STEVEN DOWNES on the backlash from senior figures at the Town Hall to the secrecy and cover-up over the sudden departure of a council director
Senior councillors in Croydon have expressed mounting anger over the council’s “Godfather Affair”, where executive director Graham Cadle was able to pay a family friend £787 per day but failed initially to declare the relationship.
One councillor, who only found out about the matter by reading Inside Croydon, is now reporting it to the police for possible investigation into whether there has been a misappropriation of public funds.
Other councillors are asking whether Cadle, who had worked in Croydon for a decade and was on a salary of £150,000, received any “golden goodbye” pay-off, and how much.
“Jo Negrini, the council’s chief executive, or the Borough Solicitor ought to have taken this to the police last April, when a member of staff acted properly as a whistleblower to highlight the close relationship between Harry Singh, Karen Sullivan, the head of revenues and benefits at the council, and their child’s godfather, Graham Cadle,” one councillor said tonight.
“I want to know if it was reported to the police, or whether someone at the council decided it wasn’t important. It should be for the police or the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether a crime has been committed, not Cadle’s friends and colleagues in the executive offices of Bernard Wetherill House.
“There’s public money at stake here, tens of thousands of pounds of public money. And we have a duty to the public to protect their interests and their money.”
Following reports by Inside Croydon and Private Eye magazine, both Cadle and Harwinder “Harry” Singh are no longer working for Croydon Council.
Not that the council has bothered to say much on the matter.
In a somewhat off-hand statement provided to the satirical fortnightly magazine, a council press officer told the editor of the Rotten Boroughs column in the Eye, “All relevant councillors and staff were informed of Mr Cadle’s departure.”
That could mean that at least 60 of Croydon’s current batch of 68 councillors are, in the view of the council’s own leadership, irrelevant.
Enquiries by Inside Croydon suggest that few, if any, back-bench councillors from the Labour group were officially informed of the departure of Cadle, the director of corporate service and one of the most senior employees at the council.
Nor had any Conservative councillors been informed of Cadle’s departure, or the reasons for it.
The Labour chair of the important scrutiny committee, Sean Fitzsimons, knew nothing of the original internal investigation into the relationship between Singh, Sullivan and Cadle, nor the amounts of public cash being paid to Singh, until Inside Croydon presented him with leaked council documents last year.
And at least three members of council leader Tony Newman’s cabinet had no knowledge of Cadle leaving his job, either.
Croydon residents, through their Council Tax, provide £1,456,862 per year in “allowances” for their largely irrelevant councillors.
And some of those councillors, having been kept in the dark about the Cadle Godfather affair, are beginning to demand some answers to what might be awkward questions for the Labour administration, with local elections now just 13 weeks away.
“If this matter has not been reported to the police, who took that decision?” said one councillor tonight.
“I’d like to know when the council leader first knew about what was going on with Cadle and Singh, and when he first took action about it.
“Perhaps Negrini thinks she can treat elected councillors like mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed bullshit.
“She’s about to find out that some of us want to throw much more light on this situation.”
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