Author Topic: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief  (Read 13265 times)

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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« on: March 23, 2012, 07:36:25 AM »
Swindon advertiser page 7 today states the money was paid between 2007 and 2010 for coaching.  :coffee:


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Offline Muggins

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 08:20:50 AM »
Coaching What?  thats afunny term to use!
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Ian Pugh

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 08:50:41 AM »
I'm not sure we need to know what he was coaching, but who? There were very few employees who were not family. So who else has been involved in this project ?

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 09:01:17 AM »
Muggins

It was for training council officers, in preperation for their move to an arms length company.
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Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2012, 09:06:04 AM »
Given Ricki success in business in recent years we can only hope they took a whole lot of no heed to his advice then Steve.

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2012, 09:16:07 AM »
Given Ricki success in business in recent years we can only hope they took a whole lot of no heed to his advice then Steve.

That is a good point well made  :wink: 
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Offline Provocateur

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2012, 09:17:13 AM »
So, training by a man who's now bankrupt. Lets hope it wasn't a course in financial acumen?

Training by a man who launched a WiFi project with very little IT expertise and who arguably just about failed to deliver on any aspect of it ?

What was his qualification to deliver this particular training?

He really is a legend in his own looooooong lunchtime, isn't he?

Why have SBC ended up giving this guy so much money?

 :WTF:

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2012, 09:18:30 AM »
So Ricki "earned" £82k from SBC over a period of 3 years.

If:
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He is understood to owe a total of £1.31m, including £85,000 to Barclays Bank, £423,000 to HMRC, £627,000 to The Mortgage Business Plc, £168,000 to Lloyds Banking Group – and £63 to Sky.

Then what other income did he have that resulted in him owing the Inland Revenue so much money?

There is still the question of why the Insolvency Service have not released John Richard Hunt from his bankruptcy after his year was up. Indeed they have extended it for another 4 years. Why?
What's it all about?

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2012, 09:34:53 AM »
One can only be amazed at the comment made by Coun Bluh that the use of Mr Rikki Hunt as a paid consultant to the Council was a decision of no importance; indeed he claims the appointment was “entirely rational” - a somewhat jaundiced view with which many people will vehemently disagree.

The fact that Coun Bluh seeks to defend the man who ‘took the Council for a ride’ is lamentable, not least as it was Coun Bluh who offered his total support to a project which was simply doomed to fail on the basis of its absurdly wild and impossible to achieve fiscal targets. As Coun Bluh is a qualified accountant, one would have imagined that he would have spotted such a flaw. 

Of equal importance is the fact that Mr Hunt has been at pains to stress that he undertook the work on preparing SCS for privatisation – for free.  Clearly receiving £82k in fees would appear to contradict this claim, unless of course Mr Hunt’s consultancy fees had nothing whatsoever to do with SCS. I feel sure Coun Bluh will be happy to offer a rebuttal if there is no relationship between the £82k and SCS.

The Council Leader closes his comments by making reference to their being no contract between Swindon Borough Council and Digital City for a Borough wide Wi-Fi scheme. Such a claim will come as a surprise to many, who believed Coun Bluh and his Deputy when they waxed lyrical about the arrangement they entered into with Digital City to provide Wi-Fi. Like me, I am sure the electorate will be aghast that £400k plus interest and fees has been squandered by this administration on a project which had no contractual or legal safeguards, despite frequently being assured security existed.


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2012, 09:49:42 AM »
I am pleased that the Advertiser has finally got around to publishing these facts which have been available for some time.

Having been given details of Mr Hunt's bankruptcy information can they be relied upon to investigate that as well?  Come on Adver you know this will sell newspapers but is it more than that now?

As for our leader who unashamedly supported and defended the Wi-fi deal with Digital City, can we hope that he just might show some form of contrition that he did in actual fact get this very wrong?

