Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sold Down The River By Thanet Council

So, my Belgian spies tell me that defunct TransEuropa's tub Gardenia went for €750,000 at the auction in Oostende yesterday, although that price can still be outbid (by a minimum of 10% on top) until the end of the month.

And the amount Thanet Council, which is owed £3.4m of our lovely lolly by TransEuropa, will make from the sale? Nothing. Zero. Nix. Nada. Not a sausage. Because someone at the council (step forward Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer Sue McGonigal, for it is you!) failed to secure any of the debt on the company's assets.

Would it be too much to ask Ms McG to pass 'Go' forthwith, without collecting her £200,000? Kuh!

Meanwhile, in what writers such as myself like to call a 'bizarre twist', it's emerged that as late as April this year TDC joined an EU-sponsored organisation called 'LO-PINOD', one of those Eurocratic acronyms which, in this case, apparently stands for 'Logistics Optimisation for Ports'.

LO-PINOD'S blurb states: 'Through improvements to shortsea routes, local ports and their hinterland connections, LO-PINOD encourages a wider use of water-borne transport across the North Sea Region. Greater use of local ports will re-balance Europe's transport network, reduce road congestion, aid regional development and deliver more freight by sustainable sea transport.'

It was on 17 April 2013 that LO-PINOD welcomed the Port of Ramsgate to its fold, just three days before yours truly broke the story that TransEuropa had sunk without trace, and the whole Ferrygate scandal began to unravel. Did the TDC bureaucrat who signed up for LO-PINOD not know that, within hours, there would be no more 'logistics operations' or 'freight' from the Port of Ramsgate? Or is this yet another case of our beloved council's arse not talking to its elbow? I think we should be told!

Click here to go to LO-PINOD website

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Come on old chap! How can you expect someone who earns over £260,000 pa who is also the finance officer to remember such small things as contracts???

Richard Eastcliff said...

Er, good point!

Anonymous said...

What contract? has someone a copy!

Anonymous said...

Maybe just maybe the new owner is going to set up a Ramsgate/Ostend ferry service. They could always ask TDC for extended credit.

Richard Eastcliff said...

Hehe!

Anonymous said...

Should not the great financial adviser Bayford or businessman of the year Hart take some credit for all of this. Only idiots would have countenanced McGonigal's disaster. Oops sorry. They did of course.

Richard Eastcliff said...

I like to think of TDC's lovely Chief Exec as one of those old TransEuropa rustbuckets, being tugged slowly to the knackers yard, where she'll be broken up for razor blades.

Oh well, one can dream!

Anonymous said...

Oh you have a sharp tongue Richard

Richard Eastcliff said...

Razor sharp, you might say!

Anonymous said...

Officers may have made mistakes but, I'm afraid that it is the councillors who must carry the can for this. They must carry the can because they have ALL been complicit in operating a system whereby the decision-making is not transparent. They have been happy to allow a little cabal to decide things behind closed doors and to remain wilfully ignorant of what is going on. They are there to ensure that our interests are taken care of and they have failed us. I don't mean one or two of them, I mean the whole stinking lot. The only exception I would make is Ian Driver who has been prepared to rock the boat and expose what has been going on.

Anonymous said...

No matter what you all might say, McGonigal has a cast iron guarantee of immunity. Bayford and Hart will keep he lid on this at all costs. Scrutinee is a waste of time. They are only gophers and will be told to keep quiet and not to rock the boat. Whimps all of them.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of having auditors if they don't do anything? If the council can have a 3 million plus hole in its accounts and the auditors don't spot it or do anything about it what is the point of paying them?

Anonymous said...

One more thing to add to the "things that TDC are shit at" list.

Paul James said...

Has anyone other than Ian raised this with the Auditor?

Anonymous said...

The owner of the ferry is a Belgian who has a ship recycling unit in Bangladesh.

Same will happen to the Larkspur next year.

Anonymous said...

With Kilroy-Hart, Brian Poole & His Tremelloes, Kenny Everit, Queen Johnson, Boring Bayford, General Latchford and "something of the night" Wise ALL potentially to blame, The Doctor and travelling companion Harvey will be spinning the stories for the puppets to repeat.

But do they not think of Thanet? Because if they REALLY cared, they would care enough to accept responsibility, expose the problems and step down!!!

Anonymous said...

