Dudley Mead and Tim Pollard, the pair of senior Tories behind the secretive scheme to flog off 24 of the most valuable pieces of the publicly owned Riesco collection of Chinese ceramics – first exposed by Inside Croydon – must be hoping that the auction achieves top dollar, since their actions will see Croydon Council facing disciplinary action from the Museums Association.
Croydon could become only the third local authority in a quarter century to be kicked out of the Museums Association because of what the national organisation described today as “its financially motivated disposal” of the Riesco collection china.
Nick Merriman, director of Manchester Museum and convenor of the Museums Association’s ethics committee, said today: “We reviewed the actions of Croydon Council against the guidance in the MA’s code of ethics on financially motivated disposal, and we found that they had not met the requirements of the code of ethics in a significant number of areas, despite considerable efforts by the MA to engage with them on these issues.
“The committee therefore reported to the MA’s director that Croydon Council is in breach of the code of ethics, and recommended that he consider disciplinary action against the council.”
Croydon residents’ public property is, thanks to posh West End auction house Christie’s, off on a world tour prior to being flogged off on November 27 in Hong Kong.
Pollard continues to claim that the sale is motivated by savings to be made on the cost of insuring the collection – despite the fact that, according to Croydon Council, not a penny has been spent on insuring the Riesco collection for at least five years. Is Pollard lying, or does he really not realise that no insurer is going to take on the risk of insuring what is a priceless collection?
It is unclear whether the Museums Association’s ethics committee also examined the probity of what Croydon Council wants to do with the proceeds – to part-pay for refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls, where Councillor Dudley Mead, the deputy leader of our Conservative-run council, also happens to sit on the governing body.
According to the Association, representatives from Croydon Council will be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing in the next few weeks where they will have an opportunity to state their case before a panel made up of three MA board members.
“It seems to me that the case against Croydon is very strong but they will be given a chance to account for themselves at the hearing before the MA makes a decision,” Mark Taylor, director of the MA, said.
“If the panel then decide that the disposal contravenes the code of ethics, they have the power to recommend expulsion from the MA.”
In the past 25 years, only two local authorities – Bury and Derbyshire – have been expelled from the MA for violating the code of ethics.
- Arts Council chief says Croydon “short-sighted” on Riesco
- Council’s Mr & Mrs act that defies proper declarations
- Tired tribute acts represent poor value for £13m Riesco sale
- Riesco family opposes “unethical” china collection sale
Coming to Croydon
- Green Heritage Fair at Heathfield House: Sep 21-22
- Three plays in a pub: The Ship, Sep 24
- Have a cup of coffee and help fight cancer: Sep 27
- Help break the chains of human trafficking: Sep 28
- Minister’s musical celebration for Silver Sunday: Oct 6
- Rent at the Secombe Theatre: Oct 9-12
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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