Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Cooper Rumours....

Sandwell was on fire with rumours over the weekend about the late Smethwick scumbag, Darren Cooper. Questions are being raised with regard to the circumstances of his death and another allegation is that 3 or 4 days before his death he was interviewed by West Midlands Police. Everyone I have spoken to so far about all this (and, of course, some of the information may be false) has clammed up which does look somewhat suspicious.... If you have any news please let me know (and The Skidder phone is back in use - 07599 983737).

One problem The Skidder has is people feeding him false information. Indeed Dickhead Daz himself had some of his associates do just that. Further, certain Labour councillors are trying to undermine the current Leader, Cllr Steve Eling (formerly known as Mogadon Man but now rooting out corruption and the dead wood with alacrity - even if us taxpayers are having to pick up the bill). Thus allegations are swirling around from the "inside" but it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. However, The Skidder did have some AMAZING calls last week and is busy checking facts to enthrall and entertain you on the doings of the crafty comrades in due course.

One hilarious gem came from a senior Labour Party figure who told me that the Party were very worried about the Wragge Report before it came out and so he asked the woman-bullying moron, Cooper about it just two weeks before the thug's sudden demise. Daz told him that there would be nothing to worry about and said, "the Report will be released over my dead body"! What a hoot!

But there was some really good quality info last week. I have referred one matter to West Midlands Police (WMP) and a very serious and damaging story involving Jan Britton and a very senior Councillor will appear in due course. And then some stuff came right out of left field!

Regular readers will recall that Cooper did have a run in with WMP  back in September, 2015. The local cowards in blue initially did nothing about a complaint of harassment from a Birmingham woman who suffered social media trolling at the hands of Cooper and his sidekick from Unite the Union, Brian Rickers. Jan Britton then let "Darren" use SMBC staff and facilities to write letters harassing the woman further. The police buried the matter (and this will be the subject of a further blog in due course) but then had to act after an official complaint. Thus The Turdmeister was asked to voluntarily attend Steelhouse Lane Police Station where he was interviewed at length under caution.

Apart from Jan Britton allowing taxpayer-funded staff to become involved this was a purely private matter arising from the nasty bully-boy's own behaviour. But Jan Britton then supplied one of the Socialist [sic] State of "Sadwell's" chauffeur driven limos to take the scumbag from Oldbury to Birmingham and then wait to bring him back. All at our expense!

Photographs were taken of Dickhead Daz getting out of the limo outside the nick. Unfortunately, they are very poor quality. Cooper was accompanied by a woman and I had surmised that this might be his wife. But out of the blue a serving Labour Councillor contacted me to suggest that the woman was, in fact, a solicitor employed by SMBC called Maria Price.

As above, I have had false info fed to me and this stuff did arrive unexpectedly from the Councillor. It may or may not be true. But heck, I thought - Steve Eling has promised a new golden age of transparency in Sandwell so I'll just ask. This morning I emailed Ms Price but she has declined to respond. I also contacted Jan Britton. Here is my email to him (and an allegation concerning the useless "Chief Executive" "lol" is contained therein too) together with his reply:


I sent this email to Maria Price this morning but have yet to have a response. Do you want to comment?

"I have received an allegation that you were with Cooper when he had to go to Steelhouse Lane nick.

Is this you in the (very poor) photo?

It is further alleged that Jan Britton told you to take the time off as holiday? Is that true please?"

There have been rumours flying around Sandwell all weekend about Cooper and one is that he was seen by the police three or four days before he died. Any comment on that too?"


"In response to your questions:

No and no."

Clearly the message of transparency from Steve Eling is not getting across to the joke head of the paid service! But this is a serious matter. It was already gross misconduct on the part of Britton to permit his staff to help Cooper harass a women. He compounded the felony by authorising the chauffeur-driven limo for private use and it says a lot about his total lack of judgement that he allowed the taxpayer to pick up the bill for this particular purpose. Surely he did not also supply Cooper with a taxpayer-funded lawyer for a private matter too? This is a serious issue and so I have had to submit a Freedom of Information Request on the subject (set out below the subscription) which is now going to cost money to respond to because Price and Britton will not answer a simple question. I will keep you posted!

And Finally....

Some of you have been asking about the serious allegation made by Cllr John Edwards. Readers will recall the Socialist Landlord Jedward collared me outside the Kremlin and said - on film - that I "told lies" in this blog. I challenged him in writing to identify any lies in this blog and gave him 14 days to do so. I said I would buy him a couple of pints if he succeeded. Needless to say he has not but he has yet to withdraw his slanderous allegation nor to apologise.

Incidentally, the same Labour Party source referred to above told me that Jedward had his tongue up Cooper's arse because he knew that if he didn't toe the line the Smethwick thug would engineer his removal from his beloved Chairmanship of the WM Fire Authority. A man of principle indeed!


Confidential phone no:  07599 983737      Facebook:  Julian Saunders

Email:  thesandwellskidder@gmail.com



On 14th September, 2015 SMBC Chief Executive Jan Britton provided one of the Council's two chauffeur-driven limousines to take the late Leader of the Council, Darren Cooper, to a purely private police interview at Steelhouse Lane Police Station, Birmingham.

1   Please disclose Cllr Cooper's official SMBC diary for that date;

2   Was Cllr Cooper accompanied by SMBC solicitor Maria Price?;

3   If the answer to 2 is yes, please disclose all correspondence, records, notes and documents of whatsoever nature passing between Chief Executive Jan Britton and/or Darren Cooper and Maria Price relating to this private appointment. Please disclose any invoice from SMBC to Darren Cooper in respect of Ms Price's time and state when it was paid;

4   An elected member of SMBC has alleged that Jan Britton asked Maria Price to take that day off as holiday. I am assuming that Ms Price's annual holiday entitlement was therefore altered by the Chief Executive or other senior staff. Please disclose all documents of whatsoever nature relating to this to include Ms Price's holiday records for the year in question.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Tom Watson - Can You Help Me Please?

