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Lies, Damned Lies and DIXON DoubleSpeak
IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
Regular readers of Real Whitby are familiar with two recent examples of the double standards practised by (inter alia) Scarborough Borough Council’s Director of Legal & Democratic Services Mrs Lisa DIXON.
I refer, firstly, to the matter of the ‘leaked’ 55-page photocopy of an apparently spurious claim for disability benefits filed by two long-serving Councillors in December 1996, which, if successful (and there is good reason to believe that it was), must have amounted tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds of the taxpayers’ money. This incident has been described in detail in my article “The Genie Is Out Of The Bottle” (published on 16th March 2014).
In my view, a ten-year-old child could grasp immediately not only that Lisa DIXON has, as ever, attempted to shield Councillor ‘Bill’ MILLER and SBC Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLER (whose financial record is presently being examined in great detail by investigators further up the food-chain – on both sides of the Atlantic); she also clearly carries ultimate Officer responsibility for the unwarranted and personalised attack on me – a false and malicious allegation of a criminal offence – apparently in retaliation for me having exposed the 1996 claim mentioned above, though equally possibly in an attempt to intimidate me into silence. Quite aside from the offensive nature of being labelled a benefit fraud and interrogated by an investigator about it, so serious is this allegation that, but for it being totally without substance, I could have been imprisoned for it. No doubt that would have please SBC immensely.
Unsurprisingly, there is considerably disquiet amongst members of Scarborough Borough Council. They are concerned that once again Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLERappears to be exerting her once-formidable influence, through Lisa DIXON, to deploy Council resources (and ‘powers’) against individuals who have criticised her life-long career in ‘public service’. The Portfolio for Finance, Procurement & Legal Services is a position that, perhaps more than any other, should never be held by a Councillor with conflicted interests – much less by the subject of allegations of financial impropriety.
It will be two years tomorrow since I first asked Leader Councillor Tom FOX if he was presently satisfied with his appointment of Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLER to that position. He has never responded. One can only conclude that he is comfortable with his decision. Bizarre.
All over the social-media sites and blogs, speculation is rife that the “Personal Development Fund” money paid to North Yorkshire Police Chief Officers under Councillor KENYON-MILLER’s authority during her tenure as Chair of the NYPA was actually ‘hush money’.
Astonishingly, former NYCC Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN (against whom I have an unresolved Formal Complaint that NYCC CEO Richard FLINTON has refused point-blank to progress – in contravention of the NYCC Constitution) accepted [then] County Councillor Jane KENYON’s statement that she had had “no connection with Belvedere Computers Inc since 1982″ – but Real Whitby has provided documentary proof to the contrary.
Why did Carole DUNN accept that nonsense? We may never know, because Carole DUNN slipped quietly away into fully-pensioned early retirement at the end of March this year.
SBC Monitoring Officer Lisa DIXON has herself also evinced astonishing gullibility with regard to Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLER’s assertions. Why? Some Councillors and Town Hall members of staff are suggesting that Lisa DIXON was promoted internally not on the strength of her experience, acumen or innate ability, but because her compliant nature makes her easy to manipulate. I have never met Lisa DIXON, so I couldn’t possibly comment. (Les mots justes).
Meanwhile, Belvedere Computers Inc is still not declared on either of the Councillors’ Registers of Interests – a criminal offence under the Localism Act 2011. We must now rely on Lisa DIXON reporting that fact to the Police. (Do readers think that she will do that?).
But it would be remiss of me not to remind readers of how Lisa DIXON was caught in a lie by BBC “Inside Out” – claiming not have sought the “termination” of Real Whitby, though presenter Chis JACKSON produced, on camera, a copy of her letter to Real Whitby’s ISP demanding exactly that – “termination”, nothing less – in front of over six hundred thousands viewers on the night (and many, many more on the i-Player and YouTube). “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”, as the little children chant.
This public humiliation, as well as the criticism Lisa DIXON has suffered in the national press (remember her runner-up slot in the “Legal Bully of 2013 Awards” for her treatment of Real Whitby), has brought Mrs DIXON, the Council and the legal profession more generally into deep disrepute.
