View Full Version : Norwich Sheltered Housing Scandal

10th Jan 2009, 15:49
Going back a while now, this was discussed on a previous thread.

Housing chief sacked over eviction scandal (http://www.orange.co.uk/news/topstories/21761.htm?linkfrom=hp3&link=ticker_pos_1_link_4&article=index)

Comeuppance or over reaction?


10th Jan 2009, 16:36
No doubt she is now entitled to go on the housing list... :hmm:

10th Jan 2009, 18:08
Also no doubt, she will be considering/taking an action for wrongful dismissal.

Sir Lee B´stard
10th Jan 2009, 19:03
There are dire undertones to this matter that go to the heart of our society, what was it from Hamlet......¨the arrogance of the rich, the insolence of office¨ Probably inaccurate in quotation but precise in sentiment.

Widen the powers and duties of the NAO.

10th Jan 2009, 19:09
The same NAO, whose (ex) boss enjoyed the high-life at taxpayers cost, as reported in Private Eye:

Let them eat Ritz crackers!

THOUGH Private Eye exposed enough of former National Audit Office boss Sir John Bourn’s junketing for him to resign a year ago, the NAO consistently refused to divulge the names of the 160 “UK contacts” he himself took out to lunch and dinner at taxpayers’ expense in just three years.
Until now, that is. The Information Commissioner has decided that their disclosure is in the public interest – and Private Eye is happy to pass the names on to the public who may indeed find them very interesting.
Most lavish hospitality was reserved for the captains of industry who had routinely hosted Bourn and his wife at social and sporting events (see The Bourn Complicity, Eye 1218). Thus in October 2006 taxpayers forked out £301 for a dinner for Bourn and BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner while his firm faced a string of bribery allegations. (Former BAE Systems chairman Sir Dick Evans went one better, enjoying a lunch and dinner at the Ritz.)
Meanwhile Bill Thomas, UK boss of the government’s largest IT supplier, EDS, was also a popular guest as his firm escaped NAO investigation for a string of cock-ups. Bourn treated him, on the NAO credit card, to two dinners at the Ritz, a dinner at the Savoy and lunch at Wiltons for a total of £894. Tasty!
What follow are the bald hospitality expenses sheets dragged out of the National Audit Office by the Information Commissioner at the Eye’s behest. If you find them hard to stomach, skip down to Eye reporter Richard Brooks’ explanatory table. This sets out what might have been on the unofficial menu during Sir John’s higher profile chinwags over lunch and dinner.

Whats the difference between him on all his junkets and the council staff getting cheap housing? Answers on a post card

Two's in
10th Jan 2009, 19:12
Widen the powers and duties of the NAO.

You mean beyond those that allowed Sir John Bourne and his wife to glad hand around to every international junket going for years demonstrating the very behaviour that the NAO was supposed to prevent? Surely some mistake.

Sir Lee B´stard
10th Jan 2009, 20:14
Point taken, I can only apologise for nearly six and a half decades of honest living and blind stupidity when it comes to the ever increasing venality of this world.

My heart breaks for decent young people today.

10th Jan 2009, 21:02
I saw a report on the news today and it beggars belief that very elderly and vulnerable people were given notice of eviction by being lied to and then members of this council were offered (internally) bargain accomodations for their own use of £48 per week for a bungalow....

We really are b'stards aren't we, people I mean. I can only hope that these miscreants are prosecuted for elder-abuse/misappropriation of council property and so on. :mad::mad::mad:



10th Jan 2009, 22:52
I expect 'lessons have been learned' and they are 'retraining staff' - and that's the best you'll get.

11th Jan 2009, 00:38
Whilst I in no way condone the actions of these councillors, I believe that the properties were scheduled for demolition and redevelopment.
Work could not start until all the existing tenants were rehoused.
Some had already 'left' - leaving empty properties that could have been targeted by vandals or squatters. Tenancies were granted to council employees who were aware that their tenure only lasted until the remaining original tenants had been rehoused when they would be required to vacate the premises at short notice to allow demolition.
If those offered tenancy had had nothing to do with the council then the story would have had a completely different slant.
Our local council 'evacuated' properties in anticipation of a sale of the site to a developer, however, the economic climate has meant that the sale has been shelved. The dwellings (there are associated industrial premises) do not meet current standards required for letting so must stand empty and cannot be relet without extensive (and expensive) improvements (and certification).

There's often two sides to a story . . .

11th Jan 2009, 00:45
Aw you guys are a bunch of amateurs over there. :=

Now here is a sterling example of our Democratic Party in action. :p

From the AP.

Baltimore Mayor, 'Grinch of Worst Kind,' Indicted for Perjury,Theft

Mayor Sheila Dixon allegedly went to Best Buy and spent gift cards for needy families on a digital camcorder and a PlayStation 2 controller, among other goods.