Dear Lazy Tom (as your local Unite Regional Organiser publicly calls you),

As you know, I write a community newsletter in Sandwell (aka "Sadwell") where you are supposed to be an MP - at least when you can manage to drag yourself away from your London home.

There is no point in me contacting you direct as you refuse to reply to me. I have asked you, for example, about your relationship with gambling magnate Derek Webb who is one of your most generous millionaire benefactors (along with your other millionaire supporters including the ridiculous Harry Potter woman, that friend of the "left" Max Mosley and property developer Paramjit Bassi).

You have also refused to disclose your tax returns with regard to the capital gains tax you should have paid on the profits made following the sale of the taxpayer-funded Westminster flat you shared with Ian Wright MP.

And you refused to confirm that you failed to get a degree from Hull University until I proved that you did not.

I also queried why you, as an alleged "socialist", accepted donations from a notorious Birmingham pawnbroker but you and I know don't we Tommy? (Let's hope Sandwell Labour Leader Steve Eling doesn't know as well eh Ten Bellies?)

There seems to be a small discrepancy with regard to your record of donations. I know you have been busy ripping off Unite the Union members to pursue your pathetic anti-Murdoch campaign and, of course, you spent all that time Jew-baiting with your vile, false and unfounded allegations against Leon Britton. On the other hand, you were the joint laziest MP 2010 -2015 and, given your unfortunate history with expenses, one might think you would be very diligent (if you are actually capable of that) with the pounds and pence.

Section 2a of the MP's Register of Interests requires details of "Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation". Sandwell Labour Group tell me they paid you £5,000 in June, 2015 to support your Deputy Leadership campaign but this has not been declared. The local party seem to think you should have done so but perhaps they do not understand the rules. They have supplied me with this document:

Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding and you never received cheque 100290 or perhaps you returned it to your comrades being so flush with cash from trade unions, millionaires and pawnbrokers! But I think we need to know so please clarify the position to your constituents asap!




Confidential phone no:  07599 983737              Facebook:   Julian Saunders

Email:  thesandwellskidder@gmail.com


Thursday, 22 September 2016

A New 5 Star Rogering From Wednesbury Celebrates!

Just when you thought this outfit was on the way out (owing taxpayers huge sums of rent) it seems they have found another mug organisation to fund them! And worse, they have also set up a mysterious organisation to serve [sic] Wednesbury called "5 Star Community Association" which no-one has ever heard of and which is, presumably, different from the commercial "5 Star Performance Academy" run by Richard Jones - son of Labour Councillors Ian and Olwen Jones, brother of Labour Councillor Steven Jones and partner of Richard McVittie who is scoring £105,000 from Sport England via the grant application which failed to mention the huge debts Wednesbury Celebrates were accumulating to us taxpayers.

They have now tapped The Health Lottery for £60,000 whilst still owing huge amounts of rent and havE been kicked out of Wednesbury Town Hall. And who the f*ck are "5 Star Community Association" any way?

The money has been paid from the lottery via this "community interest" outfit:


and here are the grants:

The first grant to WC is a re-run of the scheme they set up with £10,000 from the Big Lottery fund - again using public facilities but neglecting to pay the rent!

The second seems to offer the same as Richard Jones's private "5 Star Performance Academy".

Here is an email I have sent to "HealthDesires" and I have copied in the BBC who are taking an interest in the doings of Cllrs Jones, Costigan and Lloyd (the latter via Murray Hall who were supposed to have appointed Richard McVittie but refused to talk about it to the BBC):

"I write a community news blog covering Sandwell in the West Midlands and have been writing extensively on Wednesbury Celebrates - a highly secretive (!) "community association" and its failure to, at best, fail to declare its insolvency whilst making grant applications (this arises from their total failure to pay rent to the cash-strapped local authority for  the use of public property - they have recently been evicted from their base at Wednesbury Town Hall). 

The blog is at thesandwellskidder.blogspot.com

Wednesbury Celebrates has been under the effective control of a group Labour Councillors and associates/family members.

I have never heard of the alleged "5 Star Community Association" but am aware that the son of two of the councillors involved (who is also the brother of a third councillor), one Richard Jones, has, until recently at least, been operating a commercial operation in Wednesbury called "5 Star Performance Academy". Here is the link to the website today:

Pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request Sandwell Council told me that 5 Star had also not been paying them rent for using taxpayer-owned premises.

Can you please forward to me copies of the applications made by both alleged community associations?

I am copying in a well-known BBC journalist who has featured Wednesbury Celebrates on local radio items."

Clearly Britton let things slide as usual with the problem of non-payment of rent but Steve Eling and the Cabinet need to get a grip here. If not already doing so they must instruct the legal department (or if they are not up to it, outside solicitors) to start proceedings for the missing rent against both Wednesbury Celebrates and Richard Jones's 5 Star and if the money is not forthcoming proceed directly against the trustees. Enough is enough here!

Mind you - fancy dental work doesn't come cheap does it Richard?


(Skidder phone temporarily out of order - please use email)

Email:  thesandwellskidder@gmail.com       Facebook:  Julian Saunders


Melanie F*cks Sandwell Over One Last Time!

Rejoice, rejoice - at least while you read the first part of this post! All the rumours of the last couple of weeks are true and The Skidder is pleased to be able to reveal that "Sadwell" Council's unpopular "Assistant Chief Executive" Melanie Dudley is currently using up holiday before being officially booted-out on 3rd October. No doubt this is being dressed-up as "leaving by mutual consent" or some such but make no mistake - this is another defenestration. Mel herself begged to be saved via, er, Twitter (which speaks eloquently as to her lack of judgement):

"Wow friends. There are some nasty people who try to ingloriously end your career. I am currently on the receiving end. Please don't let the bullies win xxxx."

