City Hall media spin - the LDA internal Review does NOT refute the Evening Standard articles regarding Lee Jasper and cronies

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The latest round in Ken Livingstone's Mayor of London attempt at re-election campaign damage limitation spin, using the incumbent officer holder's
publicly funded media relations department, is to issue another Press Release regarding Livingstone's favourite apparatchik. the Director of Policing and Equalities. Lee Jasper,

Evening Standard allegations of GLA and LDA corruption false 11-1-2008 022

The report has been issued today of the review of allegations of LDA corruption and collusion in improperly awarding funds made by the journalist Andrew Gilligan in the Evening Standard in a series of articles in December 2007.

[...]

However, if anyone actually bothers to read past the headline bullet points in the actual LDA Audit Report Schedule details, then these Press Release claims simply look like the South Park tv cartoon Johnnie Cochran Chewbacca Defense i.e. diversionary sleight of hand, focusing on straw man arguments against deliberately twisted modifications of the original newspaper allegations.

There have not been any direct allegations of corruption made personally against Lee Jasper by anyone ! There have been strong allegations of incompetence and sleaze surrounding Ken Livingstone and his London Development Agency, and of undue influence and meddling in operational matters by Lee Jasper, but no allegations of actual provable personal corruption.

The political spin is that Lee Jasper (and therefore his political master Ken Livingstone) has, somehow magically, been totally exonerated from any hint of scandal raised by the series of detailed articles published by the investigative journalist Andrew Gilligan in the Evening Standard newspaper - this claim looks like a political whitewash.

We had expected that the Evening Standard review report to Board - 11 Jan 2008 (.doc 217Kb) , and the Schedule of Evening Standard allegations (.doc 81Kb) documents produced by Andrew Travers, the London Development Agency's own internal Group Director Resources and Risk, would provide detailed refutations of the Evening Standard's allegations, point by point.

Some of the Responses in the Review to the supposed 16 allegations (a list which itself can be disputed) raise further Questions:

e.g. Regarding the now bankrupt Diversity International scheme

An Application for Exception from Financial Thresholds (ie approval to procure without competition) was approved on the basis of ‘specialist services (only available from one supplier)’. "

Just because Lee Jasper did not sign the actual procurement documents and contracts, which are, of course handled by the London Development Agency staff, which he is not a member of, that could still mean that he did lobby for and influence this extraordinary, and on the face of it, obviously doomed scheme.

When have there ever been any "website tools" which have ever successfully social engineered racial discrimination and disadvantage out of a segment of the community ?

If Lee Jasper was not responsible for this mess, then who exactly was ?

Similarly

Allegation 14, 13 and 17 December 2007: at Lee Jasper's instigation, the LDA agreed to pay DI a further £250,000 and to enter into a consultancy arrangement for £35,000 per annum

See allegation 1. No such payments were made

The Evening Standard articles did not say that the money had been handed over, but that the "friend" of Lee Jasper had demanded such monies , so that the LDA could be be rid of his company's involvement in the failed project.

This point does not refute the allegations about Lee Jasper's involvement in influencing this contract payoff and consultancy arrangement, even though the LDA did not in the end go through with it.

Many of the Responses in the Review appear to uphold the Evening Standard's claims, e.g. confirming the amounts of public money handed over to the various companies and organisations.

There is an admission in this Review that Lee Jasper lobbied or influenced the detailed operational management supervision of this LDA project, rather than just advising on the strategic direction of such projects in general policy terms.

8.6. It is also clear from the review that the Director of Policing and Equalities has on occasion been concerned about the performance of the LDA in delivering Mayoral priorities. This is clearly a key part of his remit and it may be that this concern has on occasion resulted in the level of engagement in operational matters which has been observed

Remember also that this is not an independent external report into the allegations.

Remember also that even the Mayor's spin doctors say in their Press release that

Some statements made in the Evening Standard relate to allegations that private individuals appropriated money from organisations to which the LDA had given funds. The LDA has no physical power to investigate such charges as it has no power to sequester bank accounts, force disclosure of emails or accounts, or interrogate individuals etc.

So when the LDA report says that they have found "no evidence" of something, when questioning their own staff, that really does not mean very much at all, concerning comanies or organisations which have been in receipt of London taxpayers' money, but which are not directly employed by the London Development Agency, does it ?

We are struck by mention of internal LDA emails in this Review, but no mention of any written minutes of any face to face meetings involving Lee Jasper, which seems rather strange.

Is this Report the final word on the allegations ? No, it cannot be, as the Report admits that there are still ongoing investigations into four LDA projects mentioned in the Evening Standard articles, one of which has been referred to the Police.

We await Andrew Gilligan and the Evening Standard's reply to this propaganda from Ken Livingstone and his cronies, with interest.

There needs to be an independent external cost benefit analysis of all of the London Development Agencies projects, past, present and proposed.

Surely the London electorate will vote this May for a change from Ken Livingstone's politically tired and inept regime ?

1 Comments

Clearly there is a lack of independence in both of the internal investigations by the LDA and the GLA.

The central argument is that Lee Jasper used the patronage of the Mayor to influence funding towards his long time and close friends.

Neither the GLA nor the LDA investigations have checked to whom the monies have been paid and what those individuals have done for the money.

In the case of Diversity International, Joel O'loughlin is an extremely close friend of Lee Jasper, they have been friends for well over a quarter of century. One of Joel O'loughlin's children is godson to Lee Jasper etc., and they are in constant contact. Joel O'loughlin is a trustee/director of the 1990 Trust along with Lee Jasper's other friends. Lee Jasper is involved in the day to day internal management and running of the 1990 Trust and uses its BLINK website for self-promotion.

Lee Jasper is motivated only by what control he can exert over the so called 'Black community' and the profile he gains from this, he does this via his long-time friends rather than any democratic will of this community.

Ken Livingstone should be re-elected, but Lee Jasper is an absolute embarrassment to his re-election.

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