Thursday, 29 March 2012

CWaC Council leader's company liquidated with £250,000 debts

Further to my earlier posts on the subject

12th August 2011: Mike Jones, Leader of CWaC Council & ASC (Developments) Chester Ltd Updated 28th February and 5th March 2012.

8th March 2012: Council leader's company, ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd, to be liquidated

14th March: CWAC Council leader confronted by angry businessmen at executive meeting

6th April 2012: Full list of 59 creditors added (Its a wonder only two attended the executive meeting)

15th April 2012: CWaC Council payments to ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd and ASC Developments between May 2011 and February 2012 added below full list of creditors.

Following the creditors meeting it is has been established that CWaC Council leader Mike Jones’ liquidated firm ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd had debts totalling £250,000.

HM Revenue and Customs owed £80,945
Employees owed £64,884 for redundancy and holiday pay
Suppliers and sub-contractors owed £50,211
Nat West Bank, in Eastgate Street, owed £34,711.
The Nat West debt is secured against units, from where ASC operated, which transferred to associated company Hargrave Properties Ltd in 2007.

Last June ASC survived a winding-up petition raised by HMRC after a settlement was reached. At the time Cllr Jones believed trading conditions were about to improve but this proved too optimistic.

The final blow was when ASC lost a national contract for housing maintenance with effect from April 1 this year.

My comment: Contrary to what Cheshire West and Chester Council suggest this is not just a personal matter. Cllr Jones is on record stating "I AM DEALING with the council finances as I would as a business", as a result residents have every right to be concerned about the liquidation of his own business with such horrific debts.

Was he also overly optimistic with Council finances? Why was the Council paying two different ASC companies, or one with two supplier codes? There are many questions that need answering before residents will accept the Councils assertion that this is a private matter.

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

#QuackCWaC Council can't handle the truth!

Extract from a letter published in the Middlewich Guardian
I ATTENDED the Cheshire West and Chester Council Executive meeting recently and to be honest, I was astounded by the lack of courteousness meted out by the council to those who asked rather basic questions. 
Firstly, three members of the public gave notice that they wished to speak. The first was told he couldn’t ask a question but was then given five minutes to speak and was then told to stop.
Another person raised a very important issue relating to the council’s code of conduct but was told to stop speaking and finally another person was told to leave the building when he raised a related question to the second matter.
Then, to make matter even worse, three councillors (the shadow executive I believe) asked questions of substance relating to how decisions had been arrived at and council spent some time criticising those questioners for asking questions but didn’t answer them when they should have known the answers.
Contrast this with another person (a Conservative councillor) who asked an equally complex question but on this occasion, the council spent time, without criticising him for asking a question, giving him a detailed and almost complete answer.
My comment: The writer hits the nail on the head when they state 'So to answer my question, it appears a question is only valid when the council wants to answer it.'

CWaC Council will always find a way of blocking questions they don't like or don't want to answer. Don't agree, then read this and watch our 'We've moved on now' Leader action blocking a question. 

[Assuming CWaC hasn't had the evidence removed as they did with the video evidence of the residents trying to hold them to some sort of democratic account at the Executive meeting.]

Q: I wonder why the official meeting video was 'sanitised' to hide the truth. A: Because CWaC Council can't handle the truth! 

Read the full letter from the source Middlewich Guardian

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Man fined after another #QuackCWaC Council cock up

Oliver Morris, 23, of Walpole Street, said he thought he was doing the right thing by calling
the council to tell them his bin bags had been left on the pavement.

But Mr Morris, a sales assistant, said he was made to feel like a criminal when council staff came to his
address and told him he and his girlfriend had flouted the law and would be fined £75.

Mr Morris said: “The binmen had not taken our rubbish bags. “I just want the council to know I feel grossly mistreated.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) spokesman Shirley Wingfield said: “We understand that all the rubbish put out for collection on Tuesday, March 6, was collected.

“Also if rubbish is not collected, the person who put the rubbish out should return it to his or her property and contact the council on 0300 123 7026 or via the website to arrange a secondary collection, which we would be happy to undertake.”

My comment: Another QuackCWaC Council cock-up excused with their typical spin and nonsense. The bottom line is that he did contact the council and he did tell them the bags had not been collected so why didn't they arrange a secondary collection instead of sending the bin police round?

Looks to me like they cocked up a second time instead of correcting their initial cock up.

Read the full story from the source Chester Standard

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

CWAC Council leader confronted by angry businessmen at executive meeting

For background information please refer to my earlier posts Council leader's company, ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd, to be liquidated of the 8th March 2012 and Mike Jones, Leader of CWaC Council & ASC (Developments) Chester Ltd of the 12th August 2011.