Friday, January 09, 2009

BALTIMORE -- From Best Buy to Saks Fifth Avenue, from Old Navy to Giorgio Armani, prosecutors allege Mayor Sheila Dixon went shopping in a big way with other people's money.
Dixon was indicted Friday on 12 counts, including perjury and theft, mostly for activity that occurred while she was City Council president. And most of the charges against her suggest an affinity for both high-end and big-box retail.
At one point in December 2005, the indictment says, Dixon brazenly called an unnamed developer and hit him up for $500 worth of Best Buy gift cards, which she said would be donated to needy families.
Instead, five days later -- and a week before Christmas -- the future mayor allegedly strolled into a Best Buy in downtown Baltimore and spent 19 of the 20 gift cards, walking out with a digital camcorder and a PlayStation 2 controller, among other goods.
Similar scenarios played out several times, always around Christmas, always with gift cards that, at least in name, were supposed to be handed out to the poor, the indictment says.
"The allegation is that she stole from little children at Christmastime," said David Gray, a law professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. "The indictment is alleging that she was a Grinch of the worst kind."
The indictment against Dixon was the culmination of a wide-ranging investigation of city government that lasted nearly three years. It includes no allegations that she let cash or gifts influence the way she did her job. But at the very least, it hints that the mayor, whose salary is $151,700, likes to shop but would rather not have to pay.
The charges against Dixon include four counts of perjury and two counts of theft under $500. The perjury counts relate to her failure to disclose gifts from Ronald H. Lipscomb, a developer who received tax breaks from the city.
Lipscomb, who dated Dixon briefly in late 2003 and early 2004, first bought gift cards for Dixon under the auspices of handing them out to the poor in December 2004, according to the indictment. Dixon held onto them for a year before using them during her Christmas shopping in 2005, the indictment says.
The same thing went on in 2005 and 2006, the indictment says, including that 2005 gift from a different developer. And in 2007, Dixon allegedly received Toys R Us gift cards from a city employee and gave one to a staffer, keeping several more.
During a lengthy denunciation of the indictment, Dixon's attorney, Arnold M. Weiner, said most of the gift cards she received went to the intended recipients and characterized the ones she kept for herself as private gifts that she was under no obligation to disclose.
"I am being unfairly accused," Dixon said in a statement. "Time will prove that I have done nothing wrong, and I am confident that I will be found innocent of these charges."
Dixon said she would not step down, and public appearances for Saturday remained on her schedule. "I will not let these charges deter me from keeping Baltimore on the path that we have set," she said.
Dixon, a 55-year-old Democrat, served on the City Council from 1987 through 2007 and as council president from 1999 through 2007. She became mayor in January 2007, finishing the term of Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, and was easily elected to a full, four-year term later that year.
The state prosecutor's investigation has overshadowed her tenure as mayor. While many political observers worried that an indictment could come at any time, the mayor nonetheless earned praise for efficient management, shrewd hiring and coolheaded responses to crises.
The most recent bit of good news to emerge during her tenure: a historic drop in homicides. Baltimore recorded 234 slayings in 2008, its lowest total in 20 years.
City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and City Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector were quick to defend Dixon and praise her performance as mayor. Some residents, too, weren't convinced she did anything wrong.
Construction worker Michael Scott said he believes the allegations were racially motivated. Dixon is the first black woman to serve as mayor of Baltimore.
"I'm pretty sure they got it twisted up," Scott said. "They could be saying anything just to drag her down. Prove it to me."
After consulting with City Solicitor George Nilson, Weiner said the charges would not affect Dixon's ability to continue in her job.
The charges of theft over $500 are felonies and each carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Each perjury count carries a maximum of 10 years; misappropriation by a fiduciary carries 5 years; misdemeanor theft carries at most 18 months; and misconduct in office has no specific penalties.
Dixon's attorney accused State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh of unfairly targeting Dixon and coming up with unimpressive charges, noting she was not accused of bribery.
"Sheila Dixon has been the state prosecutor's singular, personal obsession over the past four years," said Weiner. "There wasn't a bedsheet that he failed to look under or a lead that he found too trivial for him to pursue personally."
Rohrbaugh declined through his office to respond to Weiner's statements.
The indictment against Dixon does not name Lipscomb, who was indicted Wednesday on one charge of bribing a City Council member. But Weiner confirmed Lipscomb was "Developer A" mentioned in the indictment who showered the mayor with gifts and took several trips with her in late 2003 and early 2004.
Both were married at the time, although they were separated from their spouses. Dixon has since divorced.
Dixon and Lipscomb stayed in lavish hotels together, and the mayor pampered herself with two fur coats and high-end skin products on Lipscomb's dime, according to the indictment.
The indictment describes an elaborate scheme by which Lipscomb paid for part of a shopping spree Dixon enjoyed during a stay in Chicago. At one point, Dixon gave $4,000 in cash to a city employee, who deposited it in his personal checking account and wrote a check to pay off part of Dixon's American Express bill, according to the indictment.
Dixon obtained the cash after Lipscomb cashed a corporate check worth $15,000 and the two exchanged several phone calls, the indictment says.
Dixon spent nearly $9,500 in Chicago at stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Coach and St. John's Boutique, the indictment says.
That spending spree was first made public last summer, when court documents related to the state proseuctor's investigation of Dixon were leaked. Dixon said at the time that she was disciplined about her shopping and maintained strict budgets.
"I don't buy that often," Dixon said. "But when I buy, I buy quality."