FORMER Council leader, Tony Newman, and close colleague Simon Hall were both suspended following Croydon Council going bankrupt under their watch – yet both have now resigned just before the results of a report into their ‘suspicious’ conduct is to be published.
The cabinet member for finance and the former leader of Croydon Council were initially both suspended pending an investigation, following complaints of bullying behaviour, ‘money mismanagement’, and what insiders suggest could amount to ‘illegal activity’.
Newman and Hall were in charge of the troubled council in the lead up to its shocking financial collapse – even chucking £100m of the cash-strapped council’s dosh into a posh hotel.
Both stood down from their positions at the end of 2020 but remained as independent councillors having been suspended by the Labour Party in relation to an independent investigation by the Local Government Association.
Last week four senior members of staff at the council were also suspended in relation to the same damning report into ‘dodgy dealings’.
This evening however, Newman ended a four-month Twitter silence with a brief statement:
Cllr Hall swiftly followed:
Last month, Newman and Hall were placed on “administrative suspension” by the Labour Party, pending an investigation, apparently as a result of their both being named in a report on “possible wrong-doing” written by Richard Penn, of the Local Government Association. Penn’s report, which is 140 pages long, was delivered to the council’s interim chief exec, Katherine Kerswell, nearly three months ago, but has not yet been released.
Parts of the report that have been leaked so far found that “council officials were instructed by members of Newman’s cabinet to rewrite some of their reports, in effect to disguise the council’s mounting financial problems”.
The council was forced to declare effective bankruptcy in November and is set to make significant cuts to services over the coming months and years as it faces a budget black hole of more than £60m.