Monday, July 30, 2012

Twitter Gag Indy LA Hack

No word from the social network yet, but the Indy are telling their side of the story:

Twitter and journalists don’t seem to be having a very good time at the moment…

Morritt Pocketed Election Deposit Dosh
Missing Cash Scandal Spreads Beyond Wandsworth

Not content with cashing £1500 meant for comms equipment and nearly three grand supposedly for a colleague’s leaving present, it seems even a general election provided an opportunity for Tory councillor Robert Morritt to play his missing money game to a new level. On 7 April 2010, Morritt was issued with a cheque for the sum of £2,000 to pay for “candidate deposits” in the approaching general election. Deposits are £500 per constituency and there are only three constituencies in Wandsworth. So what was the other £500 for? No explanation, it would appear, so we can only assume “expenses” again.

All those Tory candidates in True Blue Wandsworth got their deposits back at the election. Morritt was refunded £1,500 by Wandsworth Council shortly afterwards. No doubt he quickly repaid the amount to Wandsworth Conservatives, right? Nope, he kept it for himself. What’s more, if you’re a Tory reading this in Wimbledon, he pulled the same trick on you. £500 of your money for Stephen Hammond’s deposit never came back. “Expenses” are very expensive these days.

By Guido’s reckoning that’s nearly £8,000 gone on unexplained “expenses” for agent – now councillor – Morritt. It’s no wonder he’s on Wandsworth Council’s audit committee. He knows every trick in the book.

When Guido put these allegations to Morritt last week he claimed “In the course of my duties I naturally incurred a number of expenses that have all been satisfactory accounted for.” Yet as you can see his explanations are more than a little shakey. We haven’t even got on to the cheques written out with an explanation…

Guido spoke to one senior Wandsworth Conservative earlier who lamented: “I was present at a meeting shortly after the 2010 elections where it became obvious that we were basically bankrupt. No one could understand why. Now it seems we are finally getting an explanation.” When Guido approached another senior official at Wandsworth Tories, who is believed to have unearthed all of the wrongdoing, he refused to comment. However, when pressed with the details Guido has revealed today, he declined to deny they were accurate…

To be continued…

See also: Justine Greening’s Agent in Addison Lee Fraud MessWandsworth Tory Auditor in Voodoo Accounting Mystery More Questions Over Morritt’s Missing Money

Lego Lands Guardian With £400,000 Bill

Like all sensible news operations, the Guardian have have spent the weekend recreating the Olympics out of Lego. Since they lose £91 per minute, by Guido’s maths*, the cash-starved newspaper has lost nearly £400,000 in the time it must have taken do it. And they wonder how they haemorrhaged some £44 million last year…

*£91 per minute x 1440 minutes per day x 3 days = £393,120

More Questions Over Morritt’s Missing Money –
Councillor Kept Comms Cash For Himself

Earlier Guido revealed how Justine Greening’s former agent and current Tory Councillor Robert Morritt has become mired in a missing money mystery, but the questions don’t stop there. While selecting council candidates in 2009, Wandsworth Conservatives recognised the need to boost their communications capabilities and decided to splash out on some conference call equipment. Morritt was issued with a cheque for £1,500 to go and buy the equipment (which he promptly cashed) but, three days later, he hadn’t managed to find anything suitable. In the end, a senior activist was dispatched to solve the problem. She paid for the kit herself and was then properly reimbursed. As for the £1,500 given to Morritt? You guessed it, it was never seen again…

And there’s more. Selection meetings can be long and tedious so a nice venue, some decent wine and a few nibbles goes a long way to breaking the boredom. In 2007, Wandsworth Conservatives set about selecting a candidate for the local London Assembly seat. This was a joint task with Merton Conservatives. Morritt was only too glad to organise both stages of the whole affair, and he was reimbursed £796.25 for the costs shortly afterwards . The problem is that the books show other invoices paid by Wandsworth Conservatives for the same events, also amounting to £700. So, Guido hears you ask, why would the treasurer reimburse him if the bills had already been paid?  The answer is simple: Morritt reimbursed himself. He had access to pre-signed cheques and filled in his name and the amount he decided he should take. So what was this money for? When asked in 2010, back came the answer: “Expenses”.