UPDATED 15th and 17th and 21st March 2012

A LIVE webcast was shut down when two angry businessmen publicly challenged council leader Mike Jones over debts they claim his firm owes them.

Mr Hinson told the meeting: “I’m here for one reason, the gentleman there, Mr Mike Jones, owes me £9,500. You promised me Mr Jones, you promised me faithfully that you were going to pay me.”

Tiler Mr Trollope has obtained a court order instructing ASC to pay £2,880 owed to his firm Cheshire Screeding Services for tiling work on two bathrooms at a house in Antrobus last August.

Mr Trollope, who intends to make a complaint under the council code of conduct, said: “Authority is a very powerful word. People within our authority are in positions that can influence thousands of lives with a budget of millions. I am a local resident of Chester and Cheshire West, I vote for you as councillors.

Both Cllr Jones and Cheshire West and Chester Council have so far made no public comment on the fate of ASC Developments as they consider it to be a private matter.

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

UPDATED 21st March 2012: It would appear that the video clips of the incidents which were on You Tube have since been removed by CWaC Council.

It is obvious that CWaC Council are not aware of the Streisand effect.

"The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity."

View the Chester Chronicle version here 

My comment: The matter is further complicated because there appears to be two ASC Developments companies that have done work for CWaC Council. The first one (80135) was replaced by another ASC Developments company (127426) between 25th August and 11th November 2011.
Between the 12th May 2011 and the 15th December 2011 the limited company received £22,713.30 and the non limited company received £13,578.12 from CWaC Council.

Whilst it could be argued that the change in names was a just “clerical error” [someone forgot to add the (Chester) Ltd] the same arguments can't be used for the supplier code and the cheques. The council has a formal procurement process through which suppliers have to register. A new supplier code therefore cannot just be entered  it would need accompanying paperwork. Legally speaking ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd is a different entity to ASC Developments and CWaC Council should know that.

ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd also received £46,725 in 2010 from CWaC Council.

UPDATE 15th March 2012: Cheshire West and Chester Council leader faces angry businessmen

Cllr Jones has written to creditors asking them to submit claims against the company and notifying them of a creditors’ meeting at insolvency practitioners Parkin S Booth & Co in City Road on Tuesday, March 27.

Parkin’s branch manager Judith Pryer, confirmed Cllr Jones, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, will be present.

She said the company had ceased trading and would officially go into liquidation following the private meeting.

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

UPDATE 17th March 2012: London Gazette advertise meetings of creditors on the 15th March 2012
(Company Number 01890400) 
(t/a Barlows Electrical Limited, Barlows Electrical (Chester) Limited)
Units 4 & 5, Facit Glen Industrial Estate, River Lane, Saltney, Chester CH4 8RH
Nature of Business: General Construction and Electrical Installation
Notice is hereby given, pursuant to Section 98 of the Insolvency Act, 1986, that a Meeting of Creditors of the above-named Company will be held at the offices of Parkin S. Booth & Co, 2 City Road, Chester CH1 3AE, on 27 March 2012 at 10.15 am, for the purposes mentioned in Sections 99, 100 and 101 of the said Act.
In order to be entitled to vote at the Meeting, Creditors must lodge their proxies, together with a full statement of account at the offices of Parkin S. Booth & Co, aforesaid, not later than 12 noon on 26 March 2012.
Ian C. Brown (IP Number 8621) of Parkin S. Booth & Co, 2 City Road, Chester CH1 3AE, is a person qualified to act as an Insolvency Practitioner in relation to the Company who will, during the period before the day of the Meeting, furnish Creditors, free of charge, with such information concerning the Company’s affairs as they may reasonably require.
E-mail address; Telephone Number 01244 340129

Michael Jones, Director.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Why did CWaC Council promote an E.ON event?

UPDATES 15th March and 4th April 2012 below original article.

On the 5th March 2012 the following notice was published on CWaC Council's website.
Supplier chooses Winsford for energy advice trial
Residents helped to improve energy efficiency

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Climate Change Champion, Councillor Hugo Deynem, welcomes the trial being run in Winsford by energy supplier EON.
Trained advisors will be in and around the town from today (5 March) until Saturday, 24 March, to talk to residents about their energy use.
The focus will be on reducing energy consumption and improving the efficiency in homes and workplaces through specific advice and support.
Particular focus will be given to those households who spend more than 10 percent of their income on energy bills, placing them in the ‘fuel poverty’ sector.
Councillor Deynem said: "As Climate Change Champion for Cheshire West and Chester, I very much welcome the aims of this type of approach by any energy supplier in tackling the impact of high fuel costs and reducing emissions through improved energy efficiency and the installation of more effective insulation measures.
“I am particularly pleased that EON has chosen Winsford to run this trial and look forward to the benefits that targeted specific advice will bring to the residents of the town.”
This notice made me suspicious for a couple of reasons,

1) Most people are aware that one of the oldest tricks in the salesman's book is to offer free advice in order to get the person interested and gain their trust. Once you have them hooked you then go for the sale. Most people, having been given something free, even if it's only information widely available from other sources, feel obliged to at least listen to your sales pitch with many even buying your product.

