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SCANDALOUS SALFORD COUNCIL STILL REFUSES TO NAME WHO PAID FOR CITY MAYOR TRIP TO SOUTH OF FRANCE
 

Star date: 21st August 2018

SHOCKING COUNCIL SOLICITOR DECISION HAS HUGE IMPLICATIONS FOR DEMOCRACY AND TRANSPARENCY

Salford City Council is still refusing to name which companies or individuals paid for Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, and two staff to go to the MIPIM property event in the South of France earlier this year.

After the Salford Star requested an internal review into the Council's refusal to reveal the backers under the Freedom of Information Act, the city's solicitor has decided that there is a "public interest" in keeping it secret. The implications of this are shocking and staggering...

Full details here...


Salford Regeneration
click image to enlarge

Back in March, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett and two Council officers - Chief Executive Jim Taylor and Head of Development, Shelagh McNerney ? travelled to the MIPIM property orgy in Cannes, famous for yachts, parties and flowing champagne, to launch the Crescent Masterplan, mingling with developers like Tom Bloxham and Gary Neville.*

A Salford Star Freedom of Information request to Salford City Council revealed that the cost of the trip was ?4,022, paid for by "private sector contributions".** A further Freedom of Information request was submitted, asking which 'private sector' companies or individuals were involved in the payments but this was refused.

The Star asked for an internal inquiry into the decision on 19th June and now, over two months later, the Council solicitor, Miranda Carruthers-Watt, has responded, standing by the original decision not to reveal the names...as there would be a "Clear harm...to the city's economic interests", and it's in the "public interest" to keep it secret...

"In terms of the public interest test, there is a clear public interest in transparency in regard to the receipt of monies from external organisations and how this money is spent" the solicitor states "However, in this instance we have concluded that transparency has been achieved through the publication of the total amount received in external contributions and that the public interest in being able to seek and secure external contributions in order to be able to participate in such activities outweighs arguments favouring disclosure due to the impacts described above."

This is absolute bollocks. The fact that anonymous private companies/individuals pay for the Mayor and staff to go to the South of France is loaded with potential conflicts of interest.

"Disclosure of details of the external contributions received could discourage organisations from making such contributions in future" the solicitor adds "This would likely limit the extent of the council's participation in the event in future and impact on our attempts to attract investment to the city. This would be directly contrary to the council's commercial interests and the wider social and economic interests of Salford. On this basis, it is my view that a clear harm to the council's commercial interests and the city's economic interests can be demonstrated and, for this reason, I am in agreement that the exemption at section 43(2) applies in this case."

Again, this is absolute bollocks. What the solicitor is implying is that private companies/individuals who hand secret money to the Council and Mayor should be protected. The implications of this are shocking and staggering.

While this South of France payment was for only ?4,000, does the same apply if a private company, perhaps one that is looking to controversially develop land, handed the Mayor and Council ?1million via the back door?

The Salford Star has today written to the Information Commissioner (yet again!) asking for a further judgement on the scandalous decision.


For a full background see previous Salford Star articles...

* Salford City Mayor Off To Huge Property Bash In The South of France ? click here

** Salford Council Blocks Freedom of Information Request on ?4,000 MIPIM Trip ? click here

Salford Council Spends ?5,750 on MIPIM PR in South of France ? click here

Salford Council Launches Crescent Masterplan 'Soul Not For Sale' Video ? With American Narrator - click here

Salford Masterplanners Confirm Demolition of Old Crescent Police HQ - click here

Secrecy Reigns at Salford Council Over Regeneration ? click here

Salford Council Banner Declares 'Transparency' Despite Everything Being Secret ? click here

Conditions Ripe For Corruption in Local Government States Transparency International Report ? click here

Main photo shows Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, at MIPIM, complete with Manchester lanyard