It is unsurprising, therefore, that when Lisa DIXON emailed all fifty Scarborough Borough Councillors with her latest dissembling damage-limitation exercise, at shortly before 10:00am yesterday (Tuesday 3rd June. 2014), a copy of her email was promptly delivered to me by a most reliable source who has ‘leaked’ much rock-solid evidence of deviousness and rank dishonesty to us in the past, regarding (inter alia) the Peter JACONELLI complaints, the ‘wrongly addressed’ referrals to the North Yorkshire Police, the carefully compartmentalised referral of the Tim LAWN mineral rights ‘misdemeanours’ and much, much more.
Here is the ‘leaked’ email:
From: [name redacted]
Subject: FW: Maliciously sponsored benefits related complaint by Scarborough Borough Council? – Confidential
From: Lisa Dixon <Lisa.Dixon@scarborough.gov.uk>
Date: 3 June 2014 09:38:11 BST
To: Councillors Email Group <CouncillorsDG@scarborough.gov.uk>
Cc: Jim Dillon <Jim.Dillon@scarborough.gov.uk>, Nick Edwards <Nick.Edwards@scarborough.gov.uk>, Andy Skelton <Andy.Skelton@scarborough.gov.uk>, Hilary Jones <Hilary.Jones@scarborough.gov.uk>, David Kitson <David.Kitson@scarborough.gov.uk>, Rachel Hartley <Rachel.Hartley@scarborough.gov.uk>
Subject: FW: Maliciously sponsored benefits related complaint by Scarborough Borough Council? – Confidential
I am aware that you have been sent a copy of the E-mail below referring to an investigation into alleged benefit fraud.
The Council regularly receives allegations concerning alleged benefit fraud from a variety of sources including from the general public. Since these allegations relate to potential criminal activity, the Council treats all such allegations very seriously. Consequently they are subject to strict procedures concerning investigation.
The Council works closely with the DWP in investigating any such allegations. On this occasion I can confirm that allegations were received by the Council which were referred in accordance with the Council’s usual procedures to the DWP for consideration.
I can confirm that the Council’s standard procedures were followed in this instance without deviation.
Members may be aware that Mr Ward and Mr Thorne have on numerous occasions written E-mails and published “articles” criticising the Council for allegedly not investigating allegations of criminal behaviour or for treating certain individuals preferentially. It is therefore somewhat disappointing that Mr Thorne and Mr Ward consider that Mr Ward should have been treated in any way differently to any other member of the public.
As stated before, the Council takes any allegations concerning benefit fraud very seriously and will continue to investigate these appropriately.
[N.B.: Not signed by Lisa DIXON]
And here is the email to which Lisa DIXON (in her opening line) refers.
From: ‘Tim Thorne’
Date: 28 May 2014 12:55:03 BST
To: ‘All 50 SBC Councillors’
Subject: Maliciously sponsored benefits related complaint by Scarborough Borough Council?
It has come to my attention, and now Private Eye’s, that the Council appears to have sponsored a malicious benefits related complaint, which it knew to be false from the outset, against Nigel Ward of the Real Whitby website about his pension.
If you are interested in what Private Eye have to say about the matter then click the following link.
An investigator from the Department of Work and Pensions called on Nigel and stated that the DWP had received a complaint from the Town Hall at Scarborough Borough Council, alleging that Nigel has been in the receipt of monies from running the Real Whitby website. For your information, Nigel doesn’t run or even own the site, he just makes a lot of contributions and does so without recompense and does it in the public interest, which some of you already know.
It is rather a strange complaint to make as it is very easy to find out who owns particular web sites on the Internet. There are Domain Registrars all around the world, but one charged with running the .co.uk domains are Nominet.
Council Officers know who runs the Real Whitby website as the Director of Democratic and Legal Services sent a letter to that address. Crosscheck the address in the Electoral Register and you find the owner.
The Council already knows the owner of the Real Whitby website is Glenn Kilpatrick, so quite why the Council is sponsoring a wholly false complaint about Nigel Ward receiving money from the website is beyond me. Perhaps, as Councillors, you can ask some pertinent questions about the matter as quite obviously the Council’s conduct in this matter is an absolute disgrace.