(Bizarrely, ex-bankrupt and metaphorical Cooper c*ck-sucker Cllr Joanne Hadley added "Don't let the bullies win! "Lol"!)

Jan Britton has apparently already booked the venue for Mel's leaving party:

Mel was, with Jan Britton, obsessed with arse-licking the Smethwick scumbag Darren Cooper's bottom whilst earning a very high salary. Meanwhile, corruption, cronyism and incompetence ran rampant in the "socialist" but deprived Borough.

I cannot say that anyone on the following list was directly involved in fraud and corruption but they were all in post whilst everything went on. Most of them did not have a track record of success to merit being given high - and highly-paid - office (quite the opposite in the case of Sharma) and were seemingly too busy counting their money to notice what was really going on. At the very BEST they were grossly negligent for failing to notice what was actually happening under Cooper and Hussain but the suspicion is that they knew far more than the comrades are letting on which is presumably why Cooper "promoted" some of them:

Jan Britton
Melanie Dudley
Neeraj Sharma
Stuart Kellas
Nick Bubalo
Adrian Scarrott

Just yesterday, I pointed out that four of the above signed a document used to justify the closure of The Public. It is absolutely inconceivable that they did not know that the document included at least one absolutely massive porky from Cllr Mahboob Hussain but even if we give them the benefit of the doubt, they have all known for around two years that they signed a fraudulent document but have taken no steps whatsoever to correct the record. I also pointed out yesterday that Mel's staff were directly involved in shafting The Public from the very beginning even though she was a Director of a company directly involved in the bent deal. Ignore the jargon but this is precisely what Jan Britton's staff said in a Freedom of Information reply (made pursuant to a statutory obligation):

"The day to day management of arrangements is such that officers with 
involvement in projects report directly to Stuart Kellas, the Director of 
Strategic Resources and not to either of the Local Authority LEP Directors 
to avoid any conflict  of interest arising.  Neither Sarah Melanie Dudley 
nor Kerry Ann Bolister has any access to any internal electronic drives on 
which information pertaining to either current or future projects is 
stored.  These arrangements have been in  place since the Strategic 
Partnership Agreement was signed on 31 July 2009."

Leaving aside that this is what is popularly known as "bollocks", this whole charade was blown apart when Mel herself specifically involved herself in the aforementioned "review" document to screw The Public. If she didn't know anything, how could she sign this document you might well ask yourselves?:

Given the capacity of some of Jan Britton's staff to very publicly lie we understand that the comrades have commissioned a new neon sign for The Kremlin to shine brightly over the unfortunate lumpenproletariat of Oldbury:

We all know that Darren Cooper had sh*t for brains and Mel was happy to do his bidding. We have yet to get the full story about the multi-million disaster (yes, that is multi-million pound disaster) surrounding the BT contract that has landed lucky Sandwell residents with the huge office block that is Providence Place [sic] but Mel was intimately involved in that fiasco.

And so here are the highlights of Mel's "glorious career" in the stinking cesspool of Jan Britton's Sandwell:

Well moving on...... Before her recent spectacular fall from grace as the new regime cuts through the bullshit, Mel was openly boasting about the deal she did with Cooper for a massive pay-off from Dickhead Darren just before his death. This illegal and ultra vires deal was to pay-out on Mel's voluntary departure next year. Below the subscription to this post is the Freedom of Information request I have submitted in respect of Cooper's gross misconduct (although I am amending the request to also include details of the current deal - see further below).

You have to ask yourselves why Cooper and Jan Britton have used huge sums of OUR, taxpayers', money to pay off high-ranking departees. If they don't know anything bad about the regime why is the taxpayer paying huge amounts for them to sign "confidentiality agreements"? What is the point?

And how, in these times when local councils are facing austerity and cuts, can Mel apparently go to the woman-bullying thug to make a deal for her to voluntarily leave 12 months later?

Another matter arises from all this and I refer you back to the list above. We know that Kellas went in mysterious circumstances. He was a big friend of Darren (and those ghastly sleazebags the Hortons) but there was some sort of falling out and Kellas was literally marched out of the Oldbury Kremlin.

Bubalo was intimately involved in signing off all the bent land sales and worked with Hussain's son but seems untouchable at the moment. But he has to be skating on very thin ice......

Sharma has been kicked out (plus huge pay-off). Mr Scarrott will be featuring in a post of his own very shortly. Now Mel is on her unlamented way too.

[We should also note that Eling and Co have also got rid of John Satchwell from his role as head of Parks where I am told by a SMBC FOI  that there is an ongoing investigation].

The incredible thing is that despite his obvious shortcomings, the top man is still ducking the bullet but, at last, the noose is tightening around Jan Britton's substantial neck. It will be seen from the above that the relatively new Leader, Steve Eling, is clearing out the sewer good and proper so who will be leading the paid service forward? Astonishingly, the late stiff arranged for Britton to become the Chief Operating Officer for the new talkshop, West Midlands Combined Authority where he is supposed to be working for two days a week (although I put in a FOI request to them yesterday since WMCA insiders say that the useless Britton has missed a number of meetings).

Given that Britton was the Captain whilst Cooper and Hussain's Titanic headed full steam for the iceberg some might be glad that he is now only f*cking-up Sandwell for three days a week rather than five but it does seem that Cllr Eling will have to move quickly to install a new management team in these trying times for local authorities. The next tier of management at Sadders is unfit for promotion as they too have, at best, turned a blind eye to what was going on during the Cooper/Britton regime. Outsiders will need to be recruited but this will not be an easy job for Eling and his senior comrades. Why would anyone with any talent want to work with laughing stock Jan Britton AND in a sh*t-hole like Sandwell? I guess a string of temporary deals will be done which will cost taxpayers' dear but Eling still has to wield the axe and cut out the proven dead wood - including the unfunny clown running the circus.

