What does someone who oversaw the biggest financial collapse in English local government history do after they trouser their £437,000 golden handshake from the Council Tax-payers of Croydon?
Why, they deliver lectures to people who ought to know better, on “Growing a sustainable London”, that’s what.
The Tom Lehrer line was that “Satire is dead” after Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State who ordered the carpet-bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yesterday, at something called the London Real Estate Forum held at the Barbican Centre in the City of London, Croydon Council’s former chief executive Jo Negrini took the barely breathing body of irony and stamped all over it in her kitten heels.
Since her hasty exit from Croydon, where she left the council with £1.5billion in debts, a failed Westfield regeneration scheme in the town centre and a house-building company flop that had borrowed £200million and never made a penny profit, Negrini has been making herself available as a “consultant”.
Arup, the design and construction specialists, have Negrini on their books. They got a good deal of valuable work out of Croydon when Negrini, the self-proclaimed “regeneration practitioner”, was holding the council’s purse strings.
And it was Arup who put together yesterday’s session after lunch in the main hall, with Negrini in charge.
“The session will explore the importance of the growth and opportunity areas along the Thames,” said the blurb for Negrini’s 45 minutes in the spotlight.
“How do these areas support the growth of London? How are their programmes developing in respect to sustainability and net zero? What are the challenges and successes of the public and private sectors in response to these opportunities?”
Oh, how the people of Croydon will laugh!
Might anyone in the audience at such a session have asked the chair what happened to the £1.4billion Westfield project that was supposed to have been built in her old borough?
Or how Negrini’s brainchild, housing developer Brick by Brick, was going?
Perhaps she could advise on how a £30million refurbishment of a much-admired civic arts centre, the Fairfield Halls, placing arts at the centre of regeneration, could end up costing £67million and still fail to deliver the required upgrades?
And how about the Meals on Wheels deliveries and dozens of other public services and people’s jobs that have had to be cut since she spun out of the doors at Fisher’s Folly?
If only the people attending the London Real Estate Forum – tickets £995 plus VAT for the full package of conference and tours – had access to the contents of the long-suppressed Penn Report, then they might have a better grasp of the real areas of expertise of Jo Negrini.
Read more: Negrini and execs ‘failed to ensure council was acting lawfully’
Read more: Satire is dead: Brick by Brick and ‘the power of social housing’
Read more: The bottom line on the failure of ex-CEO Negrini: £613,895
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