Indeed it is.
But let us return to Lisa DIXON’s flim-flam email – as fine an example of DoubleSpeak as one might hope to present to the general public. I will deconstruct it one point at a time.
1). Mrs DIXON states that SBC “regularly receives allegations concerning alleged benefit fraud from a variety of sources including from the general public”. This may be true; but what she does not state is that, in the present instance, the allegation did not come from a member of the public at all – not according to my source.
2). In fact, Lisa DIXON’s next assertion is absurd: “On this occasion I can confirm that allegations were received by the Council which were referred in accordance with the Council’s usual procedures to the DWP for consideration.”
Notably, she does not direct her readers to the source of the “usual procedures”; perhaps some Councillor might even have the nous to ask her for those; it would be naïve to take her at her word.
But more importantly, Lisa DIXON knows full well that the false, malicious and, in fact, libellous allegations made against me (that I run Real Whitby and “make money” from it without making the appropriate declaration to the DWP) are (and indeed must be) false because (as is well-documented here on Real Whitby, and by BBC “Inside Out”) she knows that Real Whitby is owned and run by Glenn KILPATRICK – not by me, or Tim HICKS or Tim Thorne, who all contribute to Real Whitby on an amateur and strictly voluntary basis, in the public interest.
It was to Glenn KILPATRICK, remember, to whom she wrote, on 28th March 2013, demanding the removal of all references to SBC on the Real Whitby web-site (and to Glenn’s ISP, demanding the aforementioned “termination” of hosting services).
Thus, Lisa DIXON has known for well over a year that I have no financial interest in Real Whitby. Or is she suggesting that referring false and malicious allegations – known by her to be false and malicious – to the DWP is also part of the unspecified “usual procedures” to which she refers?
Does Lisa DIXON expect all fifty Councillors to be so dumb as to not realise this? Who is dumb? Who is dumber?
3). In consequence of the foregoing, her next paragraph is wildly incredible: “I can confirm that the Council’s standard procedures were followed in this instance without deviation.”
What sort of “standard procedures” would require blatant lies to be passed on in good faith to the DWP?
4). It is interesting to note, at this point, that Lisa DIXON carefully avoids confirming that the prima facie evidence of long-term benefit fraud on the part of Councillor ‘Bill’ MILLER and Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLER – which clearly merits meticulous investigation – has been subjected to the “standard procedures”.
Instead – and whilst hiding behind the spurious header ‘Confidential’ (which she knows from bitter experience will not be honoured by Councillors of integrity who know her for what she is and are therefore, as a point of good conscience, willing to share their information with Real Whitby, in the public interest) – Lisa DIXON has breached the personal data rights of myself and Tim THORNE, by reproducing our names to fifty third-parties, contrary to the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Whether that is merely an oversight (born of incompetence), or a failure to resist the temptation to attempt another cheap smear against us, is not easy to know. Either way, it is thoroughly unprofessional.
Let us remember her threats of legal action against me last year, (which she was unable to substantiate with any evidence of any wrongdoing); her false allegations that Real Whitby contributors had committed criminal offences (which the Police refused to act on because there had been no offence committed); her attempt to close down Real Whitby last year; and the denial (in the statement issued to Whitby Town Council – and later to the BBC) that she had tried to “terminate” Real Whitby. Mrs DIXON’s serties of actions shows her to be utterly disingenuous.
In her email to all Councillors, Lisa DIXON chose to deviate from standard procedures to make specific reference to my activities as a journalist: “Members may be aware that Mr Ward and Mr Thorne have on numerous occasions written E-mails and published “articles” criticising the Council for allegedly not investigating allegations of criminal behaviour or for treating certain individuals preferentially. It is therefore somewhat disappointing that Mr Thorne and Mr Ward consider that Mr Ward should have been treated in any way differently to any other member of the public.” This, and her patronising tone, shows that she has allowed her personal feelings of (deserved) humiliation to affect her choice of words. This is unprofessional for a solicitor.
If Lisa DIXON is unable to control her personal feelings over Real Whitby, she needs to step down – or at least stop doing the bidding of the ethically destitute from whom she takes her instructions.