Unfortunately, whilst Mel fucked Sadwell over during her employment she has also f*cked us all in leaving too. Apparently Steve Eling and colleagues have caved-in and arranged a huge pay-off for the Fragrant One. I am not entitled under Freedom of Information to find out what Mel was contractually-entitled to on her departure but I am amending the FOI set out below to ascertain the "extra" the comrades are forking out to get rid of her quickly. Hopefully, in the new (and very welcome) spirit of openness being engendered by Steve Eling the regime will be happy to supply the details....

And so, whilst it is good that another dismal Cooper clone is going it is regrettable that Mel has screwed us yet again and is laughing all the way to the shoe shop.....


(New Skidder phone number to follow shortly - please use email in the meantime).

Email:  thesandwellskidder@gmail.com          Facebook:  Julian Saunders


FOI - 07/09/16

The Chief Executive of SMBC, Jan Britton, has stated in writing that the late Cllr Cooper arranged a severance package for employee Melanie Dudley for her to leave the Council’s employment in or around April, 2017.

This egregious abuse of power is ultra vires and, therefore, unenforceable.

Please state:

1   There will clearly be diary entries for both parties to this “agreement” and so please provide copies of same to show the precise date(s) AND location(s) of the meetings and provide all notes, memoranda and any other records of whatsoever nature in respect of same.

[I appreciate that any records may show personal financial data in respect of employee Dudley and, save in respect of (4 ) below, I am happy for SMBC to redact same in any response to this request].

2   Please state the identity of any other person or persons who attended the meeting(s) in 1 above if not clear from the disclosable records.

3   Clearly Cooper was just a Councillor and had no legal power to make binding contractual agreements on behalf of SMBC in this way. Accordingly, please disclose ALL memoranda, attendance notes, written records of telephone conversations, reports and documents of whatsoever nature relating to SMBC purporting to “legitimise” this unlawful agreement.

4   Please disclose the relevant clause in the employment contract between SMBC and employee Dudley permitting SMBC to agree a compensation package for employee Dudley over one year before her due departure date? Please disclose the procedure in such circumstances and produce all documents of whatsoever nature purporting to show that the said procedure was implemented and followed.

5   Please disclose the precise legal reason for employee Dudley seemingly voluntary leaving her position eg resignation, retirement, etc. If different from 4 above - please disclose the contractual clause in the SMBC contract of employment permitting SMBC to pay compensation in whichever circumstances pertain. If different from 4 please disclose the procedure and all documents of whatsoever nature purporting to show that the procedure was implemented and followed.

6   A person simply leaving the Council’s employment is not, as I understand it, normally entitled to any compensation from, ultimately, the taxpayer. If, in responding to the above requests you purport to show that employee Dudley IS entitled to a financial package then I am aware that she will be entitled to certain financial payments pursuant to her contract of employment. That is a private matter and I appreciate that I am not entitled to that information pursuant to the FOIA. In the unlikely event that employee Dudley IS entitled to a compensation package I am aware that this is precisely calculated. Please state the amount, if any, which Cllr Cooper and/or any other SMBC officer/employee has purported to agree with employee Dudley over and above her legal contractual entitlement.

7  Has employee Dudley been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement (separate to her duty of confidentiality as an employee) in consideration for obtaining a compensation package? If so, by whom? Please disclose all records, attendance notes, memoranda and documentation of whatsoever nature arising from any arrangements for a confidentiality agreement.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Redactions, Redactions....

Labour Sandwell Council during the Cooper/Britton era became notorious for corruption, incompetence and cronyism. The Skidder and his small, but perfectly-formed, band of helpers has sought to shine a light into the dark corners of Jan Britton's Kremlin where he has caused or permitted his staff to try and get my wife sacked from her current job; caused or permitted his staff to view my social media output then deny this pursuant to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; caused or permitted senior officers to lie in official council minutes and records and then refuse to correct the record; caused or permitted staff to lie in Freedom of Information Act responses and much, much more..... That he is still in a job is mind-blowing.

When information has been forthcoming from the rotten Borough it has often been heavily redacted ie bits are crossed out - sometimes whole pages of documents. And so I thought it would be fun if I put up some documents passing the other way - even though, alas, for legal reasons they too are heavily redacted - at least for now......

Document 1

It has long been said that a serving Sadwell Labour Councillor was convicted at Wolverhampton Crown Court for benefit fraud in the 1990's. Now even though this is a matter of considerable public interest the conviction is very probably "spent" and cannot normally be referred to in a respectable blog like this one. However, the councillor concerned made a certain type of legal application which, as a matter of law, requires details of ALL convictions - spent or not. And so I wrote this letter to the person concerned on 1st August, 2016:



xxxxxxxxxx                                                                 01/08/16

Dear Cllr xxxxxxxxx,

I did try to email you on your Council email but for some reason it bounced back. You might want to check that?

For the benefit of Skidder readers can you kindly forward to me copies of each and every application you have made for xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. I am only interested in the pages that deal with previous criminal convictions where, of course, it remains a legal requirement for spent convictions to be disclosed.

If you prefer, please leave copies addressed to me at the Oldbury Council House and let me know so that I can collect.

Yours faithfully,"

Sadly, I have received no response and am now taking this matter up via other means.

Incidentally, I am told that the Labour Party also requires details of spent convictions from potential candidates but that this person "forgot" to tell them about his own criminal record. No doubt something else for the comrades to look into.....

