From Scarborough Town Hall, With Anger

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From Scarborough Town Hall, With Anger

From Scarborough Town Hall, With Anger

  • a follow-up article by Corruption Buster Tim Thorne to his earlier piece “From York Potash, With Love”, published just ten days ahead of the resignation of the (then) Chair of the North York Moors National Park Authority Planning Committee, Councillor Tim LAWN.

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  • 22nd Feb 2013 – Private Eye Rotten Boroughs (1334) Publishes ‘Moor The Merrier’ about Tim Lawn’s possible £2.5 million gains from the York Potash mine
  • 8th Mar 2013 – Real Whitby publishes ‘From York Potash, With Love’ about Theatre Tickets gifted to Tim Lawn from a York Potash director
  • 12th March 2013 – Complaint sent to Lisa Dixon (SBC) about Tim Lawn’s conduct whilst a Scarborough Borough Councillor
  • 18th March 2013 – Tim Lawn resigns from Scarborough Borough Council
  • 20th March 2013 – Tim Lawn’s Scarborough Borough Council Register of Interests changed to add ‘Hollybush Minerals Ltd’ to his Interests
  • 21st March 2013 – Reminder email sent to Lisa Dixon asking if the complaint email is being acted upon
  • 28th March 2013 – Legal Letters received at Real Whitby from Lisa Dixon Scarborough Borough Council alleging libel and criminal acts

As Real Whitby readers will know, Registers of Interest are always intriguing reading, but sometimes the full facts are obscured as relevant information is often altered, omitted or even added at a later date.

There are some rather curious changes to Tim Lawn’s Register of Interests.

Why curious? Because they were added to his Register of Interests two days after he had resigned.

A company, Hollybush Minerals Ltd, 08242606, was added to his Register of Interests on 20th March 2013.

Information from Companies House indicates the company was formed on 5th October 2012.

Under the terms of the Localism Act 2011 this company should have been added to the Register of Interests no more than 28 days after it became a pecuniary interest.

register

 

According to the Localism Act, Registers of Interest are the responsibility of the Authority Monitoring Officer. In the case of Scarborough Borough Council the Monitoring Officer is Lisa Dixon, Head of Legal and Democratic Services.

The statutory responsibilities of the Monitoring Officer are listed as follows:

  • complying with the law (including any relevant Codes of Conduct)
  • complying with any General Guidance issued, from time to time, by the Standards Committee and the Monitoring Officer
  • making lawful and proportionate decisions
  • generally, not taking action that would bring the Council, their offices or professions into disrepute

One wonders if it was a professional decision by Scarborough Borough Council’s Monitoring Officer to fail to respond in a timely fashion to a legitimate complaint about Tim Lawn’s conduct?

I emailed my Ward Councillor to find out if the complaint had been accepted.

One wonders if it was that email, or my stated intention to publish an article which mentions the complaint appears to have been ignored, which was the catalyst for a response.

Finally, at 10:16 AM this morning, I received an acknowledgement that the complaint had been put into the Standards Complaints system.

I’m struggling greatly to grasp a reason for retrospectively adding Hollybush Minerals Ltd to Tim Lawn’s Register of Interests two days after he had resigned.

Having looked at the Localism Act it could be construed that an offence was committed under the terms of the Act.

Are the changes, which are strictly controlled by the Monitoring Officer, a feeble attempt to cover up criminality? If not, what is the reason for the retrospective changes?

Given the strict rules on declarations, the changes to the Register of Interests may be irrelevant, given that Hollybush Minerals Ltd was added to the Register over five months after the company was formed.

We must assume that Lisa Dixon likely knows the Localism Act well and recognises that an offence may have taken place.

Has she complied with her statutory responsibilities? Has she reported the offence to the Police?

If not, why not?

I did notice another odd thing with Tim Lawn’s Register of Interests.

The Theatre Tickets gifted to him, which were the subject of the York Potash, With Love article, were not listed on his current Register of Interests.

They were removed from the Register, which is strictly controlled by the Monitoring Officer, on the 1st October 2012.