Councillor Mike WARD expressed concerns following our exposure of Peter Jaconelli: http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/jaconelli-wrong-say-thank-sorry
Instead of criticising me to all of the Councillors, why cannot Mrs DIXON thank me for co-operating fully with the DWP investigation, issue a public statement accepting that the allegation was false and malicious, and offer an apology or statement of regret to me for the embarrassment, inconvenience and hurt caused?
I think I know why.
But that is by-the-by. The issue here is whether or not the false and malicious allegations against me have been treated in the same way as the highly compelling documentary evidence against Councillor ‘Bill’ MILLER and Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLER.
True to form, DIXON slides past this crucial parallel without so much as a passing reference.
In any event, I have been assured by the DWP that an investigation is now in progress. Frankly, I have my doubts about how far it will go – since sources close to the protagonists tell me that a “negotiated settlement” has already been achieved. Naturally, the DWP will not confirm this because to do so would breach the protagonists’ Data Protection rights. Perhaps that is what Mrs DIXON means by “treated preferentially”. And nobody offered me the option of a “negotiated settlement” should the case against have been made, which it was not.
And with regard to Mrs DIXON’s evident resentment of “‘articles’ criticising the Council”, this is discriminatory in the extreme. People all over the Borough have been “criticising the Council” in far more flagrant terms than ever Real Whitby has employed for donkeys’-years. Check out the “readers’ comments” sections of the Scarborough News and the Whitby Gazette for copious examples of the Council being described as “a bunch of crooks”, and “Clown Hall” Officers being described in similar terms.
But which other member of the public who has criticised Scarborough Borough Council has had an email about them sent to all Councillors, revealing confidential information and repeating the slur that I am a benefit fraud – without bothering to state that the allegations were actually without foundation?
FaceBook, too, has its share of derogatory criticism against certain members of SBC.
Private Eye, the BBC, the Sunday Express, the Scarborough News and (occasionally) even the Whitby Gazette have all been extremely critical of SBC, too.
All Councillors have not received emails from Lisa DIXON sniping about those organs of publication.
Mrs DIXON makes specific mention of myself and Tim THORNE – whose criticisms are meticulously supported by Council documentation and FOIA responses that have more than satisfied the eagle-eyed lawyers of the Eye and the Beeb.
Conclusion: It is the very truth of the Real Whitby “articles” that Mrs DIXON finds so injurious to the already poor repute of the Council (and herself). She should come to terms with the fact that the ill-repute stems from the actions of the wrong-doers and not from Real Whitby’s exposure of them.
5). Mrs DIXON concludes : “As stated before, the Council takes any allegations concerning benefit fraud very seriously and will continue to investigate these appropriately.”
So presumably Councillor ‘Bill’ MILLER and Councillor Jane KENYON-MILLER are themselves under investigation by her department – and, of course, the prima facie evidence of a major benefit fraud to the tune of tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds has been referred to Det. Insp. Ian WILLS of the NYP’s Major Fraud Investigation Unit. No confirmation of that from Mrs DIXON.
Meanwhile, Lisa DIXON continues to ignore emails requesting her to progress a large number of Real Whitby FOIA requests that are already well out-of-time; to proceed with a similar number of Formal Complaints (some over two years in limbo); and to respond to enquiries regarding reports to the North Yorkshire Police in respect of breaches of the Localism Act 2011 (i.e. criminal offences). Nothing.
In fact, Lisa DIXON gives every appearance of being no longer willing to commit a single word to print – except under that spurious stricture of ‘Confidential’ – lest Real Whitby exposes it as a lie.
Well. Here we are again, stepping up to the plate. Exposing the lies.
In my view, SBC is a Council inextricably tangled up in its own lies. But let me be clear about this; when I say ‘Council’, I am referring only to a relatively small number of proven liars – in print, on air, and on screen – who, with the help of malleable or complicit Officers, are running this Borough as a private fiefdom.
This is not local government – it is a cowardly, defensive/aggressive, incompetent, bullying bombastic hegemony.
PS: I see CodHead is on the loose again. Bravo!