Document 2

This - sent today to Leader Steve Eling and the joke "Chief Executive" under the title "Nepotism and Cronyism" - should be self-explanatory:

"Dear Cllr Eling,

I write again on behalf of a whistleblower still employed by SMBC. Once again, I do not wish to libel anyone but the allegation is of a very serious nature and I think it is incumbent on me to pass it on without comment and as this is clearly also a matter of public interest.

The allegation which, of course, may or may not be true is that xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (who was "well-connected" shall we say) secured a well-paid position on Band H without the job being advertised and, more importantly, without interview.

I am told that the employee in question has been openly boasting about this for some time.

For what it is worth I am copying-in your part-time "Chief Executive" even though he is very "close" to individuals allegedly involved in this affair."

Document 3

I sent this document way back on 1st August, 2016 to Cllr Eling and to the man who presided over fraud, corruption and gross incompetence under the Smethwick Scumbag, Cooper, whilst raking in a huge salary - yes, it's that Jan again! This allegation involves a VERY senior employee - VERY close to the top!

"Dear Cllr Eling,

I am cautious about writing to you about this potentially serious allegation. I have no wish to defame anyone but have no means of checking the veracity of what a person claiming to be a whistleblowing employee has told me. I have asked the alleged employee to raise the matter through proper channels but the person has said they are "too scared" to do so - perhaps not surprisingly given what has gone on under the Cooper/Britton regime.

I have no way of knowing whether this allegation is true and it would not really be appropriate in these circumstances to contact employees direct (although I reserve all rights in that regard). The allegation is that xxxxxxxxxxxxx ordered an employee, xxxxxxxxxxxx, to "school" his son prior to an SMBC interview. The son, who I think may be xxxxxxxxxxxxx, was then successful at interview although xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Clearly cover-up was the order of the day during the Cooper/Britton regime but I do hope that this matter will be discreetly investigated and appropriate action taken IF there is any truth in it. 

For what it is worth, I am copying in your "Chief Executive".

I reserve all rights with regard to publication of this correspondence."

Apart from being told that this matter was being "investigated" (and we know what that usually means in "Sadwell" don't we readers) I have heard nothing further.

I did also write this letter direct to the son of the VERY senior Council employee who allegedly landed the job with a little help along the way at taxpayers' expense on 24th August, 2016 but, again, I have received no response:

"This is NOT a private and confidential communication.

Dear Mr xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,

I am informed that prior to you securing a job with SMBC you received one-to-one tuition at your father's behest via xxxxxxxxxxxx (and maybe others) employed by SMBC.

Can you please confirm the position as soon as possible by replying to thesandwellskidder@gmail.com

Many thanks,"


Email:   thesandwellskidder@gmail.com         Facebook:   Julian Saunders

(The Skidder phone still temporarily out of order - new number to follow shortly).


Monday, 19 September 2016

Sandwell College Sh*g Us For Another Half Million!

I don't know why Mr Keith Harrison, who purports to be the "editor" of The Wolverhampton c*ck-suckers (aka The Express and Star), has been so keen to allow his rag to peddle the lies about Dickhead Darren Cooper (Deceased) and Mahboob Hussain's bent deal to gift a £70m taxpayer-funded building to the sleazebag College (one year after the College had just been given a, er, taxpayer-funded £70m building) but perhaps he will enlighten us at some point.....

For the record, Hussain instigated the communications with the College for them to take over The Public in West Brom but Jan Britton's senior staff lied about this is a written "Fundamental Review" of the scandalous transaction which was then presented to the full Council.*

I am sure I will be writing more about unpopular Assistant Chief Executive Melanie Dudley very shortly but suffice to say here that we all know that the top echelon of staff under (ouch) the joke "Chief Executive" Jan Britton were totally "up the arse" of Cooper and Hussain but members of Mel's  own staff physically attended the very first meeting Hussain arranged with the College. Yet in a Freedom of Information reply SMBC seriously expect us to believe that the fragrant eyelash fluttering Mel knew absolutely nothing about the deal until it went through. This is wholly incredible but important to the lying comrades and Britton because the Cooper/Britton regime gifted a £6m contract to Interserve Plc without putting it out to tender or any other competitive process. To try and get round the illegality of this, Cooper/Britton claimed that the deal could be done under the already defunct "Building Schools for the Future" scheme which had been stopped by then Education Secretary, Michael Gove. Thus the multi-million pound secret deal had to be channelled through a company called Sandwell Futures Limited and a director of that company was, and still is, "Sadwell's" answer to Imelda Marcos, Mel herself! Clearly there is the most egregious conflict of interest one could imagine here and so the sleazy socialists have simply lied about the true facts. Unfortunately, they overlooked the fact that even though they said Mel had no knowledge of the deal she herself felt able to SIGN the aforementioned Fundamental Review shafting the already doomed arts centre!

Cooper, Hussain and Britton agreed the deal and announced it to the media before going through the legal formalities and, worse, without actually agreeing a deal with the Spon Street scum. We all know Cooper was a thick moron but, as reported often in this blog, the College then played hardball and had the class-dunce's pants down in no time at all.

Cooper and Hussain put it about that the College would be having the building for 25 years and paying "rent" of over £400,000 per annum. This outright lie was slavishly published by the Wolverhampton c*ck-suckers on a number of occasions and despite this blog proving the true facts about the bent deal.

Yes, the lease was for 25 years but the Ofsted-rated second-rate College had insisted on break-clauses being inserted into the lease - two, in fact - with the first being after just 10 years and not the "quarter of a century" the woman-bullying thug Cooper was then boasting about.