The answer to my question is of course NO but all this information and his suicidal behaviour over Coate Croft and Pickhards Field has to ask the question is he any longer fit for public office?
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2012, 09:52:07 AM »
I note the adver said that he
Quote
won the wifi contract in November 2009
I know all this is open to interpretation. Defnition of won is "be the winner in a contest or competition". Does anyone recall if there was a contest or competition for the wifi project? 
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2012, 10:19:08 AM »
Rikki Hunt did not win anything in terms of a contract over Wi-fi, he was awarded or given a contract to provide Wi-fi and it depends on who you believe as to who approached whom to instigate it!!

One thing is for certain there was no invitation for other IT companies to bid for the contract and from day one it was kept from the majority of the cabinet and the rest of the members of the council on the pretext that it 'was unique and commercially sensitive'.  What a joke the only commercial sensitivety that was applicable was that it could be shown to be financially and commerically flawed had more information been available.  Like everything else associated with this administration there was no scrutiny and any challenge on the availability of information was construed as putting the project in jeopardy. 

Now where are we hearing that now? 

Almost everything that the present administration does and doesn't want anyone to challenge.

Perhaps Roderick can publish the accounts of Digital City (UK) Ltd., as we Council Tax Payers have funded them, a further cost from a company that owes us £400,000 plus interest just because people like me will not allow it to be struck from the Register of Companies until our nominated Director, who was supposed to protect our interests, The Deputy Leader of the Council, has filed a Company Return and a set of Accounts.  Had action not been taken to prevent 'strike off' the company would have quietly disappeared and become irrelevant.

Does anyone know if Rikki's other company Avidity Consulting have been cleared for 'strike off' or are they being investigated by ' a government authority'?

All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2012, 11:52:02 AM »
What a busy man John 'Rikki' Hunt was back in the day, eh?

It's appalling isn't it? despite the best attempts of the council leadership to hide, disguise, bury, alter and destroy the truth, fragments keep bobbing to the surface of the council cesspit which, when collected and added to the growing mosai, gives all of us a fuller picture of the stinking miasma surrounding the leadership and the innapropriate 'business' relationships, arrangements and decisions it has fostered, (and continues to foster - Pickards Field), using the public purse.

If Mr Hunt was paid £82,000 from the public purse to 'mentor' SCS employees and/or council officers in preparation for SCS becoming an 'arms length' company/management organisation, why did Mr Hunt choose to deny this on January 14th 2010 ?





Maybe he was 'helping' SCS for free, in which case what else was he doing for the Council which 'earned' him a hefty £82,000 fee for some part time consultancy work?

Or perhaps he was simply lying, and if so, why ? 

Surely he wasn't trying to avoid paying his VAT and Income Tax?  :popcorn:

Perhaps Councillor Roderick Bluh would like to explain on exactly what basis his friend and colleague was being given such large sums from the public purse prior to being given even larger sums during the WiFi'asco?

To my reckoning, Mr Hunt has received almost half a million pounds of public money since Rod Bluh has been 'leading' our council. 

Old Town residents may want to ask the 3 Conservative Candidates about this, (Roderick, Peter and the other one), if they ever choose to knock on their doors.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2012, 12:04:21 PM »

Adver story is online now: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9608561.Taxpayers_paid___82k_to_wi_fi_firm_chief/

I am gratified to note that the Swindon Advertiser is now almost-correctly referring to the Wifi'asco as the Wifi Fasco. Well done chaps and chappesses  :clap:

Comments are enabled at present - this may change after Roderick has been on the phone and complained about (what he calls) his 'integrity' being impugned.

Comments are pithy and quite accurate, especially Bob Feal-Martinez:

Quote
Why on earth would anyone have chosen Rikki Hunt to be consultant even pre-wifiasco. Anyone connected with STFC will know what a shambles he made of running that business.
.
In fact I seem to remember that STFC paid Hunt's consultancy company £25k for "managerial training" when Hunt was also the STFC Chief Exec.
.
No stranger to cronyism and conflicts of interest.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2012, 01:01:46 PM »
The interesting thing about the comments section is not one person is doing anything but criticise Rod Bluh and some have even demanded his resignation.

