There's an email doing the rounds that KEIOC have uncovered, one that Knowsley Borough Council sought to suppress on the grounds of "commercial sensitivity". Turns out it was between KMBC CEO Sheena Ramsey and a "potential investor" in Destination Kirkby. They even sought legal council to see if they could overrule the Information Commissioner to prevent the contents of the email from being made public and thereby unmasking the "investor" in question.
That "potential investor" was Robert Earl and the email in question describes a telephone conversation between Earl and Ms Ramsey from May 2008 in which she stresses the importance of getting Bill Kenwright, in his capacity as Chairman, to commit Everton FC to the scheme even though there was "a high chance" that the scheme could get called in by the Government.
From: Ramsey, Sheena CEO
Sent: 23 May 2008 13:08
Subject: Kirkby Development
Dear Robert, thank you for ringing yesterday, I really appreciate the reassurance as this feels like a very tense time at the moment. The issue we are faced with at the moment, as I said yesterday is doing everything we can to ensure the project can go ahead with the minimum of risk to any of the partners and in particular the people of Kirkby. We are however, being advised by our planning QC that there is still a high chance, despite everyone?s best efforts that the application will get called in. If this is the case we need to be absolutely certain that Everton will be standing with us at that enquiry hence my concern about having a note to confirm commitment. I have been advised here that it must come from the Chairman, of the club and I have a call into Bill?s office and a draft to send him I should know in the next hour or so how that has gone and will hopefully be able to send you a copy of what I am requesting. The key issue for us at the moment is ensuring we have everything in place to enable the Planning Committee to fully assess the application on Monday 9th June so time is of the essence as the report will have to go to our Members Thursday of next week.
I hope you are well and enjoying glorious sunshine and blue skies, it is not entirely like that here but I have your island on my ?favourites? on the Internet so can look at that to capture that feeling back here in Knowsley!
On its face, not all that significant until you consider that KMBC went to such great lengths to protect the anonymity of a third party "investor" who had, in the words of the Information Commissioner's judgement, "never been publicly acknowledged to be involved in the scheme"... except of course that Robert Earl was already very much involved in the scheme as a Board member of Everton FC.
Did Earl acting as an Everton director on the one hand and an unnamed third party pushing the retail and leisure side of the scheme on the other represent a clear conflict of interest? Was he looking after EFC's best interests in making sure the club stayed part of the scheme because it couldn't go ahead without a sporting and recreational component?
Roger McLean, Posted 05/03/2011 at 07:10:45
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 05/03/2011 at 07:59:53
If you read between the lines with this particular comment, it is quite revealing. This confirms to me that Bill was not the man making the decisions on DK and probably had no say in the matter.
2 Posted 05/03/2011 at 08:34:26
3 Posted 05/03/2011 at 08:42:53
He's an EFC board member and she's the CEO of a concern we were doing business with. Judging by the content of the e-mail, nothing would have been made of it if it had been brought up at the inquiry.
To find anything sinister or underlying in it really is clutching at straws, and if anyone can read anything between the lines, I would suggest they become a medium.
4 Posted 05/03/2011 at 11:25:57
5 Posted 05/03/2011 at 11:34:26
KMBC's stance (despite their own QC's advice that the project had every likelihood of being called in) highlighted their desire as a driver, with Everton a mere passenger. Can I also remind you that KMBC is not a private company, it's a regional council, that's Civil Service, naively there for the benefit of it's region and residents ? not itself.
6 Posted 05/03/2011 at 12:57:30
Turns out, with Everton moving to Kirkby to make his project viable, they gained preference from the council over the other bid who were to build a development in... Walton.
7 Posted 05/03/2011 at 14:57:52
I didn't sggest that KMBC was a company, I said they were a concern, capable of doing business.
8 Posted 05/03/2011 at 18:05:53
How was one council deciding on the location of this 'winner takes all' retail development?
Walton is Liverpool City Council and Kirkby is Knowsley Council so no one Council was going to decide anything I would have thought.
As for the main article, the e-mail doesn't really say too much, other than they knew it was on shaky ground and that, maybe surprisingly, BK was having some doubts and needed 'firming up.'
That said, the efforts to cover it up do hint at perhaps other e-mails they (KMBC and Earl) would rather stayed buried.
9 Posted 05/03/2011 at 19:51:40
Sometimes it doesn't take a weatherman to tell you it's raining outside, you look and see for yourself. Kirkby has been run down for decades and at the present time is an absolute shambles and ghost town ? that's not down to this development failure, as KMBC have ran it for as long as they have existed.
10 Posted 06/03/2011 at 06:40:52
As such, to me, KMBC applied pressure to him because he did have a foot in two camps, the overall worth of the project being damaged should EFC not be allowed to build there. Which of course was deemed as a problem not just for the club but also for the retail development, in which he supposedly had an interest.
It's called using leverage, but is it a conflict of interest? Difficult... but probably not, more of priority of interest: which was more important to Earl? the retail development or the club?
11 Posted 06/03/2011 at 10:48:31
12 Posted 06/03/2011 at 19:37:03
13 Posted 06/03/2011 at 23:47:42
What, like Toxteth?
14 Posted 07/03/2011 at 00:28:40
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to the MailBag, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.