Hold on a cotton pick'n. The previous Chief Executive had been recognised as "Weak on detail" in the Pleasurama process(Such as Statutory duties to report under Money Launderings Regs and Due diligence such as establishing who the council was dealing with)

So that Chief Executive went his way with a military stride. (A bit odd this ECR for the Boss of the genuine Army Cadets somehow to forget when in his day job that there was a reporting procedure to avoid contact with Kent's private cadet groups. Such as the one, that had tory cllr adult leaders and supporters, Margate Charter Trustees were told was under Kent Police Special Branch investigation.

So Richard Samuel became Chief Exec and what did he do to correct the Pleasurama fiasco ?

With regard to a Standards Process, before his time, he did report it to police. This is the one Hammy and Mallinson get so heated about implying that Rick(Who I assume is Richard Samuel ?) got it completely wrong.

Then after a generous parting a decade later from Rick the TDC Boss. Followed by promotion from within of Ms McG who had learnt all she knows about due diligence at TDC on a modern apprenticeship.

On the subject of ferries and losses to public funds ECR I assume you have taken the point re North East Shipbuilders ? And how maybe another dollop of (TDC involvement) grant aid sweetened the Thanet vehicle for a buyout ?

Anonymous said...

So the bright minds at TDC - officers, and councillors - are still batting this away as " we never had the money so it doesn't matter".

What about the costs of running the RORO part of the port? If its already accounted for as income one year, it has to be shown as a debt and eventually a loss if its not recovered. How are they going to get around this? Plus the legal costs of trying t recover the money. Also the time spent at the council on managing the transueopa saga. All for nothing.

It's like KCC with the £50mm they invested in Icelandic banks. They talk like they've got all the money back, but it cost us - Kent residents- millions in lost interest that wold have been earned if they had placed it at a solvent institution.

If any of the clowns associated with these huge financial losses worked in the private sector they would be sacked.

Anonymous said...

Help I don't understand a word of the last comment and I also thought Rick was Richard Card. Is the losing of marbles contagious?

Anonymous said...

As a relatively recent DFL I really do not understand all this TDC duffers stuff. Seems to me there are no more than about a dozen people who whine about the council around the blogs whilst the other 132,000 Thanet folk just get on with life.

Then there is the sack them all merchant, but surely you had your chance in 2011, long after the Pleasurama fiasco started, yet still elected much the same councillors.

Add the supporters of Ian Driver who want to exempt him from criticism. Well we all saw how popular he really is in last years county council elections.

Face the facts, you are all but a small bunch who whine to absolutely zero effect.

Richard Eastcliff said...

Er, except that we were all whining about Sandy Ezekiel when he was TDC leader, and he ended up with an 18 month sentence for misconduct in a public office.

I'd hardly call that 'zero effect'.

If you want to bury your head in the sand and hope it all goes away, that's your choice. Personally, I don't like seeing my council tax stuffed down a drain, so I will continue to 'whine'.

And yes, 8:56am, 'Rick' is ordinarily Richard Card, so I, too, have only a vague idea of what 8:30am is banging on about.

Paul James said...

If thats what you think 9.14 am, that's fine. If you are right, just answer one question. Why do you waste your time reading the blogs if you are in such a small minority?

Anonymous said...

Not knocking your right to protest, Richard, but even you at the end of your last post comments agreed the petty name calling is bringing about the demise of Thanet's blogs.

To the newcomer it does seem to be a handful of people who just trundle out the same, often one liners, with no real message other than negativity.

Where is the real campaign for change or the people of merit prepared to stand for public office, and please don't tell me Ian Driver. He is just a publicity seeker of far left views, now probably at home in the Green Party, which has replaced Militant and the SWP as the far left of British politics.

Anonymous said...

Paul James, in the hopes of finding some interesting debates and to get the feel of the local area. If I were to believe even a quarter of the crap that passes for comment on these blogs I would top myself for moving here.

Anonymous said...

"When apathy lives in society evil men will rule" {Plato}
Stargazer.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think Plato was referring to a handful of people calling for arrests on a blog site. It takes people of merit to lead an effective campaign. That is certainly not happening around to Thanet blogs.

Richard Eastcliff said...

I agree, Recent DFL, that some of the comments on the Thanet blogs make for depressing, and often garbled, reading. There are one or two regular commentators who are determined to hijack the conversation in their own particular direction, which is, frankly, a bore.

It's hardly worth wading through the gibberish for the occasional gem, which is why I'm tempted to go Facebook-only.