There doesn’t appear to be any logical reason to remove the entry from the Register, given the on-going Planning Application at the North York Moors National Park Authority that has been receiving so much focus.

Why was this pertinent piece of information removed on the 1st October 2012, under the auspices of the Monitoring Officer?

Are the retrospective changes and removal of pertinent information, which is strictly controlled by the Monitoring Officer, a feeble attempt to cover up criminality?

I think we should be told!

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Post Scriptum

  • Comment was sought from Lisa Dixon before the start of the working day.
  • Read receipts have been received for emails from various parties sent yesterday and this morning, but this afternoon email results in an ‘out of office’ message indicating Lisa Dixon will be back next week.

queen_victoria

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25 Comments

  1. Frank Chalmers April 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Crooks, crooks, crooks!

    It is fast becoming clear that it’s “one rule for them, and stuff everyone else!”

    What a bunch of crooks.

    He’s broken the law. Where are the police??? This is fraud pure and simple. 🙂

  2. Nomine Deus April 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Oh DEAR ME!!!
    Lisa what can you have been thinking…do you think?…Head of Legal HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! a two year old could do better!

  3. AnarchyUK April 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Does the NYMNPA have a Monitoring Officer?

    • Nigel Ward April 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

      Yes. Ms Lisa DIXON is the Monitoring Officer for the NYMNPA. She is also the ‘Director’ of Legal & Democratic Services at SBC. I am reliably informed that she has taken a week’s leave of absence from her post. I am hopeful that somebody competent has been delegated to perform her duties in her absence. Perhaps that will mean that perhaps some of my outstanding formal complaints and FOIA requests will receive attention, albeit far too late to conform with the requirements of statute, before the pixels turn yellow at the corners and wrinkle up.

  4. Tom Brodrick April 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Jim Dillon and Hiliary Jones are ultimately responsible for this entire fiasco.

  5. Tom Brodrick April 2, 2013 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    If this is the case, I hope Scarborough Borough Councils Chief Exec Mr Jim Dillon, Vice Chair Hiliary Jones and Head of Legal Lisa Dixon are not bringing SBC reputation into disrepute by fiddling around with Councillor’s Register of Interests in such a cavalier manor.
    I hope that under the Localism Act there have been no Criminal Laws broken, laws that may assist additional criminal activity such as Insider Trading.
    I hope that none of the senior management team, inc Lisa Dixons friends and associates within the LEGAL TEAM have brought SBC into disrepute, thereby making it difficult to operate and function on a day to day basis serving the public of Scarborough Borough.
    I hope there has not been any insider trading, dealing of shares by any of the management team or senior employees, in the know, covering tracks by manipulating the register of interests.
    If so, it’s probably just one huge minor mistake. Hopefully if any laws have been broken then we (our Scarborough Borough Council) will be well covered by the Localism Act enforced by North Yorkshire Police and their associated diligent Fraud Investigations Team.
    I wish SBC would begin to understand that it is they, especially Chief Exec Jim Dillon, Vice Hiliary Jones and head of the entire LEGAL TEAM Lisa Dixon, not forgetting Council Leader Tom Fox, and only they that can possibly be responsible for the reputation of our Scarborough Borough Council.
    It is ONLY they the Council Management and elected leader Cllr Tom Fox that can RUIN and impair the functioning and reputation of our Borough Council. Why would you want to blame and threaten the people who live within Scarborough Borough.
    What possible role could a single member of the public have played in running any Borough Council. None. The council and the elected councillors are entirely responsible for their own reputation and the actions of the Borough Council.
    Should SBC answer FOI’s and respond to complaints made by members of the public properly and fairly then their reputation remains fully intact and all responses will be published on the Borough Councils own website.
    All the problems SBC are supposedly experiencing, as played out in Lisa Dixons letters that blame the public, should be water of a Ducks Back with all FOI’s published and all complaints seen through to the satisfaction of the public or the Local Government Ombudsman. The Pickles way.

  6. Stakesby Legs April 2, 2013 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    What with this Lawn bloke and those two women, I can see another monitoring officer soft shoe shuffle coming on again. If they don’t sweep it under the carpet the whole planning committee will look like a help yourself jamboree. If I had the skills I’d be writing to the sec of state. It’s a total disgrace.

