Or ‘On the Naughty Step…’
Thanks to Mark P for the idea, I bring you news of scandal and criminality from the world of housing, albeit with only the most tangential relationship to housing law.
Gentoo, a Sunderland based RSL and its CEO, Peter Walls, won a £100,000 libel judgment against a website called Dads Place and specifically John Finn, the owner of rival housing firm Pallion and a former local council candidate. The anonymous website had been posting “seriously defamatory allegations ranging from corruption to nepotism and the promotion of female employees in return for sexual favours” said Gentoo’s Counsel. Pallion owned numerous properties in areas earmarked for demolition and renewal by Gentoo. The allegations had led to a Housing Corporation investigation of Gentoo. Worth noting this as another example of a determinedly anonymous website failing to be protection against defamation claims, although it took quite some effort to pierce the veil.
Collapsed and bust RSL Ujima, formerly the largest BME housing association and now part of London & Quadrant, is not going quietly. Three former employees have been arrested for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud, amidst allegations that the Housing Corporation acted late and had plenty of warnings of problems.
Then there is this extraordinary story. A London-based housing officer has been convicted of illegally bringing a child, a baby, into the country, apparently to preserve her priority need status on a homeless application after her children went to live with her ex-husband. The day that she returned from Nigeria with the baby, for which £150-£200 was apparently paid, Peace Sandberg presented as homeless at Ealing Council’s HPU to make a fresh application. The child’s original family is not known. I may be being naive but I can’t believe that this is all there is to the story.
News permitting, this may become an irregular feature – On the Naughty Step may return.