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Friday, 20 April 2012

Ludo Skewers Dezzie

Fresh from his early success in investigative journalism on behalf of the Dame and with a flow of job offers from Mr Murdoch's quality newspapers, the Dame’s hitherto feckless nephew is once again turning his beady on Members’ Interests. Ludo was curious to see what effect his previous effort had made on those naughty Members who had not updated their Interests, so he got to work on a progress report. The insolent boy was showing off to his Arts Club friends that he intends to push out his auntie, The Dame.....
Continuing with relentless probing Ludo has discovered that.............
A Smug Ludo At The Arts Club
Cllr Up Yours Palmer has not updated his Interest in CouncilSkills.com, a company that has not returned its accounts and has no presence whatever apart from his funny little website.
 
Cllr 'Dotty' Campbell is still registered as a Board member of the TMO, which frankly no one remembers her ever attending, but in any event she is no longer on the Board.
 
Pooter Cockell is still listed as a Commissioner for the Audit Commission...weird as it no longer exists! Continuing to set a bad example he has yet to add his chairmanship of the GLA. As his Interests were last updated over a year ago, many other entries are probably out of date...quite unacceptable from the Leader of the Council and a Lord in Waiting(are you sure Dame?After all the Private Eye comment Pooter may remain just Sir Pooter.Ed)
 
The only one who has updated is O’Neill, which suggests that the Labour Whip is a bit more with-it than Cllr 'Oirish' Ahern; given his befuddled performance at the last Council meeting, that should come as no surprise. However, Ludo is concerned about this new entry for O’Neill:
 
‘Urban Eye organises environmental projects in RBKC that I have no involvement or financial interest in.’
 
Given that he has creamed off cc £45,000 from Urban Eye in the past few years, this seems incorrect to put it politely. With fire in his belly, Ludo decided to put the spotlight on this miscreant’s activities:
 
Cllr. Dez O’Neill, has a very close ‘arts-based’ relationship with Cllr. Nick Paget-Brown, Cabinet Member and decision-maker for the arts programmes that O’Neill states he has ‘no financial interest in’ (apart from the £45k that is).
 
O’Neill lives in subsidised social rented housing in North Kensington, while owning several properties in East London, which, as Ludo discovered via an old article in the Evening Standard, he rents out as a buy-to-let property developer.
 
Ludo pondered on this and so cast an eye over some of his Council activities. O’Neill sits on the Council’s Public Arts Committee, the Royal Borough Environmental Project and the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee. In all these roles Ludo has been told that O’Neill unashamedly champions the work of Urban Eye, the local charity which he chairs and which is paid lots of Council Tax-payers’ money by Cllr. Paget-Brown to install artworks – some welcome, but most not welcome – across swathes of North Kensington.
 
The recent Atom Rooms installation on the northern walls of Portobello Road is a case in point. Ludo could not ascertain if Atom Rooms is still in business, as the gallery closed down soon after it was exposed on BBC2  for refusing to reimburse a client who had been sold a picture for around £2,000 that was in reality worth about £10. This installation was mistaken by many to be an advertisement, as it just showed the work of the gallery's artists, who include a close Urban Eye business associate of Cllr O'Neill. For some reason the hoardings were torn down soon after they went up. More mysteriously and in the face of adverse local public opinion, they were subsequently reinstated and the gallery owner, who is alleged to owe money to various local businesses, was paid a second time from the Council’s coffers.
 
The question Cllr. O’Neill needs to answer is, why, when he updated his register of Members’ Interests, did he remove his financial interest in  Urban Eye? Returns received by the Charity Commission show that Cllr. O’Neill admits he has earned £44,433 from Urban Eye since 2006. And surely it is an offence not to declare this interest when he promotes the work of Urban Eye at the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee and the Public Arts Committee? Interestingly, Ludo has discovered that O’Neill always declares his interest at meetings of the RB Environmental Project, probably because his leader, Cllr. Blakeman is also a member – and she would draw her own conclusions if he did not. For his part, Cllr Paget-Brown also needs to explain why he persistently favours Urban Eye over other local arts groups for Council-funded commissions.
 
There is perhaps a scandal here and it is surely time for the Labour leadership to step in and clean up their own Augean Stables once and for all, as they did in the case of one of Cllr. O’Neill’s former ward colleagues.