  7. E Black April 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Looks more like a cock up than a cover up to me. Removing declarations of interest before they are added/declared does not make sense. Has someone at Scarborough Borough Council toggled the wrong button whilst editing Tim Lawn’s declaration of interest record? What were they editing?
    I presume declarations still have to be done on paper and signed, why not inspect those? They are public information, then with facts we can all conspire safely without fear of losing our homes in a lost court case.
    Has Tim Lawn made a statement, has anybody asked him for one? Hardly a “death knock”, especially for an investigative journalist.

    • Tim Thorne April 2, 2013 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      The concerning point is that Hollybush Minerals Ltd was never on the Register of Interests whilst he was in office. It only appeared on his Register after he had resigned, which seems very odd.

  8. Roger Smith April 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    WOW!! another case of our leaders breaking the law. Ever heard of Too Big To Jail?? Tim Thorne, please report to re-education. And for the rest, pleeease move on, BGT’s on soon.

  9. secretsqu April 3, 2013 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Wooly Bully has a special ‘new’ meaning then Nigel?

    Think about it.

    LMHO

    ps. only certain folk will get the gist.

    pps. it must annoy certain people that they can’t post on most of the local articles.

    I would hate that as it would tell me something.

    Anyway, let’s all look forward to the employment that York Potash will bring to the region!

    It certainly beats posting nonsense about hazardous waste. LOL

  10. AnarchyUK April 3, 2013 at 4:30 am - Reply

    off topic but; Greenpeace have a say on ‘The Real Cost of Nitrogen Fertiliser’ Note the cost of ‘fuel’ to production; http://planning.northyorkmoors.org.uk/MVM.DMS/Planning%20Application/809000/809564/NYM-2013-0062-MEIA%20Annex%202%20to%20Appendix%201%20Greenpeace%20Report.pdf

    • Frank Chalmers April 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      From the report:

      “Whereas the industry has experienced an annual
      decline of -4.7% nationally over the past decade.”

      If I read it correctly this means that the mining industry has been shrinking year-on-year at a rate of 4.7% nationally.

      Why then are we building a new mine when the industry itself is SHRINKING?!?!?!

      What are we missing here?

  11. Jon Risdon April 3, 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

    My mind continues to boggle.

  12. kathleen parker April 3, 2013 at 10:54 am - Reply

    It seems that Lisa Dixon isn’t fit for purpose!

  13. David Clark April 3, 2013 at 11:16 am - Reply

    April issue private eye rotten boroughs youve done

  14. Nigel Ward April 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    I think some people are looking past the significant elements of this article.

    If I have grasped it correctly, it evidences the acquisition of an interest (“Holly Bush Minerals Ltd”, incorporated on 5th October 2012) taken by Mr LAWN which was not declared on his Register of Interests within the statutory 28 days permitted under the Localism Act 2011.

    1) Aside from constituting a clear breach of the Code of Conduct, it demonstrates extraordinarily poor judgement on the part of a man charged with the Chairship of the NYMNPA Planning Committee presently engaged in a protracted process of unprecedented significance to the public. Mr LAWN must surely have been aware that only the very highest standards of probity could be acceptable in such circumstances, yet he has allowed his own interests to come before his duty to the public and to the NMNP Authority. How it could plausibly be argued that such conduct has not brought disrepute on Mr LAWN himself, as well as the Authority, is beyond the comprehension of the common man.

    Nevertheless, Tim’s timeline shows that this disclosable interest remained undeclared on Mr LAWN’s Register of Interests until some way into the aftermath of Tim’s publication of his “From York Potash, With Love” article, which precipitated a series of fully substantiated complaints against Mr LAWN, followed by Mr LAWN’s resignation on 18th March 2013.

    2) Even then, after Mr LAWN’s resignation on the morning of Monday 18th March 2013, a further two days elapsed before the declaration of Holly Bush Minerals Ltd appeared on his Register of Interests of Mr Lawn, by then no longer a Councillor. It is unclear on whose authority the addition was finally registered.

