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Monday, 1 November 2010

Let them eat Cheesecake

The Hornet brings more news of Daniel Michael Gerald Moylan's fun lunch with Marc Vlessing, principal of property developer, Pocket. Fortunately The Great Architect wasn't out of pocket, he dipped into yours to put their delicious lunch at a 5 star hotel on council expenses!

One of our many readers - a property professional - casts some light on why we paid, and thanks also to Anon. the info is very good, keep it coming.

Hornet has learned both Cllr Moylan and his lunch guest Marc Vlessing worked at County NatWest, former investment banking arm of NatWest Bank, now part of RBS some years ago.

Vlessing's new company, Pocket, as we know is into building pocket-sized, cheap housing, for people who would otherwise be unable to afford hefty mortgages to purchase their own home. The company has just completed such projects in Westminster and Hammersmith. Our new Super-Council will combine both Councils with K&C. So is K&C the next target for the Pocket Portfolio?

At the time of the all expenses paid lunch, was the Earls Court redevelopment that will create over 8,000 homes a subject of discussion? Maybe it was and maybe Pocket hopes they could be one of those handed a plum contract on some of these dwellings? What was discussed between him and Moylan?

Hornet notes  Vlessing is quoted as saying: ".... It is also absolutely imperative that local authorities and public bodies play a much more active role in releasing their land holdings; but this must start now ..."  If Vlessing is so desperate to persuade councils to flog off land; he is fortunate in having Council Planning Supremo Danny Moylan as an old work colleague.

However; our friend in a hard hat warns Vlessing to treat Danny's involvement with caution as Moylan's property interests has been underperforming somewhat and one has halved in value since launched in 1997!

Hornet has repeatedly said it is perfectly acceptable for old City banker friends to dine together, but if it is not to do with council business it is not acceptable to submit an expense claim. If it is council business, then it needs to be open and transparent so that voters can be assured.

Equally, the clouds that obscure what was going on, and that these issues that have come to light cast even further doubt on what could quite feasibly have been a totally unrelated and innocent meeting. For K&C's Planning Supremo to have cosy chats with old friends - who are property developers with interests in K&C - without an officer being present, is arrogant madness. Even if proper conduct is observed; it sets tongues wagging.

Hornet isn't letting this one go just yet, as she has more to report soon...

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