Thursday 5 January 2012

Police to probe 2014 Games land deals

From inside the games:

By Tom Degun

January 4 - Police are set to look at a series of multi-million pound land deals in Glasgow which were bought in order to build venues for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the city.

The police probe comes following a complaint by Scottish National Party member James Dornan, who represents the city's Cathcart constituency.

Dornan wants to establish whether public money for the Commonwealth Games was misused in some deals.

In one case, Mayfair property developer Charles Price was paid £17 million ($26 million/€20 million) for land needed for the Athletes' Village (pictured above) which had cost him just £8 million ($12.5 million/€9.5 million).

Glasgow City Council justified the pay-out on the basis that it had commissioned an independent valuation of the land from surveying firm Colliers CRE.

The Council had special compulsory purchase powers granted by the Scottish Government which were designed to protect the public purse during negotiations over land needed for the Commonwealth Games.

However, the authority chose not to use them against Price's company.

Another deal saw former Rangers owner Sir David Murray's (pictured) company paid £5.1 million ($7.2 million/€6.1 million) for the site of the former Dalmarnock Power Station which had been bought for just £375,000 ($585,000/€449,457) in 2005.

The site was derelict, contaminated by a cocktail of metals and had been used as a dump by fly tippers but it was sold by Sir David's company for nearly a £5 million ($7 million/€6 million) profit to the publicly-funded urban regeneration company Clyde Gateway after an independent valuation had been carried out by a surveying firm.

A third deal saw council-owned land given away free to a property developer whose directors gave money to the Labour party, only to be bought back three years later for £1.3 million ($1.9 million/€1.56 million) after an independent valuation had been carried out by a surveying firm.

Dornan asked for land deals to be investigated in October last year by writing to Strathclyde chief constable Stephen House and Scotland's auditor general Robert Black.

"We can confirm that a complaint has been received and enquiries are on-going," a spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said.

It is not suggested any of the sellers were involved in criminal behaviour but the buyers could have questions to answer.

"I am very encouraged by the police response to my complaint," said Dornan.

"Clearly, the council tax payers of Glasgow have to be confident that public money is being spent wisely.

"Any suggestion to the contrary - that public money is not being spent wisely - has to be fully investigated."

Contact the writer of this story at

Thursday 18 August 2011

Evening Times: "Sound of silence over 2014 Games inquiry"

Sound of silence over 2014 Games inquiry

18 Aug 2011

Glasgow councillors are demanding further answers over a report into whether 2014 Commonwealth Games bosses were properly scrutinised in the wake of the resignation of shamed former chief executive John Scott.

Councillors on Glasgow City Council’s finance scrutiny committee had requested a report into how the council monitors the activities of 2014 Ltd, the organising committee for Glasgow hosting the event.

But when the SNP and Labour councillors were given details of the 11-page report they refused to ask questions and noted the report in silence.

The report stated scrutiny procedures in place “were robust”. But Kenneth Elder, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the committee, later said he wanted reassurance procedures were properly followed.

Mr Scott quit in July, sparking controversy when he refused to reveal the exact details of his misdemeanour, only saying he failed to register an offer from a potential supplier.

Concerns were raised over the monitoring of the firm run by a board of members from the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the Commonwealth Games Scotland.

Following Mr Scott’s resignation the conveners of the council’s three scrutiny committees met, and decided the finance and audit scrutiny committee should probe the governance arrangements at 2014.

At a meeting of the committee, Carole Forrest, assistant director of corporate services, delivered the report.

She said: “The loss of a chief executive is a key issue for any organisation. In this situation, however, the effects of the loss were mitigated by the appointment of the chief operating officer acting chief executive.

“This has ensured there is continuity in the preparations for delivery of the Games pending the appointment of a new chief executive.”

But Mr Elder asked for more clarification. After the meeting he said: “It is a good point whether you can take silence as consent. I want to be assured the procedures have been carried out and the council is adhering to its own policies.”

Ms Forrest said the highest level of monitoring was by the Strategic Group, which is chaired by First Minister Alex Salmond and includes city council leader Gordon Matheson.

Dr Christopher Mason, leader of the LibDems’ group on the council, said he and his fellow scrutiny committee conveners felt there were serious questions about the way Glasgow 2014 was being run.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

A correspondent writes

From one of our regular correspondents:

To the Scottish Government

Owing to the current addiction to neoliberalism on the part of Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government, a number of "pie-in-the-sky" schemes have been promoted by both entities.

"No one" could see the financial collapse of 2008 coming (this according to the very people who didn't see it coming!), just as "no one" could see that invading Iraq would be a disaster (except, of course, for the millions who marched against the war before it started).

Obviously in both cases, the experts were 100% wrong. For any of us to move forward in a productive way, we need to admit when we're wrong and learn from it.

We are now, due to the reckless actions of the former GCC leader Steven Purcell, lumbered with the costly mega-event known as the Commonwealth Games. One of the supposed benefits (which will not trickle down to the city's residents) is tourism. I think it's worthwhile to look at the report of Ronald Jackson, regarding a CPO obtained by GCC against several local businesses. In the report, Mr Jackson states:

"On balance, given the commitment and involvement of Jumeirah, the detailed appraisal
work on both cost and value that has been carried out and the evidence set out in
paragraphs 10-14 above, I consider that it is much more likely than not that the necessary
funding would be available for the scheme. Having regard to my findings in this and the
three preceding paragraphs I attach little weight to the objectors’ development appraisal
(RBH 7), prefer the evidence of the council and its witnesses and conclude that the weight
of evidence shows that the scheme would be financially viable."

