Thursday, 24 October 2013

Smoke & mirrors

New information has been given by the TDC Chief Executive concerning the 2009 agreement which has opened a can of worms over the openness or otherwise of information given to the Task & Finish Panel.

my new email to Harvey Patterson (under a freedom of Information request) follows:

The Task & Finish Panel have recently asked a series of questions to Dr. Sue McGonical which have now been published on the TDC website as an appendix to the upcoming meeting on the 31st October 2013. As the answers are in the public domain I would like to raise some questions under an FOIA.
Also, I believe, you stated at a previous meeting of the T&F you said that a full disclosure of all papers was not an issue as only current negotiations would remain confidential. Is that still the case?

Both Ian Driver and Richard Nicholson asked broadly the same question as follows:-

Letter from SFP Ventures UK Ltd dated 2 June 2009 page 27: This letter states that Wetmore Investments will be funding the construction of the hotel through a £5million  investment.  What  checks  did  the  Council make  into  the  validity  of  this  claim  e.g.  obtaining copies  of  development  agreements  with  SFP,  and what  steps  did  the  council  take  to  check  the  bonafides  of  Wetmore  Investments  e.g.  securing information  about  company  registration  and ownership of Wetmore Investments and copies of its accounts.  Was  Wetmore  Investment  ever  contacted by the council?

Dr. Sue’s answer

External solicitors were used to validate the ability of Wetmore to provide the agreed level of finance, and that a binding legal agreement was in existence.

Having investigated both SFP and TDC over this affair for many months and accumulated much written evidence Dr. Sue’s answer comes like a bolt out of the blue and raises more questions than answers.

In the interest of openness please would you answer the following:-

1.       Who were the External Solicitors?
2.       Who instructed them and the date they were formally engaged?
3.       What was their brief?
4.       Was their final report to Council Verbal or written?
5.       Where is this report?
6.       Why wasn’t it included in the Pleasurama file given to the members of the T&F panel?
7.       Who are Wetmore?
8.       Where are they based?
9.       What was their financial standing?
10.   How long was the offer of £5M available for?
11.   Who owns Wetmore?
12.   How much was the Solicitor Invoice for?
13.   When was it paid?
14.   Who authorised payment?
15.   Why weren’t the findings part of the appendixes to the 2009 agreement?
   Harvey did state all relevant evidence would be given to the panel members so it does seem likely he is unaware of this External Solicitor report else he would have furnished to all members but then it is also likely smoke & mirrors are being deployed.


Paul Fisher said...

The first question is always the can opener. The supplementary delivers the killer blow. You got it right on both counts. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

What is Wetmore's security for the investment of five million ?

I assume they do not have a dream team, like Harvey and Sue ? I assume they employ people who don't put a quid in without a couple of quid of security against it.

Barry James said...

I'm afraid anon you will have to ask Wetmore. As I understand it they are based in Lichtenstein and controlled from an office in Geneva

Anonymous said...

I admit this is not my subject.

But say I wanted five million to self build a mansion ?

The lender has security on the site freehold ?

Then releases funds by stages as the build progresses and stages are signed off by the architect ?

IE In effect they release more funds as the value of their security is increasing towards completion.

If Cardy are owed money then the value of the site security is reduced by the amount of that liability ?

Then there is what I call the Michael factor. Spot on right about risk assessment re floods and cliff face.

I am thinking Wetmore would have required at least a structural survey of the cliff and its fascia footings. And probably the flood survey which Environment Agency would require in a current planning application.

So I tend not to believe it ...