So how about it Rod, will you go before you are humiliated at the polls?

Your credibility is going down faster than the Titanic!
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ph1lc

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2012, 01:23:51 PM »
I like Bluh's last comment in the adver -"the decision (to loan DC £400K ) was made solely on it's merits"


Offline James

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2012, 02:04:39 PM »
Decision makers pick some good ones and some bad ones.
That is not a reason to resign.

Not being able to tell whether they've picked a good one or a bad one after the facts are laid out.
That IS a reason to resign.

J

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2012, 02:39:13 PM »
I like Bluh's last comment in the adver -"the decision (to loan DC £400K ) was made solely on it's merits"


Yes. That speaks volumes for Cllr Bluh's ability to judge what is, and is not, an acceptable risk. 

Cllr Bluh has once again seen fit to lecture the Advertiser about facts. The inconvenient fact remains that the credit reference & consultancy service employed by SBC to assess Digital City (UK) Ltd saw fit to instruct SBC to impose a £500 credit limit on its dealing with the company.

Cllr Bluh saw fit to ignore that credit limit of £500 and personally bent over backwards to arrange a loan facility of 900 times more than the £500 credit limit proposed by the credit consultants. (900 x £500 = £450,000).

He gambled with our money and we lost.

That the amount of public money lost by Cllr Bluhs Casino Councillor'ing equalled only 850 times, (not the available 900 times), the £500 credit limit....is of little comfort, although Cllr Wakefield can rightly claim the credit for preventing the last £50,000 disappearing into Mr Hunts trousers Avidity Consulting Ltd.


* I've previously had quite a bit to say about Cllr Bluh's Casino Councilloring, also see:

Clickable thumbnail


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2012, 03:18:52 PM »
Interesting post by Robert Fael Martinez on the Advertiser comments section in reply to the article:

Robfm says...
1:15pm Fri 23 Mar 12
John Smith II the answer to your loan question is a simple one. According to credit checks Digital City at the time of the loan had a credit rating of just 500, that is pounds not 500 thousand pounds.

SBC loaned a huge some without guarantee, not even the equipment to be purchased, to a man whose house was held on charges for other business issues.

SBC have stalled the FOIA request I made with regard to the latest DC twists.

Dear Mr Feal-Martinez



FOI101000326846 Freedom of Information Request



Thank you for your email dated 21 February 2012 in which you requested the following:-



Q1. How much will the accounts cost to prepare, given they are for a short period, the £4000 quoted seems to be excessive.

Q2. Please supply a detailed breakdown of the accounts. (As a shareholder de facto under company law I am entitled to such accounts)

Q3. Why did the loan agreement with Digital City, not include an equipment ownership clause.

Q4. Is Rikki Hunt or anyone else previously associated with any company engaged on the WiFi Mesh project, actively or passively engaged in any way with any council activity currently being undertaken or planned.



The Council has a duty to respond ‘promptly’ or no later than 20 working days, which in this case is 20 March 2012.



We believe in this instance, that some of the information you have requested may be exempt under Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act – Commercial interests. If a qualified exemption applies to the information and the public interest test is engaged. The Act allows the time for the response to be longer than 20 days and the information must be supplied within what is considered a ‘reasonable’ time scale; considering the circumstances of the case.



We expect to reach a conclusion by the 5 April 2012. If it appears it may take longer, you will be kept fully informed.



Yours sincerely



Anna Marzec

For Sharon Druett (sdruett@swindon.gov
.uk)

Freedom of Information Officer

Law and Democratic Services

Swindon Borough Council

Tel: 01793 463377

I think they must be getting their ducks in a row.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2012, 03:32:32 PM »
They said coaching - not training, not mentoring.............coaching

I think he was coaching - coaching them how to score and home goal.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)