Rothesay Harbour, Part 4

I have published 3 posts on the story of Calum McMillan and Rothesay Harbour. These are to be found here:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

As I made clear in Part 3, Calum McMillan had little choice but to abandon his claim given the potentially huge costs of going to a proof in the Court of Session. As soon as the case was abandoned, the nonsense started from both officers and elected members of the council who claimed, repeatedly, that this was a huge victory for them. Common sense should have prevailed by saying little or nothing but the crowing was just stomach turning, especially by Cllr Ellen Morton who wrote at least twice to The Buteman spewing out all sorts of rubbish. What she said had to be rebutted and this was done by Cllr Robert MacIntyre and he did this exceptionally well.

In anyone’s language, what we had was the legal equivalent of a draw. Calum dropped his claim at the suggestion of the council who offered to walk away with each side meeting their own legal costs. The proof of the fact it was a draw can be found in Part 3 but the document that provides the proof is available again here:  offer-to-settle-7-sep-16

Robert MacIntyre and myself both asked what the council’s legal costs were and eventually we were told that they came to £145,000 plus VAT for the external costs incurred, ie with the council’s external legal advisers and for the QC they used. This may or may not be all the external costs because I think the external legal advisers had been used for a significant time before the formal claim was lodged. Let’s accept that figure, though, but to it needs to be added huge volumes of staff time over 10 years or more. That is why I am guesstimating a total cost to the public purse of around £300k. Some victory.

Back in May 2014 at a meeting between council staff and Calum and his solicitor, an offer to settle was made. At that time, Calum’s claim was for £150k. That offer had 3 parts. Part 1 was to waive £50k completely; part 2 was to make a cash payment of £50k to Calum and part 3 was to offset £50k against future berthing  charges at Rothesay which he may or may not have incurred.

The key point was that, at that juncture, £50k in cash would have settled the matter.

Calum’s view was that a deal was reached that day. The council side was to go away and confirm the deal in writing the following day. The confirmation never arrived.

The council’s view is that no deal was reached that day. Seems to me that someone isn’t telling the truth but which side is the liar? Someone is.

Anyway, I decided that with costs of some £300k, £145k of which were proven, there had been an enormous waste of public money. I got a number of councillors to agree to submit a complaint to the council’s internal audit team. What we put to them is at the link below.

In the next part, I’ll give you more detail but I can say now internal audit refused to investigate. More to follow. request-for-an-internal-investigation-into-the-possible-misuse-of-council-funds

 

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.

2 thoughts on “Rothesay Harbour, Part 4”

  1. “costs of some £300k” If it were a business Morton et-al were running it would have crashed long ago, but instead the people of Argyll loose out and will pay for it through service cuts A.K.A. the Kilmory oxymoron “choices”.

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