The plan was to get Interserve to destroy most of the ground floor of the iconic building and insert a few sh*tty shipping containers with windows as classrooms at a cost of nearly six million pounds. Because the College itself is funded by us taxpayers anyway there was no way even the crafty comrades could simply pay this money to them and so the bent deal provided that the Council would borrow the £6m and then lend it to the College who would pay it back with a very low interest rate over the 25 years of the lease (with other provisions if the College walk away from the building they have gratuitously destroyed after just 10 years or some other period). Cooper claimed this was "rent" when it is no such thing but Harrison and his merry men were happy to keep repeating this massive porky.

It gets worse.... The College negotiated that they pay NO RENT WHATSOEVER as pointed out here many times. Mr Harrison or his underlings could very easily see this by examining the lease (which Cooper and the College fought vigorously and managed to keep secret from taxpayers for many months) for a few minutes. Just in case he still can't get it here is the relevant screenshot of the actual provision from Schedule 3 of the Lease - incontrovertible evidence. The lawyers may have called this "rent" but it is the repayment of the refurb loan (ie TC "the total cost") and NOT rent:

This also explains why there are no standard rent review clauses in the lease to protect the Landlord against inflation etc. You cannot agree a review of non-existent rent!!!

As the College is STILL getting taxpayer funding they are getting a hidden subsidy not enjoyed by other colleges in the area and I am STILL awaiting a proper response from the Government with regard to this.

But hang on - it gets even worse. In a 25 year lease of this type the lessee - the College in this case - always pays to maintain the building. It is almost unheard of for the arrangement to be otherwise but Cooper and Hussain - having boasted of the deal before it was actually agreed - were over a barrel and the College decided to f*ck them and us taxpayers right up the derriere by also insisting that the imbecilic Labour Council pays for this TOO! And they did!!!!

Ah well, you might say - the Council have provided a Freedom of Information Act reply today to The Skidder and us taxpayers have only subsidised the College for a further £11,973.17 since 1st September, 2014. Wait for it..... Credit where credit is due, thanks to the direct intervention of the relatively new Leader of the Council, Steve Eling (and in a new spirit of openness now that Cooper is happily out of the picture), they have further disclosed today that Sandwell Council also spent a sum for rectification of various faults which were NOT included in the Interserve "concordat" as payable by the greedy bastards at the College and which, hitherto, has been kept secret. Clever folk who noted the title of this piece will guess roughly how much but the actual figure was a shocking £507,377.23. Over HALF A MILLION POUNDS!

No wonder Britton's Council and the College (where one Governor is unbelievably, er, Jan Britton) fought so hard to keep all this secret. And shame on you Harrison and Co for helping them to deceive us all.

* I am assuming they lied because. if they did not, they have known the legal document they all signed was false for at least two years but have made no attempt whatsoever to rectify the record.

(Please not the Skidder phone is temporarily out of order and a new number will follow shortly. Email is working normally.)


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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wednesbury Celebrates - Or Does It?

The proven liar Labour Cllr "lol" Ian Jones is apparently due to appear before the Sandwell Council Audit Committee on Thursday 29th September. Unfortunately, I am unable to be there but I do hope some of you, dear readers, will attend to cheer him on.

[Note 15/09/16 - I was feeling a little unwell yesterday and this may have been the cause of a number of typos in the original piece - now amended. My apologies. I have sent a copy of the SMBC FOI request to the members of the Audit Committee and also suggested they encourage the Council's auditors, KPMG, to attend for public scrutiny.]

A problem is that everyone seems to be hung up on Jones's mysterious involvement in the BogGate affair (the sale of three public conveniences at an undervalue by Nick Bubalo and Neeraj Sharma of "Sadwell" Council to a close relative - via marriage - of Cllr Mahboob Hussain). I will be returning to this very important subject in due course but, in the meantime, we must not lose sight of the Jones family's involvement in the Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury scandal too.

Let me just digress with a direct message to the (relatively) new Leader of the Council, Steve Eling. (Incidentally, gob-sh*te Cllr Yvonne Davies's pathetic "legal challenge" against the election of Eling as capo di tutti capi has inevitably petered-out......).

Under the crazed Cooper/Britton regime many local "organisations" received public funds - our money - for unspecified activities. Often these bodies have no known legal status and are, happily, connected with Labour Party members and even councillors eg Tony "Postman Prat" Meehan and "The Friends of Fudgestock". Only yesterday I was making enquiries about a West Bromwich organisation and they have, so far, been unable or unwilling to provide their constitution or accounts.

There are many people doing wonderful voluntary work etc in Sadders and many reputable organisations and they play by the rules. But I am calling on Cllr Eling to change the Council's procedures so that only "community" organisations that:

(a) make public their constitution and membership of their governing body; and
(b) make public their accounts

should be eligible for any taxpayers' money. Fair enough isn't it and hardly onerous?

Of course, when we come to the shambles of Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury we come to a different kettle of fish altogether. This secretive body has steadfastly refused to disclose the above information and is quite prepared to lie about its status anyway. When they shafted Sport England for a substantial grant that has largely been used to pay £35,000 per annum for 3 years to the partner of Richard Jones - son of Cllrs Ian and Olwen Jones and brother of Cllr Stephen Jones they told Sport England they had six members on their "private" governing body but this is the massive porkie they then told the Big Lottery Fund when making another grant application to them:

We now know that Wednesbury Celebrates self-reported to SMBC about their use of Wednesbury Town Hall. Their own minutes of January, 2014 show that liar Ian Jones chaired a meeting of the governing body and specifically stated, contrary to the Council's standard charging policy, that Wednesbury Celebrates would CONTINUE to use the facilities for free! How did that come about? At the bottom of this post is a detailed Freedom of Information Request about this which the Audit Committee would do well to peruse!