George Osborne wrote
at 06:12:57 on 04 September 2018
A very good point made, this council needs to be investigated by police/regulatory body. I am looking into the process of referral. I note the semi illiterate start making a noise as soon as Dennet is called to account which says more about him than the issues. Did Dennet not say 'not another penny to the 'Bell End'(sic) stadium' then another 700k to add to the 25M this is beyond parody; what with a crumbling Eccles, food banks, cuts to children's services, roads which resemble a lunar surface, junkets for the city director and that Damned mayor something needs to be done!
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 12:38:08 on 24 August 2018
I was watching newsnight last night on the BBC. Labour loudmouth journalist Owen Jones was spouting on about how the right wing press is always biased against the Labour party,and always distorting things against it. The ruling Labour party in Salford makes the same allegations against The Star, and says that this is why it refuses to give interviews and information to the Star, information that the Salford public with a free press have a right to know. Would the Star welcome any inquiry into any biased reporting by Mr Jones , and if so could they make it known to him and also the newsnight team? We would like to be informed of Mr Jones findings if he takes the trouble to look at these allegations. The Newsnight team are also not without sin. a few nights ago their report about the elections in Kersal were inaccurate .
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 21:15:15 on 23 August 2018
Why did he have to go abroad in the first place? Foreign capitalist finance is worse than British capitalist finance. The profits go abroad. Who is going to pay for these profits that are being exported? The young people who have not got the bank of mum and dad to get them on this bullshit housing ladder, the ones who have to rent. My advice to these youngsters? Piss off abroad. Put your your fingers up at the tories and labour. Let them whistle for the money they paid to send you to uni.Go to Aus,NZ or Canada, you can drag your mums and dads over there when they retire. I told my son and daughter to go , I would love to flog up and go when I retire in a couple of years. Buggers wont go though.
 
white wrote
at 14:21:30 on 23 August 2018
It?s taken a long while but I have finally got Mr. Rossi sorted. I am annoyed that it has taken me so long. He is truly the satirical master of irony and sarcasm, who?s only desire is to amuse and entertain us, with his ?beloved Dennet? quips and much, much more, but also to make us think and consider more deeply the exposed faults of our council and mayor. Keep it up Paul, long may you continue. You are irreplaceable, we will miss you should you ever stop.
 
Legend wrote
at 11:33:55 on 23 August 2018
Yes Mayor Paul continuing the legacy or Mayor Ian. The Lemmings just keep on trusting.
 
Rossi advises ... wrote
at 09:15:24 on 23 August 2018
Cody. Be quiet. Be a good lad and just leave it to Mayor Paul. He'll get it sorted. He always does. That's why He's Our Mayor. And that's why we love Him ...
 
Felse wrote
at 09:15:16 on 23 August 2018
I am sure there is nothing sinister behind this story. I urge Salford Council to clear the air. I simply say give Salford Star the facts. Council and Businesses working together is good for Salford. Bee Happy and Bee Proud of our City because as we enter post Brexit we will need big businesses, jobs and partnerships galore. I have enjoyed reading Salford Star stories while I am away in Ireland (paid for my myself). Please let me add my best of luck wishes to Peter Wheeler. I campaigned with him and the team for Labour in the good old days when I first moved to Salford. Let me say he always listened and replied to the door step questions.
 
Cody wrote
at 07:45:04 on 23 August 2018
Why do the majority of people not see this as a conflict of interest and blatantly not transparent? Why is this not in the MEN and elsewhere? They're just making a mockery of their claim to be transparent and making people question whether they have took money from a developer/s and if they've possibly accepted more elsewhere.
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 07:43:29 on 23 August 2018
It's not just MP'S who HAVE to declare any gifts or freebies. So as 2 councillors went,will they not have to declare this trip and how it was funded ??
 
DavidWright wrote
at 16:51:38 on 22 August 2018
Mr.Rossi seems to have found religion. It may not be the first stone cast, but he seems to have lobbed the odd one at the scabrous foaming at the mouth with incandescent rage types, who have dared to comment critically about his beloved Dennet. Mr. Dennet did not simply go on a business trip to Cannes with a couple of councillors. He and his fellow councillors went on a trip funded by an anonymous donor. A donor who paid and wishes to remain anonymous for some unknown reason. Mr. Dennet clearly believes should have more rights and privileges than our elected MPs, who would have to fully disclose any such arrangement; and Mr. Rossi is clearly of the same misguided opinion. One wonders why.
 
