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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Council Committee decides to take no action over our Charity's disgraced former Chairman

THE Council Committee known as the Alexandra Palace Trust Board recently decided to take no action to recover any of the £1.5m to $2m loss occasioned by the Licence to Firoka. The Licence was promoted by Councillor Charles Adje before he left as chairman.

If Cllr Adje dropped a lit match on our Charity's cash, then it was other councillors who sat by their fire extinguishers for eight months as the fire took hold. And the Trust Solicitor was Chief Fire Warden.

 

The Trust Solicitor's report on this matter appears on this Council webpage; it was previously "Council Exempt" (private). But our taxes pay for it. I regard the report as a travesty and a waste of time and of our money.

I've filed an FoI on the cost of this report. Following previous suggestion by Cllr. Alan Stanton, I've made this request via a public web-site (What do they know?) for purposes of transparency.

 

What has long been needed, is for an independent solicitor, with expertise in Trust and Charity law, to conduct an assessment of liability for the crippling losses in our charity. Investigator Martin Walklate aptly described Cllr Adje as having opened the door to those losses. Others left the door open for eight months.

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Tags for Forum Posts: adje, alexandra, chairman, charity, palace, solicitor, travesty, trust, trustee

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Hi Clive - thanks for this. Occupy Ally Pally!

It seems to me that we're all 'governed' in almost all the key areas of our lives - government being pervasive.

Promoting a governance model seems important - local government aren't going away any time soon.

You seem to rely on a Cllr-led committee structure filled with 'independent experts' to give us the best outcomes but (forgive my cynicism) so called 'experts' can be easily manipulated and have vested interests themselves.

 

I just don't buy the idea that this would help stop the Alexandra Palace Trust Board committing folly after folly.

'Independent experts' are not really independent - they don't initiate - they're obliged to respond to the cttee's requests.

A cttee can get schemes further endorsed and protect themselves by manipulating the experts. In a way, they need the protection of expertise to relieve them of the burden of justifying their actions - they can say they acted on the best advice they were able to obtain (qf the Iraq war).

For instance, to dispose of our public asset to a private company, a Cttee can commission a report along the lines of:

'Analysis of the lease proposal'

from, say,

>>an independent solicitor, with expertise in Trust and Charity law (I would add 'local' to that)

The solicitor's report may conclude that the lease is legal. In other words, a justification of the Trust's decision.

If the report contains warnings, they are 'taken into consideration' by the cttee - in other words, ignored.

If the report is too damning, the Cttee simply ignores it and replaces the author.

The nature of solicitors is that they are hardly ever damning - they're too conservative for that, especially when predicting alternatives. Very few solicitors will initiate an alternative to submit to the Cttee that retains them. 

Reports demonstrate author prejudice.  Do we need another Cttee to vet and allocate experts 'blind'?

The Cttee, by asking the wrong questions of the wrong experts, can so muddy the situation that they self-justify - only the Cttee members are in a position to arbitrate, so they cherry pick to validate themselves.

This is municipalism gone mad.

So, we're back to where we started - a Cttee with a will of it's own, able to make mistakes that harm us. What to do?

Hi Chris

As far as how and why Firoka Licence was terminated, the Walklate 2 report had only a few comments, since it was mainly aimed at former the general manager (K. Holder) and assessing him for liability (similar conclusions were arrived at).

In paragraph 159 of Walklate 2, investigator Martin Walklate says:

 

"It appears that it is the local authority actions in regard to the exposition of the licence and its importance to determining an appropriate strategy with Firoka that generates the eventual revocation of the licence.

It ls at this time that a letter is received from Jacob O'Callaghan, via the District Auditor, questioning the potential breach of trust of the continued licence agreement which leads the Trust legal adviser to seek a better understanding of the licence and to advise the General Manager to work towards rapid revocation.

Correspondence once again includes Keith Holder further contradicting his view of exclusion."

 

[emphasis added; All three of the Walklate Reports are in the public domain] BTW, you and most most people (i.e. the public of north London) reading this, are Beneficiaries of the Charitable Trust.

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So provided there are people who care enough to examine proceedings, hopefully we'll be able to put a stop to bad stuff - is that what you mean?

Would you go further and say that if the Board contained 'independent experts' they'd be more likely to prevent wrong doing than residents would?

Chris the history of control (or lack thereof) by our Charity's Board (actually a committee of the council), is too long and complex to relate on HoL, although Hugh will probably think I've already done so!

Here is a potted summary of the last 30 years of direct political control of our Charitable Trust (scroll down to "Securing the Future"). Do you see any pattern?

 

The Council has agreed to make a response to the FoI request on the cost of our Charity Solicitor's Report by 7 December.

 

 What do they know?

 

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The reply I've had today is that the cost of this report is estimated to be £3,300, net of VAT.

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