2) Why is CWaC Council promoting just one specific energy supplier? One would have thought a council should be impartial and not favour one energy supplier over another. Furthermore, why were they not aware of this common sales trick?

In addition, doorstep selling has been received so much bad press over the last few years that most energy suppliers have now stopped using doorstep selling and started using shopping centre based events similar to the one above,

As a result I decided to do some digging and it didn't take long before finding the answer to that question. My first port of call was the register of interest for the councillor who used the council website to promote this event, Councillor Hugo Deynem

together with a search of earlier entries in the register.

My comment: I think the register of interest speaks for itself. In addition is this not a breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct: 6 (a): You must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage.

UPDATE 15th March 2012: Climate change champion on Cheshire West and Chester Council caught in political storm.

A COUNCILLOR has defended using his position on Cheshire West and Chester Council to back a promotional event by the company which employs him.

Cllr Deynem, who represents Tarvin and Kelsall, was quoted in a council press release supporting an energy efficiency roadshow by E.ON in his capacity as climate change champion.

However, the release did not mention that Cllr Deynem is employed by E.ON as its residential energy sales manager which is declared in the council’s register of interests.

Cllr Deynem has defended not making clear his employment position in the release about the event at Winsford.

He told The Chronicle: “I think that would have raised far more questions than it would have answered.

Cllr Deynem accused the CWAC Watcher website of being ‘politically motivated’ and said he took it with ‘a pinch of salt’. [My emphasis]

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

My comment: Interesting that Cllr Deynem should have to resort to the ad hominem fallacious tactic of trying to poison the well. However, for his benefit and others, ironically from all political parties, who have in the past suggested the same, my blog is not politically motivated. It exists to expose council/councillor wrongdoing. 

If Cllr Deyham had taken the time to read the background to my blog and view my other blog he would have seen that I have also exposed councils such as Wirral who were not Tory controlled at the time. Visit my other blog and enter Labour or LibDem in the search box.

In any event, is he implying that I would have kept quiet about my find if I had been a Tory supporter? Surely that would have also meant my silence on the subject would have been politicly motivated. Looks like I am damned if I do and damned if I don't.

UPDATED 4th April 2012: Eon faces watchdog's mis-selling probe.

Energy regulator Ofgem has opened an investigation into whether industry giant Eon is mis-selling to consumers.

The probe follows concerns over whether Eon's face-to-face and telephone sales activities comply with the watchdog's rules on energy sales.

Ofgem is remaining tight-lipped on further details. It only quotes industry guidelines which state firms must have practices in place to guard against mis-selling and must ensure marketing is fair, accurate and easy to understand.

Read the full story from the source Money Saving Expert

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Council leader's company, ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd, to be liquidated

Further to my earlier post Mike Jones, Leader of CWaC Council and ASC (Developments) Chester Ltd  of the12th August 2011 which also includes updates of the 28th February 2012 and 5th March 2012 it has now been confirmed that ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd is indeed going into voluntary liquidation.

The news wasn't unexpected because the ASC Developments (Chester) Ltd site has looked deserted for a while.

Compare the photo above with the one on their website (Please note the link may not work if they take their website down.)

In addition, his wife resigned as Company Secretary and Director on the 27th February 2012.

It appears the decision was taken after a court order was made to send in the bailiffs should money owed to a subcontractor not be paid within a week. Which apparently it wasn't.

Councillor Jones insists this is a private matter but for someone on record as stating I AM DEALING with the council finances as I would as a business,” winding up his own business because of debt problems will not instil confidence in the electorate.

Mr Trollope the owner of the company ASC owes money to has called on Councillor Mike Jones to resign.

My comment: Many business are having a rough time at the moment and many are having to close down but how many of those are owned by a leader of a council who claims to be running their council finances like a business? A council which in the past has supported their leader's business with taxpayer's money.

In addition, if the only problem a company has is a debt of less than £3K why liquidate? Therefore, it is obvious we don't have the full story.....yet

I am sure we will get more pieces of the jigsaw as the weeks go on. No doubt more companies/individuals will now come forward.

Read the full story in the Chester Chronicle.