#WadGate: O’Connell and Mohan join Fisher’s Infamous Five

Mike Fisher was not alone among Croydon’s senior Conservative councillors in looking at claiming an increase in his allowances.

Steve O'Connell: even £118,000 a year is not enough

Steve O’Connell: even £118,000 a year is just not enough

And at the front of the queue for a bigger hand-out at the expense of Council Tax-payers was Steve O’Connell, the Kenley councillor and London Assembly Member for Sutton and Croydon.

O’Connell was dubbed  Britain’s most overpaid local councillor when he was banking £118,000 a year from Croydon Town Hall and City Hall. Clearly, that was not enough for O’Connell, a close aide to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.

Now O’Connell and three other greedy Croydon Tories have admitted that they enquired about getting a bigger wedge of public cash, though none of them followed-through to collect it, as Fisher did with damning consequences for his and his party’s political prospects.

Inside Croydon was the first this morning to report that Fisher had quit his position as the leader of Croydon Conservatives, after he was found out to have paid himself an extra £10,000 in allowances last year, on top of the £53,000 he was already pocketing as the leader of the council.

The retrospective claims – for an increase in allowances that publicly the Croydon Conservatives had said they would not take – would not have been illegal, but Fisher’s £10,000 claim has been described by one senior Tory as “doubly wrong”, for claiming cash that he had said he would forego, and for doing it secretly.

After their leader was rumbled on Wednesday, Fisher’s Conservative colleagues on the council at first claimed to know nothing about the secret pay hike.

Vidhi Mohan: Found it tough scraping by on £43,339  last year

Vidhi Mohan: Found it tough scraping by on £43,339 last year

By Thursday, the Tory story shifted slightly, as it emerged that, maybe, he’d had a word about the possibilities of making a claim for a pay rise on the QT, but that the other councillors did not know he had actually gone ahead with the claim.

Today, following Fisher’s resignation last night, it has come to light that four other senior Tories took their leader’s advice and looked into the possibility of jumping on the same gravy train.

Three of them could have been looking at pocketing around £9,000 extra if they had followed through with their enquiries.

In Mike Fisher’s Infamous Five are O’Connell, Vidhi Mohan, Simon “Cheap But Not Free” Hoar and Steve Hollands.

Simon Hoar: Seriously out of pocket now

Simon Hoar: An ex-councillor, and seriously out of pocket now

Until the Tories lost the local elections in May, O’Connell was collecting £43,339 as a Croydon Council cabinet member. This was on top of anything he is paid at City Hall and by MOPAC, the police body on which he is a special adviser to Mayor Johnson able to claim up to £500 per day.

Fairfield councillor Mohan was, like O’Connell, also on the Croydon Council cabinet member’s allowance of £43,339. On scales determined independently by umbrella body London Councils, council cabinet members could be paid a “remuneration” of up to £52,378. Mohan was recently selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Croydon North at next year’s General Election.

Hoar was a councillor for Waddon ward. He lost his seat on the council at the local election in May. Until then, Hoar, too, was a cabinet member, already in receipt of £43,339.

Steve Hollands: another sniffing around sticking his snout in the trough

Steve Hollands: another sniffing around sticking his snout in the trough

Hoar had worked as a political assistant at City Hall until 2012; his first job there had been as an aide to the former Tory AM Andrew Pelling, who was one of the Labour candidates who unseated him in 2014.

Since 2012, Hoar’s sole source of income was thought to be his Croydon councillor allowances, and it is not known whether he has yet managed to find alternative employment.

The fifth councillor who was sniffing around sticking his snout in the trough, Hollands, was the only one of the group not to be a cabinet member. A councillor for Kenley ward, he still did not do too badly out of Croydon Council, because for chairing a Town Hall committee, he received an extra £24,000 “special responsibility allowance” on top of the basic £11,239 that is paid to all 70 Croydon councillors.

The four today issued a statement admitting that they’d been tempted to go for the extra cash. “When we considered this carefully, and after dialogue with the council, we became convinced that retrospectively increasing what we were paid for our work over the last four years would be completely inappropriate.” No shit Sherlocks.

Of course, when the scandal emerged around Fisher this week, no condemnation or criticism was heard from O’Connell, Mohan or the others in the Infamous Five.

Now we know why.

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Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Boris Johnson, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Fairfield, Kenley, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Mike Fisher, Shirley, Simon Hoar, Steve Hollands, Steve O'Connell, Vidhi Mohan, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to #WadGate: O’Connell and Mohan join Fisher’s Infamous Five

  1. marzia27 says:

    Shirley Life reported in January 2013 that Mike Fisher was one of the 17 Members of the LFB Authority (http://moderngov.london-fire.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1)
    His last notice was signed on 11 July 2014. No expenses are registered BUT is he still a member of the Authority?
    The public is blissfully unaware of what councillors receive under various headings.

  2. davidcallam says:

    Like a third world country!
    This gravy train is running away. What do these people do for the money? They have no special expertise. And any ability is hardly evident in the mess they made of Croydon’s finances. Can we treat them like bankers and claw this money back?

  3. DJ Images says:

    Reblogged this on David Juster's "Imagination" and commented:
    Not in the real world

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