Now consider today's news:

"Jumeirah Group’s plans to operate a luxury hotel in Scotland have been thrown into disarray after the developer behind the $200m project went into administration."

Perhaps only in Glasgow could the city unveil an "International Financial Services District" after the collapse of international finance, but then again nonsensical development plans have scarred cities across the UK and USA.

What about actually listening to the people who live in the city?



Commonwealth Games Chief quits over "gift"

From the Daily Record:

Glasgow Commonwealth Games chief quits over gift

john scott Image 2

Gift 'mistake' costs Scott his 2014 post

POLICE are to question Commonwealth Games chiefs after the head of Glasgow 2014 quit for failing to declare a gift.

John Scott admitted he had accepted an "offer" from a "potential supplier" and failed to declare it.

Games organisers Glasgow 2014 Ltd announced the 59-year-old had resigned from his £179,000-a-year post.

But they refused to reveal details of what he took.

They would only say it was an "error of judgment" and a "mistake".

Last night, Strathclyde Police said no investigation has been launched into the scandal.

However, it is understood police will speak to the board, possibly today, and the situation could change.

A senior insider at the force said: "We will be asking questions about this."

Lord Robert Smith, chairman of the Glasgow 2014 board, announced Scott's resignation after an emergency meeting yesterday.

Insiders say the details of the gift or gratuity were not disclosed to the meeting and are only known to Lord Smith and a close circle.

In a statement, Lord Smith said: "John Scott has made an important contribution to the plannin g of what we believe will be an outstanding Games.

"The board has accepted his resignation for an error of judgment he made in accepting, and not declaring, an offer from one of Glasgow 2014's potential suppliers, in breach of the organising committee's strict gifts and gratuities policy.

"I know he deeply regrets this mistake and this was a job that he loved. It is a measure of the man that he has put the values and reputation of the organising committee ahead of his own at this time.

"John was largely responsible for setting the committee's high standards of governance and he felt he could not continue in his role as chief executive under the circumstances."

Commonwealth Games minister Shona Robison said: "John Scott has made a valuable contribution as chief executive of the organising committee.

"However, the reputation and integrity of our Games is paramount and, to that end, I believe Mr Scott has done the right and principled thing in stepping down."

Gordon Arthur, a board member and the spokesman for Glasgow 2014, said Scott informed Lord Smith of the offer late last week.

The Scottish government and Glasgow City Council - the two bodies funding the Games - were told of Scott's resignation yesterday afternoon.

David Grevemberg, the current chief operating officer, has taken over as acting chief executive.

Scott took up his post in 2008. Before that, he was a key adviser on the London 2012 Olympic bid.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Evicted gran goes back to see flat pulled down

Evicted gran returns to see her flat being pulled down

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  • Margaret Jaconelli returns to her old home with grandson Luca

5 May 2011

Commonwealth Games site battler Margaret Jaconelli returned to her old home in Glasgow’s East End … to watch it being demolished.

Glasgow City Council carried out its promise to pull down the sandstone built flats in Ardenlea Street, Dalmarnock to make way for a service area for the 2014 sporting extravaganza.

There was no sign of the heavy security or the 100 police officers who helped evict Margaret and her family 42 days ago following a legal battle in which the family refused to move from the site which will be next to the Athletes’ Village.

Margaret, husband Jack and members of her family turned up for a final farewell to their home of 35 years.

Margaret, 53 said: “I am homeless and penniless thanks to a hard-hearted local authority.

“They said they would paying me £90,000 for my property though I’ve not had so much as a letter from the council.

“All I’m walking away with today is memories.”

She criticised Glasgow City Council for refusing to accept a mediation proposal put forward by the SNP government in Holyrood.

The Jaconellis and their four sons, daughter-in-law and grandson Luca, eight months, spent around 30 minutes in the street during a workman’s tea-break.

Then, after one final look back, they walked out of Ardenlea Street for the last time.

The doomed sandstone tenement still had the message written on the front: ‘Davina – We’re No Being Evicted’. It was the only remaining sign of the family’s sit-in campaign.

The wrecking crew then moved in to turn the building into rubble.

It was the only home Margaret’s son Aaron, 17, had known and he said: “I can remember happy days here, playing in the street.

“Now it’s all gone, I’m gutted.”

A council spokesman said: “The demolition will allow construction work on the Athletes’ Village to begin.” [Well, that's alright then. There will be absolutely NO benefit for the residents of Glasgow, but hey - someone will be making some quick money...]

Friday 1 April 2011

Save the Accord Centre

So two weeks ago the Accord Centre were sent a letter from the Council saying they would have to vacate the premises yesterday. But the place the Council was going to move everyone is having "financial difficulties". Anyways, the Centre is fighting back - follow their news on Facebook.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Games Monitor: The eviction

Photos and more about the Jaconelli eviction: