Well, well, well.Â The Evening News has finally found out about the spending down at the Waterfront.Â Front page headlines telling part of the story and one wonders why the leaks to the Evening News seem to be coming out a little at a time.Â
First we had the gym equipment and now we have a few other bits and pieces.Â Most have been covered here on Edinburgh Sucks over the past 15 months.
In June 2006 we informed all you councillors who read this that Izatt was looking for another job – yep, and we were the first to break the news to the board of Waterfront that he was Jersey bound.Â His resignation went in about a week after we publicised his successful job hunt.
Some interesting points we raised in October 2006:
I am filled with horror when I realise that very shortly that Councillor McGinnis could be the leader of Edinburgh Labour Party. Her tenure at Waterfront clearly demonstrates that she is not a person capable of leading any organisation.let alone this city. At Waterfront in her role of Chair she has presided over a catalogue of events which are a dreadful indictment of her leadership.
- Serious allegations to do with her conflict of interest as local councillor and Chairperson of the Waterfront Property development
- Accusations of cronyism involving her husband friends.
- Allegations of serious misconduct amongst senior Waterfront staff resulting in ex-gratia payments.
- Accusations of Secrecy as to how Waterfront is run and operated.
- Allegations of financial mismanagement in respect of entertainment puchases
- Sponsorship of Rugby with public funds
- The housing of Security and guard dogs in substandard and illegal conditions
- Low morale amongst staff
- Very high turnover of staff as a result of appalling work conditions and treatment
- Pending claims of unfair dismissal
- Pending legal claims against Waterfront.
- Failure to bring. Despite grand claims.
- Failure to implement the vision of Waterfront including employment and business to the local area.
Again in October 2006 we told you:
News into EdinburghSucks.com is to keep an eye out for the Waterfront celebrations of St. Andrews day as it could well cost the good citizens of Edinburgh a fortune, as it did last year.
Not happy like the rest of us with a nice plate of haggis, tatties and neeps – not the Waterfront. They do it in real style with taxpayers money. In fact so much style that it cost us Â£38,000 – not bad for a company with less than 10 employees.
It seems that Waterfront Edinburgh is taking a leaf from the myEdinburgh books. Last year the staff were kindly decked out with their expensive own tartan with kilts and trews all paid for out of company funds. Izatt (their Chief Robber Executive) and his staff welcomed the honoured guests to a night of revelry which included a short set from Ally Bain and Phil Cunningham which added the nice round sum of Â£8,000 to the bill.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. We are informed that there is a lot more dirt that will be shared with us on the ultra-secretive Waterfront project.
In November 2006 the news was that Waterfront Edinburgh had been fired by their solicitors:
The companyâ€™s solicitors for 6 years, Edinburghâ€™s famous Shepherd & Wedderburn, have this year declined to renew their contract with Edinburgh Waterfront. This is an extremely unusual situation whereby the lawyers are turning down a major account that they have held for 6 years and must be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to them annually.
What has caused this upset we hear you ask. Wellâ€¦â€¦ we are told that:
An eight page letter was sent to every director (including the Chair Councillor â€œBunty Backhanderâ€ Maginnis, Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Ian Perry and of course City Baillie, Councillor Billiy Fitzpatrick), by a senior partner of Shepherd & Wedderburn setting out the reasons for this momentous and probably unique decision for a major firm of Solicitors representing a publicly owned company. The reasons for this centred on the behaviour of Waterfrontâ€™s Chief Executive. In the letter he was accused of regularly ignoring legal advice provided by Shepherd & Wedderburn
These actions have often resulted in large additional costs to Waterfont Edinburgh. The letter also indicated that Izatt had blatantly ignored legal advice regarding his bullying and treatment of staff resulting in claims against the Company for breaches of the Employment legislation. The letter further accused Izatt of hostility and verbal abuse towards highly trained and experienced solicitors employed by Shepherd & Wedderburn.
Not in the current Evening News article is the story about the filing system:
News that the company actually went out and spent Â£50,000 on an extremely sophisticated electronic filing system although the company only employs a tiny staff to keep the project ultra-secretive.
Just after the implementation of this Â£50,000 system, it was totally abandoned and the rumour going round is that the system was being used as a â€˜patsyâ€™ to allow the company to â€˜looseâ€™ large amount of documents and blame it on the system.
Also not in the article is the news we were leaked that Elizabeth “Bunty Backhander” Maginnis isn’t really a councillor, isn’t really the manager of the Pilton Elderly Project, but is actually a consultant:
Meanwhile, whatâ€™s this about you taking Â£175k consultancy fees from the Waterfront when you were actually sitting on their board as Chair and you only got that job because you were an elected councillor – oooohhhh – hubby involved as well – getâ€™s better.Â We have a lot more which will be coming on this and other â€œpropertyâ€ matters pertaining to you.Â Do keep your and your (trainee) solicitor eyes appraised of what is coming.Â Hope you paid taxes on all this stuff, because without doubt it has been reported to the nice people over at Revenue and Customs already.
One would now hope that when Bunty get’s off the plane after “the joy of preparing fresh local produce to eat and drinking the best rioja” at the taxpayers expense she will have the decency to resign from both of the publicly funded jobs she has had for years.
At around the same time, maybe the Standards Commission will start investigating Maginnis and Councillor Ian Perry who also sat on the board and has failed to ensure that public funds were spent correctly.Â
Maybe by the time Maginnis is ready to return to the city,Â her former friendÂ who leaked the consultancy figure to Edinburgh Sucks will also leak it to the Evening News with the documentary evidence to give Edinburgh that wildly anticipated first by-election – just make sure you have the right candidate in there.Â
Even her well-known squeeze can’t help her out of this one, no matter how big his office is.