Coleman given £10,000 solicitor to face standards board

Brian Coleman has been allowed to spend £10,000 of public money on legal fees in a case being investigated by Barnet Council's standards committee

Brian Coleman has been allowed to spend £10,000 of public money on legal fees in a case being investigated by Barnet Council's standards committee

First published in News by

THE leader of Barnet Council has awarded £10,000 of taxpayers' money to cover a cabinet colleague's legal fees over an investigation by the standards committee.

The money will be paid to top solicitors to represent Councillor Brian Coleman, who is under investigation for an alleged breach of the Members' Code of Conduct.

Mr Coleman had the option of using a Swansea legal firm chosen by the council's insurers, but rejected it for Beachcroft LLP - one of the largest commercial law firms in the UK.

The decision to grant the money was made by council leader Mike Freer on Monday.

It will not be reviewed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee because Mr Freer marked the matter "urgent", bypassing normal procedures.

Mr Freer said he approved the company because it was London-based and had "considerable experience" of standards board issues in the capital.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with me, nothing whatsoever, and if you say otherwise you will be hearing from my solicitor."

Brian Coleman

He added: "Being able to see a local specialist could be more cost-effective than having to pay a Cardiff-based solicitor its hourly rate to travel to London.

"We took out the insurance on the understanding we would have access to local specialists.

"The urgency was because the standards board had already started their enquires and Councillor Coleman was being asked for statements and to attend interviews before the issue with the insurers had been resolved."

When approached to comment on the matter, Mr Coleman denied he was the councillor under investigation and vowed to sue this newspaper if it printed his name.

He said: "This has absolutely nothing to do with me, nothing whatsoever, and if you say otherwise you will be hearing from my solicitor."

The Barnet Standards Committee launched the investigation against Mr Coleman on March 24 following an allegation from a member of the public.

The council said it could not reveal details of the allegation until a decision has been reached for legal reasons.

Comments (6)

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3:52pm Thu 14 May 09

Don't Call Me Dave says...

What rubbish from Freer! The firm from Swansea (not Cardiff Mike - try reading your own reports) would have been paid for by insurance. Taxpayers are now paying for something which could have been provided for at no additional cost.

Where was the urgency? This is an internal investigation and the timetable is controlled by the council. This is an abuse of process.
What rubbish from Freer! The firm from Swansea (not Cardiff Mike - try reading your own reports) would have been paid for by insurance. Taxpayers are now paying for something which could have been provided for at no additional cost. Where was the urgency? This is an internal investigation and the timetable is controlled by the council. This is an abuse of process. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Thu 14 May 09

Mr Tibbs says...

They could always have got a taxi from Swansea. They're dead cheap.
They could always have got a taxi from Swansea. They're dead cheap. Mr Tibbs
  • Score: 0

11:07am Fri 15 May 09

GBee says...

Yet another example of the Tory mafia who run Barnet council wasting public money for their own gain. While Freer, Coleman and their cronies throw money at trying to save their necks, elderly residents in the borough are having their warden support cut because it's 'too expensive' to run! