognised that our concerns would be registered with the Evening Standard and any other relevant bodies." .. of course why stir up a hornet's nest and have all the sordid evidence examined in court, raise huge legal fees, with the prospect of danages, libel claims etc., when the Board recognise(s):
..."the importance of the agency in continuing to deliver its key priorities for London, including the 2012 Games and to not allow itself to be diverted by these predominantly unfounded allegations. "
Especially when LDA admitted yesterday that land owned by them and bought with Lottery cash may only be worth £800 Mn by 2012 and not £1.8Mn leaving a "black hole" of £1 Bn after basing future land values on a "reasonable" 6% annual growth and not the projected insanely ambitious 16% over 20 years. (Bad news for developers in places like Tamesis and other friends of Len Duvall)
As a result of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport James Purnell's (Stalybridge & Balliol and one time Chairman of the Labour Friends of Israel and at 37 youngest member of the Cabinet) prudence and his claim that “I can confirm today that there will be no further diversion from the Lottery Good Causes to fund the Olympics.” BBC
Who also added , contrary to all evidence and logic that ..."There is no black hole in the Olympic budget." No stranger to financial black holes he is the most expensive MP in the Greater Manchester area. ****
The Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund Order was casually passed through providing the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund with £1,108,000 Mn funds up to 2012 ..
The schedule for which is ..
Payments into the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund
1.—(1) The Secretary of State is permitted to make the following payments from the National Lottery Distribution Fund into the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund—
(a) on or after 1st February 2009, £73 million;
(b) on or after 1st May 2009, £73 million;
(c) on or after 1st August 2009, £73 million;
(d) on or after 1st November 2009, £73 million;
(e) on or after 1st February 2010, £73 million;
(f) on or after 1st May 2010, £73 million;
(g) on or after 1st August 2010, £73 million;
(h) on or after 1st November 2010, £73 million;
(i) on or after 1st February 2011, £73 million;
(j) on or after 1st May 2011, £73 million;
(k) on or after 1st August 2011, £73 million;
(l) on or after 1st November 2011, £73 million;
(m) on or after 1st February 2012, £73 million;
(n) on or after 1st May 2012, £68 million;
(o) on or after 1st August 2012, £68 million. - 1652 days to the Grand Opening - that's £650,000 per day (give or take a few quid) EVERY fucking day. See logo with results of BBC Online poll.
Even after handsome Culture Secretary James Parnell promised yesterday that no more Lottery funds would therefore be directed to the Olympics the House divided on the issue and the vote was Ayes - 357 Noes - 9. The Question was agreed to.
See -Hansard Votes and Proceedings 15th January 2008.
David Barrie of the Art Fund says that this shortfall is "disastrous"
He wrote recently in the Financial Times recently about Arts funding in the UK ... "There's a longer-term problem too, about capital investment: the National Lottery enabled many museums (There are 1,800 museums and galleries in the UK) to transform themselves in the 1990s but the Olympic "raid" means the boom years are unlikely ever to return." he also added that ..."The outlook is grim. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport - under intense pressure from the Treasury - has told the nationals (Museums) to prepare for significant cuts following the current spending review. "
As the catastrophic dispersal of Lottery funds by Government fiat on the ephemeral Olympics rises ever upward , from the deliberately falsified £2.4 MN in the brief for Singapore in 2005 to at least £9.3 Bn in March 2007 BBC Online March 15th 2007 .."The budget for the 2012 London Olympics has risen to £9.35bn, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has told MPs. " - the future looks even bleaker for Arts funding.
David Barrie raised this vital point
..."The "creative industries", which the government so frequently claims as one of the great British success stories of recent years, depend on the existence of thriving artistic, scientific and educational communities. If, as ministers argue, the creative industries are of crucial importance to the future prosperity of this country, then someone will need to invest the relatively modest sums that are needed to ensure the continued prosperity of the museums and galleries that help to nourish them. "Today in the Financial Times Nicholas Hytner, the director of the National Theatre is quoted
saying that the planned cuts in Arts Council funding with 200 institutions have their funding withdrawn , “ill-thought through and very unfair to those organisations that have been told to prepare for cuts”. The Guradian report him saying " "On behalf of the entire theatre, I look at what has happened over the last few weeks with total dismay."
