AS exclusively revealed in last week’s Enquirer, Thurrock Council is taking court action to recover money from former senior managers of the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has now named the two men, who will be chased for £117,073 – though monies irregularly paid to four other former workers, believed to be members of the personal staff of the management team, totalling £34,234, will not be recovered.
The £117,073 was shared between the former director of resources Sean O’Donnell and chief executive Niall Lindsay.
They have denied that the payments were irregular and will contest the court case.
A Government Audit Office report says redundancy notices for the six staff still working at the corporation when it folded last October were not issued until just before it closed.
This was despite the fact they had known for more than six months the Corporation had to close on 31 October. That meant staff were entitled to be paid for their notice period, known as “pay in lieu of notice”. In total, that came to more than £150,000.
A joint statement from Mr Lindsay and Mr O’Donnell said reports to those overseeing the closure of the corporation “covered all aspects of the closure arrangements, including the timing of redundancy notices.
“Between March and 4 October no objections or dissenting views were expressed at any of the board meetings from any party.”
But the investigation report contends they were required to “actively seek” the DCLG’s approval for payment in lieu of notice – and that investigators have not seen evidence the department formally approved the payments.
Investigators also criticised the DCLG, claiming its officials failed to attend board meetings and should have been more involved in the winding down of the Corporation.