Guess what? There’s more…

See also: Justine Greening’s Agent in Addison Lee Fraud MessWandsworth Tory Auditor in Voodoo Accounting Mystery

Friends Reunited

Robert Morritt’s Missing Money –
Wandsworth Tory Auditor in Voodoo Accounting Mystery

Last week Guido broke the news of a brewing crisis involving Justine Greening’s former agent and current Wandsworth councillor Robert Morritt. When reading the following revelations, remember that Morritt sits on Wandsworth “the careful spending” council’s audit committee. Upon discovery of his secret taxi account in 2010, shocked Tory chiefs in Wandsworth Conservatives did some more digging. Guido has seen a report into the results of the internal investigation, and it makes for very interesting reading…

There’s nothing more important than sending off a long-serving volunteer with a good leaving present. In fact, if the 2008 books of Wandsworth Conservatives are to be believed, the going rate is pretty steep.  It seems that when a blank cheque was handed to Morritt to buy the gift in May 2008 he promptly cashed it for the astonishing sum of £3,000.  Sadly, the unsuspecting recipient – his identity will be revealed in later disclosures  – actually only received a much more modest decanter valued at £200. So, £2800 missing? Where did that go, councillor? When asked that question in 2010 whilst under investigation, he simply replied “expenses”. Someone had a good night out…

The missing money doesn’t stop there. Party members constantly moan about the cost of party conference but, if the books of Wandsworth Conservatives are to believed, they have something of a point. In 2008 Morritt (as was his right as agent) asked them to pay for his pass for the annual conference in Birmingham. The problem is that the bill seems to have come to £1,012 – at least that is the value of the cheque he was written for that very purpose in July that year. On this rare occasion, he does seem to have provided a receipt. For £118. So that’s another £894 missing. “Expenses”, presumably?

Stay tuned for more damaging revelations…

See also: Justine Greening’s Agent in Addison Lee Fraud Mess

Magpie Pierce Lifts Another Guido Story

Regular readers will know that Andrew Pierce has form for plagiarising Guido’s work, so it’s little surprise that the Mail columnist has been at it again. Last week Guido explained the real reason why old adversary Tim Yeo is so upset about cuts to renewable energy funding: he earns over £100,000 a year from green investments. Low and a behold Pierce has penned a piece for today’s paper revealing how – you guessed it – Tim Yeo makes over £100,000 a year from green investments:

 

He also syndicated our story about Lord Hanningfield hiring a penal reform researcher. The invoice is in the post…

See also: Andrew Pierce is a Thief – An Occasional Series, Andrew Pierce Goes all HariDid You See Guido’s Column in the Mail Today?, An Open Letter to Paul Dacre

Twitter Spoofer Launches Legal Fight
Mail Bosses’ Extraordinary Allegations Revealed

Guido has learned that the anonymous owner of the spoof Steve Auckland twitter account has launched a legal bid to fight the US subpoena threatening to reveal his identity. The attorney representing the spoofer, who agreed to work pro bono after discussions with Guido, aims to file a motion to quash the Northcliffe Media action in a Californian court today. Twitter had agreed to release the personal information of the account holder on Wednesday but it is understood this process will now be delayed. The fight is on.

Meanwhile Guido has obtained the court document upon which the legal action undertaken by the Daily Mail subsidiary is based. The document makes a series of extraordinary allegations against the spoofer, including that he is guilty of fraud, defamation, libel and even that he hacked a computer in the Northcliffe offices. Nortchliffe, apparently with the consent of the Daily Mail and General Trust, then demand he faces a trial by jury in the States:

The spoofer denies all allegations. His lawyer will see them in court…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View


Seen Elsewhere

Comply or Die at Grauniad | MediaGuido
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Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie


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