Perhaps just as well then that the LDA have sensibly decided that ......"the importance of the agency in continuing to deliver its key priorities for London, including the 2012 Games and to not allow itself to be diverted by these predominantly unfounded allegations. "
Which leaves the Editor and Andrew Gilligan of the Evening Standard free to repeat (and anyone else) the allegations about Lee Jasper's activities, such as "Yvonne Thompson (pic) is a friend of Lee Jasper and accompanied him on a trip to New York at the LDA’s expense - which was £5,192 in transportation and accommodation costs." - The LDA is aware only of normal LDA/GLA interaction between Lee Jasper and Yvonne Thompson.
" ...the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners (EFBWBO), of which Yvonne Thompson was a director, received £25,000 from the LDA but was a dormant company and its accounts showed no such income." . A review of financial statements submitted to Companies House by EFBWBO for the financial years ended February 2004, 2005 and 2006 all indicate that the company was dormant and received no income and incurred no expenditure. The financial statements were signed by Yvonne Thompson.....There is a need to further investigate the discrepancy between amounts recorded as paid to EFBWBO and the financial statements submitted by that organisation.
Yvonne is not only a glamorous reality TV show star Channel 4's Millionaire's Mission) , she is a graduate of Common Purpose , an influential advisor in government campaigns such as New Deal In The Community, Supply London, Chairman of Learning & Skills Council overseeing spending £322 MN in London and Women’s Enterprise Task Force, but also an aide to Red Ken and LDA Board member - total spend £1.3 Bn. She is also "one of Britain's most inspirational achievers in media and marketing," and chairman of the African Caribbean Business Network (ACBN) claimed to have 2,500 members, but the income from membership subscriptions in the accounts suggests that it may actually have had only 4 paid-up members. They received grants totalling £990,000 from the LDA. She is also a paid up member of the glasses fiddler and twirler Baroness Amos fan club and a reported self made millionaire from her building up the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners (EFBWBO) .
Which is odd because the LDA review found (see above - and we repeat) in examining financial statements submitted to Companies House by EFBWBO for the financial years ended February 2004, 2005 and 2006 all indicated that the company was dormant and received no income and incurred no expenditure. The financial statements were signed by Yvonne Thompson.
"the Deshbangla Foundation (DB), run by Kumar Murshid, former LDA Board Member, received £30,000 in LDA grants that ‘vanished’ because DB has never filed any accounts." DB financial statements submitted to Companies House for the period indicate no income or expenditure; no records of DB filing accounts can be identified on the Charity Commission database - The review has revealed weaknesses in LDA project management and record keeping."
**** Controversy dogs poor
Paul Diggett Labour candidate for Cheadle in 1997 and school Governor, one of James Purnell's political researchers was convicted after pleading guilty to 4 specimen charges in January 2004 of downloading child pornography from Purnell's PC, without the MP's knowledge. Paedo shame of ex-Labour politician
The famous photograph outside Tameside Hospital with / without Purnell had appaered on adjoining Labour MP's blog site of Andrew Gwynne but has unaccountably disappeared .. but may be found here.
Anyway here is Andrew Gwynne welcoming Gordon Brown , the current Leader of theNU - Labour party (and Prime Minister) being welcomed last summer to the Labour Friends of Israel during the Manchester NU Labour Party shindig 2008.
Readers will recall that The Prime Minister spoke at this occasion and made some interesting remarks ...
"when I was growing up, Kirkcaldy and Tel Aviv were linked very closely because my father used to spend many weeks in Israel, he was the chairman of the Church of Scotland’s Israel Committee, "
"I will continue to do what I can both to defend Israel and to protect the security of Israel’s borders "
"I have strong sense of the injustices that have been done to the Jewish people over
these years and that is why as Chancellor, I wanted to put money into the Holocaust Educational Trust"