Saturday, 4 June 2011

South Tyneside Council V Mr Monkey part 2

Cash-strapped council spending £250,000 of public money in U.S. courts to silence Twitter 'whistleblower' may have an awful lot to hide.

For more than two years, South Tyneside Council has been trying to uncover the identity of an anonymous blogger known as Mr Monkey, who has mercilessly criticised and ridiculed Cllr Malcolm and his colleagues.

Tyneside claim the costs are less than £75,000. We have been told that the figure is much closer to £250,000, and rising. Either way, isn’t it a scandalous use of public money?

The council serves one of the most deprived areas of the country and is facing £32million of budget cuts. Lollipop ladies and lunch vouchers for the elderly are being axed.

Yet the waste — and the arrogance behind it — will come as little surprise to anyone who is familiar with the gravy train that is South Tyneside Council and some of the individuals at the centre of this story.

My comment: I think the people involved in South Tyneside Council will regret starting this action because all it has done so far is trigger the press into investigating the background of this whole sordid affair. Here is one example of what they have managed to dig up on one of the Councillors involved. Read the full story from the source for much much more.

No one epitomises the ‘gravy train’ culture on South Tyneside more than Cllr Potts, who, aged 21, became one of Britain’s youngest councillors in 2004. In September 2010, Cllr Potts went to South Africa. He told his Conservative colleagues he was on holiday, the council that he was away on business, and the local paper that he was in South Africa for a mixture of ‘business and pleasure’.

In fact, he was in a rehab clinic being treated for alcoholism. Whilst claining expenses of course.

Read my original post South Tyneside V Mr Monkey

Read the full story from the source  Mail on Line

UPDATE 6th June 2011: South Tyneside may have spent £228,000 on Twitter case, claims councillor.

South Tyneside Council may have spent around £228,000 in forcing Twitter to hand over details of users thought to be connected with a defamatory blog.

Councillor Ahmed Khan, one of the account holders whose details were released to the council under its subpoena, says persons close to the council have seen legal invoices totalling £228,000. Khan denies that he is behind the "Mr Monkey" blog, alleged to have defamed three council members and one council official on the site.

A South Tyneside spokesman said the council was standing by its estimates that the two-year case cost less than £75,000.

"I've been tipped off by someone that it's more like £228,000. I emailed the CEO of the council to see if the figures are correct, but they haven't responded," Khan told Computer Weekly.

Recent investigations from the Daily Mail have put the total cost of the case at around £250,000 and rising. The paper says the law firm representing South Tyneside, McDermott Will & Emery, charges around £300 per hour.

My comment: The true figure must eventually show up in their accounts and if it is significantly more than the £75,000 quoted by South Tyneside Council, they can add lying to all the other allegations.  A member of the public has submitted a Freedom of information request in an attempt to establish the truth.

Read the full story from the source Computer Weekly

Read all articles about South Tyneside Council on this blog

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