The E11 BID Co. and the re-ballot of 2012: was there full disclosure?

The second argument advanced by the refusniks at court can be summarised as follows.

Argument Two: at the 2012 re-ballot, the E11 BID Co. failed to make full disclosure, calling into question the validity of the result

1. What follows is based upon two different pieces of evidence.

2. First, under the terms of the Baseline and Operating contracts that they signed in 2008, LBWF and the E11 BID Co. had various obligations, and in particular agreed to:

(a) set up a Standard Services Review Panel, which was to meet at least two times ‘in each calendar year…throughout the duration of the BID Term’; [1]

(b) annually review ‘the Standard Services to be provided and make such amendments to the level of services as may be required’; [2] and

(c) exchange annual reports. [3]

3. However, in answer to Freedom of Information Act questions, LBWF has been unable to produce any evidence that

(a) Standard Services Review Panel meetings occurred (bar one case dating to 2008); [4]

(b) annual reviews of the Standard Services took place; [5] and

(c) annual reports were exchanged. [6]

4. These breaches were far from trivial, involved matters that were of material significance to levy payers, and so certainly warranted being divulged at the time of the re-ballot.

5. However, since a search through printed sources, including E11 BID Co. literature and the local press, reveals that they were not so divulged, it is reasonable conclude that the levy payers were deprived of important information that might have impacted on their voting.

6. In addition, the levy payers seem to have been handicapped in a further way, because though the E11 BID Co.’s glossy 24-page pre-ballot brochure made much of what allegedly had been achieved and the bright future that beckoned, it failed to mention that the company was carrying substantial debts.

7. Indeed, this point was conceded by Clem Smith, LBWF Divisional Director of Business, Employment and Skills until early 2015, who in answer to a subsequent Freedom of Information question referred to the brochure as ‘not accurate’, and accepted that it ‘presented the “financials” for the new BID period on the basis that there was no debt’ [7] – as the previous post has shown, the opposite of the truth.

8. In the light of these points, it is reasonable to conclude that the ‘yes’ vote at the 2012 re-ballot was obtained without full disclosure; and it follows that, this being the case, the E11 BID Co.’s mandate – and LWFF’s acceptance of that mandate – were both highly questionable.

[1] Baseline Agreement, 8 January 2008, paragraph 6.

[2] Ibid., paragraph 7.1.2.

[3] Operating Agreement, 8 January 2008, paragraphs 8.7 and 8.8.

[4] FIA deposition, 14 October 2014.

[5] FIA deposition, 14 October 2014.

[6] FIA deposition, 14 October 2014.

[7] FIA deposition, 19 September 2014