Please do not top yourself for having moved here, though. I moved here eight years ago and have found it really rather nice! Apart from the council and the local mafia, there's not a lot not to like!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Richard, very reassuring though I did not really think the comments around the blogs typified Thanet folk. Like you, I find lots to like and I don't really believe the one about the Arabs shooting Uzis in Birchington or the dangers of cancer from the polluted aquifer.

Peter Checksfield said...

If you want to see Thanet at it's finest then google "Naked in Thanet"!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Peter, but I tend to subscribe to the saying that the clothes maketh the man (or woman for that matter).

Anonymous said...

I tend to think the opposite.

Anonymous said...

We need a vote of no confidence in our councillors with Party head office. And a police investigation into mcgoniugal etc.

We're paying for salaries and pensions for these idiots and they're relying on delaying things and then a shtum payoff.

Anonymous said...

Where do we vote?

Anonymous said...

We need to start. Somewhere. Apathy is rife. But if we make every one realise that Thanet can be different, we may start changing peoples minds. One at a time. And it was good to see an on-topic conversation here E-CR. And facebook does hold a decent level of discourse

Peter Checksfield said...

As I've said before, if someone organises a petition or something then I'll gladly sign it. It's no use everyone saying that we need change but no-one actually doing anything though (& I'm not willing to organise anything, merely support it).

Anonymous said...

10:54 seems to have a random vieew on aquifer pollution: it's well-documented here:

http://savethanetswatersupply.blogspot.co.uk/

And there are Environment Agency reports and presentations too.

The concern is that so little has been done. We're still at the stage of fools like him denying the problem. Maybe a councillor? The usual ex-RAF manston fanatics?

Anonymous said...

There are e-petitions or we could start here?

How about: we the undersigned have no confidence in TDC councillors and civil servants and call for a Police inquiry into Ferrygate, Manston, Pleasurama etc?

Better wording anyone?

Anonymous said...

It's a start, but the trouble with calling for police enquiries is having definite proof. Maybe another way is to call for TDC to be abolished & the area divided between Shepway and Canterbury councils? They're not perfect but nowhere near as bad as TDC!

Anonymous said...

Like I said earlier, just meaningless chunter with the organisation of a boozers night out. You don't do anything - just gripe about change and arrests all to no end.

Anonymous said...

Like I said earlier, just meaningless chunter with the organisation of a boozers night out. You don't do anything - just gripe about change and arrests all to no end.

Peter Checksfield said...

And your solution is 3:47?

Anonymous said...

Solution? Either send police your evidence or go back to your mundane lives!

Here's Ann Barnes email address:

contactyourpcc@pcc.kent.pnn.police.uk

Anonymous said...

Peter, I do not have a solution but I also don't pretend to know that the whole council should be arrested or that everything revolves around bungs and brown envelopes.

Like I said earlier it takes people of merit who are prepared to stand for public o0ffice to lead a campaign for change. I do not see any of those round the blog sites.

Anonymous said...

3:53 Ann Barnes holds a meaningless political office that adds another expense tier to policing. She is not a cop and not very bright if her selection of a Youth Commissioner was anything to go by.

You want to email the self important old duck, go ahead.

Peter Checksfield said...

I'm inclined to agree. I know that people hate me & others going an about anonymous commentators, but people might at least take them more seriously if they had a name and face.

Anonymous said...

Unless the name and the face is Rick's!

Anonymous said...

Friends of Ramsgate Seafront started a Facebook page that now has over 1,000 members, and managed to at least get TDC's attention. Maybe something like that would be a start?

Peter Checksfield said...

We need to make sure it's not confined to FB though.

Anonymous said...

I think we're agreed on the above wording for an epetition?

Facebook etc can display the epetition URL.

Agree with the point on Barnes being a pointless police cheerleader: the reforms so far are weak and expensive.

Merging with Canterbury etc is a separate issue perhaps for after resignations/P45'/jail.

Any other comments?

Anonymous said...

"We're agreed"? I haven't seen anyone agree yet.

Anonymous said...

Can I just ask who's posting the petition? I'm not going to sign anything posted by someone anonymous, and I doubt if many other people will either.

Anonymous said...

It's Cllr Driver.

Anonymous said...

Well I would not sign anything that attention seeking waste of rations comes up with.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else want to quibble or post the epetition under their name?

This is the wording:

"We the undersigned have no confidence in TDC councillors and civil servants and call for a Police inquiry into Ferrygate, Manston, Pleasurama etc?"

Anonymous said...