    One interpretation of this course of events is this all that has happened here is explainable by clerical error – the implication being that of course Mr LAWN declared his interest in Holly Bush Minerals Ltd in a timely fashion, and some poor clerk simply forgot to write it down, or mislaid Mr LAWN’s instruction email/letter. I find that implausible and unaccepable.

    Even if it were the case, it would beg the question as to why Mr LAWN’s judgement was unequal to the task of recognising that his position as Chair must be terminally compromised, necessitating (as it does) his absence from the vital deliberations of his own Committee, thus leaving it short-handed and rudderless). The honourable and prudent course would have been to resign his Chairship and Membership of the Planning Committee, thus ensuring that its integrity remained unsullied.

    But there remains a second interpretation. It could also very easily be the case that Mr LAWN refrained from declaring his pecuniary interest in Holly Bush Minerals Ltd in the knowledge that, without it, he could retain his position as Chair, where it is required of him to use such influence as he possesses in the public interest, rather than in his own – for his own personal advantage.

    The same could be said of his somewhat occluded declaration of theatre tickets – naming the benefactor did not transparently disclose the nature or significance of Mr LAWN’s relationship with a Director of York Potash Ltd, and was therefore wittingly misleading to the public.

    Both of these Register of Interests anomalies comes perilously close to abuse of entrusted by power for private gain – which is exactly what Transparency International defines as CORRUPTION.

    Furthermore, the possibility clearly exists that the late addition to Mr LAWN’s Register of Interests could not have been undertaken by Mr LAWN alone, since the public record is administered under the responsibility of the Monitoring Officer.

    So once again we have an instance where suspicion arises that there may have been collusion between an elected member and the monitoring staff, just as Councillor Colin CHALLEN (inter alia) has asserted in the case of the defence statements of the DOUBLE-DIPPERS.

    Clearly, the matter is in need of a rigorous and impartial investigation. Legal opinion will vary on the point of whether or not a criminal act has taken place. Certainly, the Localism Act 2011 has been treated with cavalier disdain.

    It is worthy of note that “insider dealing” (again, the abuse of entrusted power for private gain) is prohibited under the terms of the Criminal Justice Act 1993. The FSA’s Disclosure & Transpareny Rules define “inside information” thus:

    For something to be classed as ‘inside information’, it must:

    – be of a precise nature;
    – is not generally available;
    – relates (whether directly or indirectly) to investments traded on a UK regulated market (such as listed shares on the London Stock Exchange); and
    – be likely to have a significant effect on the price of the shares if it were generally available.

    Food for thought.

    • J Chapman April 4, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

      However, it seems that an interest in Hollybush Minerals Ltd was removed from the register on 01/10/2012, which is remarkable if Hollybush Minerals Ltd didn’t exist at that time — and also implies that this interest was added to the register at an earlier date.

      The probability here is that an asset or interest changed its name.

      • Tim Thorne April 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

        “The probability here is that an asset or interest changed its name.”

        No assets or interests had their name changed at that time. Hollybush Minerals Ltd was a new addition on 20/03/2013. It was never added previously despite showing a removal date of 01/10/2012. SBC obviously have a few problems with the software.

  15. David Clark April 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    “Rotten Boroughs” April edition of Private Eye. They Cannot Be Serius. Tim Lawn and Jane Mitchell feature.

  16. Frank Chalmers April 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    There once was a man called Lawn,
    Exposed as a crook by Tim Thorne.
    On account of the mine,
    He was forced to resign,
    Caught up in a Holly Bush storm.

  17. Richard Ineson April 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    There is something rotten in the state of North Yorkshire.

  18. Brian Dodds April 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    There are many things rotten in the county of North Yorkshire, most of them tied to corrupt elected officials and equally corrupt paid public servants.

  19. Tom Brown April 4, 2013 at 7:16 am - Reply

    If North Yorkshire was under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom these buggers would be jailed but being the 15th region of the European Union they’re pussy cats considering the filth that goes on in Brussels and Strasbourg. Ask Hilary Jones or any other Common Purpose (Google it) graduate.

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