Retired Socialist wrote
at 16:51:18 on 22 August 2018
Mr Rossi I bet Jesus never went in a ?4000.00 PISSUP if you hide the base cost what of the possible high scale abuse? you must show transparency other wise people can ask of your credibility as a civic leader.
 
Malcolm Nicholls wrote
at 04:37:02 on 22 August 2018
Once again Salford city council hide behind closed doors. You need to come out and tell the people of Salford why you all like to hide behind closed doors
 
Rossi Preaches .... wrote
at 04:36:28 on 22 August 2018
I think that we have to give Paul the benefit of the doubt here. After all, he's hardly in the same league as Vito Ciancimino, is he? For those not in the know, Vito was a notoriously corrupt Sicillian Mayor and politician who was in the pocket of Boss of Bosses, Bernado Provenzano. In Paul's case he's not even bent. He simply went on a business trip to Canne with a couple of councillors. Big deal. Personally, I believe that you scabrous foaming at the mouth with incandescent rage types, need to just take a step backwards and have a good look at yourselves in the mirror. As Jesus said, He who is without sin cast the first stone ... well, as I, Philip Giuseppe Rossi say, Are any of you without sin? No, I didn't think so.
 
stuart morris wrote
at 04:35:40 on 22 August 2018
i think we should all stop paying our council tax until we are given the details you ask for
 
Retired Socialist wrote
at 18:12:32 on 21 August 2018
When a city votes out viable opposition it creates the problems we today see. Labour and Mr Dennet can do what they please without concern. The only time Dennett and his cronies concede and listen is late April after that they don't give a shit. We are to blame the apathetic of Salford. The story reeks, transparency is a word Labour would have problems finding in a dictionary.
 
Alexander Smethurst wrote
at 18:12:24 on 21 August 2018
It should be examined in public without delay. Regards Alex Smethurst
 
Alice wrote
at 18:12:08 on 21 August 2018
I believe that MPs have to declare gifts and financial assistance such as that received by our Council representatives. Surely the same principle applies to Councils. If I was given a gift of money I would be under obligation to return the favour either in kind or opportunity. Of course, publishing the names of individuals or companies might be judged damaging to these parties but disclosing this information allows the public to make judgements and uncover bribery and corruption. That's why transparency is so important. What we have now is suspicion.
 
Jon Grieves wrote
at 13:16:31 on 21 August 2018
Well if they don't disclose such a small amount for a trip like this put through the books. Can we trust they won't be tempted to take cash from the backers to sway future decisions on future developments. I am not saying that the Mayor and his entourage are bent or anything, however every one bends for a price. And we are talking about contracts for multiple of millions.
 
Mary ferrer wrote
at 12:41:26 on 21 August 2018
So one of the developers working on the crescent plan have paid for this trip.somewhat dodgy to say the least.A developer who has planning permission or one applying? ??
 
bob wrote
at 11:59:01 on 21 August 2018
Lets be Honest with ourselves Salford City Council (Labour Run), has always been secretive and have many things to hide. As a person who has two relatives for councillors, I would never Vote Labour in Salford. I have seen and heard too much drunken talk at parties. Salford will always be corrupt as long as we have the same people running the council year after year.
 
william swain wrote
at 11:58:37 on 21 August 2018
Salford city council don't care at all I look after a disabled lady and over the last 12 months me and the lady have paid for her care and I asked for help all the time ande now they say they wont reimburse us cause it wasn't sanctioned but why not I asked for help as I,m ill but they don't care but think how much they saved when she had no services thousands it stinks but I,m not shocked
 
Gareth L wrote
at 11:58:22 on 21 August 2018
Graham Jarvis is quite correct in my opinion, it must be a case for the police or a regulatory body. If unnamed sources are paying for council trips then this is a clear conflict as it easily calls into question the integrity of council employees when handing out contracts etc.
 
Ian Stayup wrote
at 09:38:03 on 21 August 2018
Well done Salford Star . The stench of corruption hangs heavy over this shafted dead city .
 
Graham Jarvis wrote
at 09:37:56 on 21 August 2018
I say call in the police or the fraud squad
 
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