In yet another example of the disgraceful way Glasgow City Council operates, we see Labour Councillors paying off their chums from regeneration budgets while those they have displaced or evicted are ignored. The Sunday Herald reported yesterday that Ronnie Saez, pals with Frank McAveety, Labour MSP, and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, had been made redundant with a payoff of £500,000 approved by City Councillors Catherine McMaster, George Redmond and James Coleman.
That’s the same James Coleman who told Margaret Jaconelli and her family to ‘take it on the chin’ when she was brutally evicted so developers can profit from the Athlete’s Village. She still has received no compensation. Oh, and yes it’s the same George Redmond who promised users and carers of The Accord Centre a brand new purpose built facility as a legacy of Glasgow 2014 … but then somehow the £200k they were promised wasn’t there anymore.
Budget cuts, apparently.
Fortunately for Ronnie, budget cuts don’t apply to mates, so he’s sitting pretty.
Allow us to remind you of other Council pals who have had their pockets lined by our elected representatives. First, there’s Mr Graham Duffy, the failed businessman who attempted to take over Rangers Football Club back in 2009. Duffy owned Grantly Developments (Parkhead) who had been holding onto derelict land on Millerfield Road in Dalmarnock since 1988. Once the area was named the site for the Athlete’s Village, Duffy brokered a £5.5 million deal with the Council for the land – a staggering 12,000% increase in the land value since it’s original purchase.
Then there’s Allan Stewart and Steve McKenna, Labour party donors, who built a property empire together, one arm of which was called Stewart and McKenna Ltd and went bust in 2010 owing a massive tax bill. Stewart & McKenna Ltd had also bought property in Dalmarnock in 2006 for £1.6 million, just over the road from Mrs Jaconelli and her family. When the Athlete’s Village was announced for the site, Council paid them £1 for the land, plus a £1.7m amount and then ‘gifted’ them another valuable parcel of land around the corner. Oh, and Steven Purcell took a position on their charity foundation, too.
Another deal saw former Rangers owner David Murray’s company paid £5.1m for land it bought for £375,000 a few years before.
And finally there’s Charles Price, owner of the subsidiary company Springfield Properties No. 1 Ltd. Price bought property along Springfield Road in 2005-2006 for an amount believed to be around £8million, and then sold it to the Council for £17,000,000 in 2008. Council’s payment represented a 409% increase in the value of the land since Price’s 2005 purchase. Price was paid around £1m over the valuation price recommended by independent valuers to Council. Some of these deals, plus others, are now being investigated by Strathclyde Police as reported by the BBC.
As we know from the case of the Jaconelli family and the local shopowners who have all been forced out through the brutal use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s), the Council has powers of compulsory purchase. these powers are allegedly designed to protect the public purse, and could be used to drastically limit costs in all the cases above. However, in these cases they managed to ‘come to an agreement’ (a very expensive one for taxpayers). Once again, the evidence is clear, the Council take care of their pals, but ignore and victimise local people.
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