14 comments:

  1. Is it not also illegal to own any additional housing property if you are a regular Council tenant?
    Looks like this creep may lose more than his credibility.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not sure that it is, though this is really pushing it! His property portfolio was investigated many years ago in the Standard, he made some half-hearted justification.

    But if he's 'updated' his register of interests by removing the dodgiest reference, and if this is without any solid rationale, this isn't an error or omission, it is dishonesty plain and simple.

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  3. Time for the Opposition to get rid of this rogue pronto.
    Oh, what a very sad and rotten Borough indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm sure Ludo has done a good job, nonetheless the facts must be ascertained before anyone does anything.

    If these accusations are true, action should be taken as soon as possible.

    Let's get rid of all the rotten wood so the tree can flourish.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So this Councillor allegedly lives in social housing while renting out his own private property. Does he even declare this income?
    If true,I wonder what vulnerable K and C residents holed up for years and years, often in misery, in "temporary accommodation" will think of this. Disgrace!

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  6. There's no 'allegedly' about it; he does. The Standard article I think stated he had two houses subdivided into flats, that he lets out. They are in another borough, which is how he gets away with it. No one has any idea how he earned enough to buy them!

    Maybe his constituents should be reminded of this!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Summary of Standard article 28 August 2007:

    A LABOUR councillor is living in a subsidised housing association flat despite owning two houses worth 750,000, the Evening Standard has discovered.

    Kensington and Chelsea councillor Dez O'Neill pays 270 a month for a flat intended for low income families, But he owns two three- bedroom properties in Leytonstone worth about 375,000 each, and collects thousands of pounds renting them, comfortably covering his mortgages.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What terrible damage this man has caused to the K and C Labour Party and their standing in our community. Just another greedy snout in the trough!
    With the recent appalling behaviour from the majority party it is very sad to see the Opposition equally besmirched by such an morally repugnant representative.
    Labour used to stand up for the poor and oppressed but now have a representative in Councillor O'Neill who's direct actions help confound their discomfort.
    The local Labour Party should introduce Councillor O'Neill to many of the forgotten unfortunates living a life of misery in bed and breakfast "temporary accommodation" and get him to explain to them why, as a multiple property owner, he deserves to benefit from living in a property that could be used by someone in genuine need. Disgrace!
    One really has to give up on any hope of fairness and decency returning to Horton Street while this type of individual is allowed to hold any influence.

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  9. Puffed up O'Neill exposed for what he really is. Crypto socialist.

    It is always the same - money scandals for Labour and sex scandals for the Tories.

    Good on you Dame and a big pat on the butt for Ludo

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  10. Colville Resident21 April 2012 at 13:39

    Sadly, it seems that Cllr O'Neill only became a councillor to further his business interests. He was not even sure at first which party to join but decided that Labour under the now discredited Keith Cunningham was his better bet. The Colville Lib Dems make a lot of noise about what they claim they are doing for residents; Cllr O'Neill does not even bother to do that. What we as residents want and need are three energetic councillors who will actually look after local people's interests. Cunningham, Alapini, O'Neill, Caruana and Jones have done us no favours over the last few years.

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  11. For years I have kept an eye on O'Neill. Always was "something of the night" about him

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  12. Two cuckoos in the nest. The ghastly ex Cllr Cunningham and the vulture Cllr O'Neill. Labour needs a spring clean to get shot of Des

    Nasty little vermin

    ReplyDelete
  13. The Dame's comments about O'Neil are justified. Some years ago The Evening Standard published the facts about his properties.

    In North Kensington, when RBKC tidies up one of its many neglected neighbourhoods - residents know what to expect. O'Neil invariably suggests public art and locals utter a collective groan. Cllr Paget-Brown has much to answer for regarding his repeated favouring of Urban Eye & its implications.

    In the past, this caused the Labour Group acute embarrassment.

    O'Neil is uninterested in residents' problems, leaving Cllrs Caruana & Jones to carry his workload. The two Liberal Democrat councillors quietly achieve a great deal, despite lacking O'Neil's connections.

    Due to the Lib Dem's diligence in Colville, at the last election Labour lost a second council seat. In desperation, a truce has since been declared between Labour and O'Neil. It is not a pretty site.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorry, "sight."

    ReplyDelete

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