Jan Britton's staff then issued invoices for rent of around £25,000 on the basis of information Wednesbury Celebrates submitted themselves to the Council but when they got them Cllr Olwen Jones and Cllr Costigan etc disputed the bill! There seems clear evidence of false accounting connected to this (if not outright fraud) and KMPG, the Council's auditors were supposed to be investigating (where have we heard that one before, eh readers?) In the meantime, the FOI below also deals with this.

Meanwhile, Richard Jones was advertising fee-paying activities at Wednesbury Town Hall via "Five Star Performance Academy". The place was plastered both inside and out with his advertising materials and he was making extensive use of the premises and even using it as Five Star's postal address. But my FOI request of last year showed that Jan Britton's staff had failed to notice this and invoice him for the use! Once again, my new request follows this up.

It gets worse. Jones was allegedly also using a room at the Town Hall for his other business interests and apparently had access to printing equipment there to produce these leaflets for another private enterprise:

You will not be surprised that I am also questioning Sandwell about the rent the taxpayer received from Jones from all this.

Even though the Association [sic] owed the taxpayer huge sums, Cllrs Olwen Jones and Elaine Costigan submitted yet another grant application to their own comrades. Happily they themselves decided at an un-minuted Town Forum meeting to award their plaything another £5k and Jan Britton's cowboy/girl staff paid out the money despite all the cash owed to it and to us taxpayers. In fact this was authorised at very senior level by Hussain's go-to man (no, not Bubalo), Adrian Scarrott, who I am pleased to say will very shortly be the subject of a post on here in his own right......

I am informed that Wednesbury Celebrates under the Jones's have effectively been kicked out of the Town Hall but there remains the question of the outstanding rent. Clearly there must be consideration of recovering it direct from the trustees themselves if payment remains outstanding. But Britton better get a move on (probably not easy given his obesity) as Wednesbury's golden couple have been publicly flashing the cash via social media:

(Captions for the above image of Ian giving Olwen a new car very welcome.....).

When it comes to public exposure we normally look towards Cllr Simon "Two Homes" Hackett (who infamously had one of the Wednesbury Celebrates caravans meant for the "disadvantaged" for a week - though he claims to have paid for it) but then we have this on social media from former agoraphobic, Cllr Olwen:

Of course, we have become accustomed to Sadwell's "Assistant Chief Executive" Melanie Dudley's capacity for arse-licking the members of the Labour Politburo and true to form she hastened onto social media to "like" the unappetising but presumably familiar "up-bottom" image of the flashing fibber:

But it has, inevitably, all gone pear-shaped for Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury and the Council itself had to intervene and stop them running children's events at Brunswick Park due to alleged failures to apply proper safeguarding procedures. It seems that they have also been booted out of the Town Hall which begs the question how they can provide the services they claimed they would supply to Sport England, the Lottery Fund etc when they were screwing them for cash. Also set out below is a FOI request to Sport England which is largely self-explanatory but also asks why they declined to co-operate with the police in respect of a complaint about the grant application.

Just one aside before the texts of the FOI requests - regulars will know that the late vicious scumbag, Darren Cooper, had a letter written to smear Hackett in respect of "CockGate". The word on the street is that the letter was actually sent to SMBC by a female Labour councillor to try and destroy her colleague. I have written to her about this (and another matter) but she has declined to comment as yet.


On 28th October, 2015 the Cabinet met and made key decision FR022 which gave alleged “community organisations” free or cheaper access to, inter alia, Wednesbury Town Hall. The then Deputy Leader of the Council (now the Leader) gave the following statement which was duly recorded in the Cabinet minutes:

“The revised fees would be effective from the date of the of the Cabinet decision and not retrospectively.”

Question 1: Was this minuted decision subsequently overridden? If yes, please provide details.If the decision was overridden to apply retrospectively how was this applied to (a) Wednesbury Celebrates and (b) how much has been repaid by SMBC to all other community groups who have used Town Halls across the Borough for, say, the last five years.

Question 2: In accordance with your replies via one Kerry Robbins to my FOI requests 1- 713803722 and 1-718594708 the Council has submitted invoices to Wednesbury Celebrates (apparently on the basis of their own submitted booking forms) on 9th March, 2015 totalling £20,836.50. A further invoice was submitted for the first quarter of 2015/2016 in an unspecified sum on 27th July, 2015. Please state:

a Of the invoices totalling £20,836.50 please state the total payments received from Wednesbury Celebrates and the date(s) of payment.

b  the actual amount of the invoice dated 9th March, 2015 and if the invoice was paid in whole or in part including the date(s) and amount(s) thereof.

c any further invoices submitted from the date of the end of the first quarter of 2015/16 (as per the invoice of 27th July, 2015) to the date of the Cabinet decision of 28th October, 2015. If no invoices were issued please disclose copies of the booking forms submitted by Wednesbury Celebrates for the said period. If an invoice or invoices were submitted please state the dates and amounts and the date(s) and amounts of payments received.

d please confirm any invoices and amounts thereof submitted to Wednesbury Celebrates under the new charging regime following the Cabinet decision of 28th October, 2015 to 30th August, 2016 and the date(s) and amount(s) of payments received.

In her earlier legal FOI replies Ms Robbins stated that all invoices were raised in accordance with “standard booking forms” submitted to SMBC by Wednesbury Celebrates themselves and that they were subsequently “charged in accordance with the agreed fees and charges of SMBC”. In earlier requests I requested copies of the actual booking forms but this was refused by SMBC on the grounds of cost although an offer was made that SMBC would consider making copies available if I made a more “tailored” response. The difficulty I have is that you are quite specifically saying that the invoices were raised based on information submitted by Wednesbury Celebrates themselves. But then in her legal reply Ms Robbins stated that the invoices were disputed as “they included other organisation’s charges”. Thus the booking forms go to the heart of the matter as they were used, by your own legal statement, to formulate the invoices.