It looks fine, but I'll also only sign it when I know who's behind it. I'm not going to sign anything by Driver, Rick or any their ilk!

Anonymous said...

If you really want to do something, get a lawyer and go to court. You can spend your money fighting the council and they'll spend your money defending themselves. You see? The only way they could lose is if you were able to pin criminal charges on them. And I don't think anybody has even come close to suggesting that this might be possible. I think councillors and officers alike know that they are untouchable.

Anonymous said...

Eh 7:30? Go to Court but you'll lose? What are you saying? The council can't use public funds to defend individual cases eg against Macgonigal personally. They have to fund it themselves.

You're being overly negative. The epetition seems a good place to start too. Just complaining doesn't do much.

Personally I'd sign it if it was hosted by Rock or Driver I don't see any problem with them or the wording.

The bigger problem is TDC ie Macgonigal and Bob and Clive thinking they can do as they like with our money.

Richard Eastcliff said...

Before we all go signing a petition, it would perhaps be wise to research what might, or might not, be an effective thing to petition for.

I personally think it very unlikely that a petition calling on the police to investigate these matters would amount to anything. Even if there were 100,000 signatures, what could, or would, the woodentops do about it? Nothing, probably.

For a petition to have effect it must encapsulate a realisable goal that everyone can get behind, and which will go some way to frightening the horses.

So how about concentrating on one issue, say Ferrygate, and wording it along the lines of: 'We the undersigned call for the Chief Executive of Thanet Council Sue McGonigal, the council's legal adviser Harvey Patterson, Labour leader Clive Hart, and former Tory leader Bob Bayford to resign, following their clandestine, undemocratic and, in our view, illegal agreement to allow TransEuropa Ferries to accumulate £3.4m of debt to the council, which debt was, furthermore, unsecured, leaving the council with a serious and unprecedented gap in its funding.'?

Or words to that effect?

Anonymous said...

Only in Thanet could a secret person petition against TDC's secrecy!

Richard Eastcliff said...

I wasn't suggesting it was me who sponsored the petition, you oaf!

Anonymous said...

Nor was I suggesting it was you, I was talking about the other one who wants to start a petition without revealing who he (or she) is! As I said, only in Thanet...

Anonymous said...

I promise you, I will reveal my full identity as soon as the petition is finalised and posted online. There will no doubt be some press coverage so it would be stupid not to.

Anonymous said...

We really believe that 10:34... NOT!

Anonymous said...

ECR petition: your wording is OK but falls into the trap you're trying to escape ie so what will Plod do? The other petition called ofr resignations and a Police inquiry. Both perfectly reasonable.

Your petition also falls into a new trap of calling Ferrygate illegal which I certainly think it is but the council will hire lawyers to twist their view this way and that as to how they acted.

So your petition is a bit feeble really but let's do it.

Anonymous said...

Today!

Anonymous said...

9:09 and 9:57 seem typical Thaneters: anonymous blog critics blaming someone for being anonymous and coming up with something practical that they disagree with for some reason.

Tussers.

Peter Checksfield said...

I'm lost here...

(a) Are we agreed on the text for the petition?

(b) Is it going to be posted today?

(c) Will the person(s) behind it reveal their identity, if only to encourage media publicity & interviews?

Anonymous said...

No, no, and no!

Anonymous said...

The ECR text seems fine although the original was more specific. Does he want to post it? Do you Peter? Any of the other anonymouses?

We could dither for ages couldn't we?

And the councillors and civil servants are still being paid by us for failure.

Anonymous said...

Offtopic but does anyone have any more info on the councillors scrapping the Airport committee?

Peter Checksfield said...

11:16, as I said on here yesterday, I'll probably support it but I won't organise it. But at the moment there seems to be plenty of (mostly anonymous) chat but no action.

Anonymous said...

Where can I find this petition?

Peter Checksfield said...

Well that really sorted things out!

Anonymous said...

I think we'd agreed on: "we the undersigned are too idle or spineless to do anything about the pollution or contamination and agree to continue paying council tax".

That was it wasn't it?

Allan Mallinson said...

You forgot to add 'and too cowardly to give our names.'

Anonymous said...

Not as such Allan the idle/spinelesspetition would be signed by various Anons eg Anon Margate etc.

You could sign it with your name if you thought there was contamination at Manston or Thor.

You've pointed out before there is no corruption at TDC and Laura is a marvellous MP and Tory good/Labour bad so maybe you're unsure of the contamination?