Question 3

a Please disclose copies of the actual invoices. You state that there have been a series of meetings between SMBC and Wednesbury Celebrates (including one attended by the Asst Chief Executive) and one assumes that some of the invoices have been amended following agreement. If so, please also disclose the amended invoices and the date(s) of payment of same.

b Please disclose all minutes, records, notes and documents prepared of whatsoever nature relating to what you say in a legal reply was “a series of meetings” concerning the allegedly disputed invoices. Please state the identity of the “other organisations” whose details are claimed by Wednesbury Celebrates to have been included in the forms which they themselves signed and submitted to SMBC.

c The actual booking forms must be bundled together as they constituted the basis for the invoice calculations and, presumably, for “the series of meetings”. As above, I assume some sums have now been agreed and I have requested payment details. To save costs I am content for you to simply disclose those booking forms which remain disputed. If, however, NO monies have been recovered against the invoices I do need to see the actual booking forms. To save costs I do not require copies but am content to visit your Oldbury offices to see the originals and make notes.

d State what steps are currently being taken to recover any outstanding amounts.

All of the above follows on from my original two requests but another matter has come to my attention. In documents submitted for a grant Wednesbury Celebrates say they were set up on 1st March, 2011 and yet the above invoices only relate to the period commencing the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial year. Further the actual minutes of Wednesbury Celebrates dated 27th January, 2014 chaired by then Cabinet member and still Cllr Ian Jones read as follows:

“Terry asked that at present we get the use of the Town Hall for free will this continue? Ian said that this is OK whilst the present party [a]re in power, we have to build bridges with others to keep all options open for the future”.

Question 4

a   Please disclose all booking forms submitted by Wednesbury Celebrates relating to their use of the Town Hall between 1st March, 2011 and 31st March, 2014 and state why no invoices were raised in respect of same.

b  Disclose all correspondence, notes, records and memoranda and documents arising of whatsoever nature passing between SMBC and/or Cllr Ian Jones and/or Wednesbury Celebrates concerning the latter’s use of the Town Hall during the said period.

For a considerable period of time an organisation of uncertain legal status called Five Star Performance Academy has extensively used the main hall in the Town Hall and at least one meeting room for its fee-paying activities. The person who has control of that organisation is Richard Jones, son of SMBC Cllrs Ian and Olwen Jones and brother of Cllr Stephen Jones. As shown in previous communications Mr Richard Jones also widely publicised his activities within and outside Wednesbury Town Hall which was also given as Five Star’s postal address.

Question 5

a  Please state when SMBC first became aware that Five Star Performance Academy was using the facilities of Wednesbury Town Hall?

b  What does SMBC believe the legal status of Five Star Performance Academy to be?

c   In a legal FOI reply of 29th September, 2015 Ms Kerry Robbins stated on behalf of SMBC:

“Separate invoicing arrangements are to be applied to Five Star. There are ongoing discussions with the representative of Five Star Academy and the Council”.

Please disclose all invoices submitted to Five Star including amounts and the date(s) of payment of same. If the invoices do not pre-date 29th September, 2015 please state why not.

d  Of the “ongoing discussions with the representative” please disclose all correspondence, notes, records, memoranda and documents of whatsoever nature arising from Five Star’s use of the public facility and the “ongoing discussions”.

e  If any monies remain outstanding from Five Star please state the amount and what steps SMBC are taking to recover same.

It is understood that the said Richard Jones also used a room at Wednesbury Town Hall to keep printing equipment which he used, inter alia, to print notepads for another business enterprise called “Strictly Creative Design”.

Question 6

a   State when SMBC first became aware of Richard Jones using the public facilities at the Town Hall for other business activities than Five Star?

b   Please disclose all correspondence, notes, records and memoranda and documents of whatsoever nature passing between SMBC and/or Richard Jones and/or Strictly Creative Design relating to the operation of that business from publicly-owned property.

c  Disclose all invoices including amount issued by SMBC in respect of Strictly Creative Designs and the date(s) of payment. If any invoices remain outstanding  please state what steps SMBC are taking to obtain payment.

14th September, 2016

FOI to Sport England:

This request follows on from my initial request of 28th May, 2015 about your dealings with this organisation and, in particular, the, at best, dubious and, at worst, fraudulent grant they managed to obtain from you.

At the time of your initial response (in two parts) you had - belatedly received the first six-monthly report from Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury.

As I understand things you have been paying your grant to Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury by instalments and, notwithstanding, the information that was supplied to you. Of course, your funded organisation made extensive media headlines recently in respect of child safeguarding issues and has effectively been booted out of “their” base at Wednesbury Town Hall.

Please state:

1   Please disclose all further “six-monthly” and/or any other reports submitted to you by Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury.

2  Please confirm precisely the dates and amounts of payments Sport England have paid to Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury since my initial FOI request of 28th May, 2015.

3  In respect of the non-payment of rent by Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury you stated in correspondence that you “will be raising the matter with the association”. Please disclose all correspondence, telephone attendance notes, other notes, records and memoranda  and documents of whatsoever nature relating to communications passing between Sport England and Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury relating to the rent arrears (which have a fundamental bearing on the veracity of the original application and the solvency of the organisation).

4  I am informed that West Midlands Police/West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit communicated with Sport England but that SE declined to cooperate with any proposed investigation. Please disclose all correspondence, attendance notes, other notes, records and memoranda and documents of whatsoever nature relating to communications between Sport England and the Police with regard to Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury.

5  Have Sport England received any other applications from Wednesbury Celebrates/Sport Wednesbury for funding since the original flawed application? If yes, please disclose all documentation relating to the said application(s) and details of all grants/actual payments made pursuant thereof.

6 Given the shambolic events of recent times what steps, if any, have SE taken to investigate the Association’s affairs and what was the outcome of those investigations?

14th September, 2016


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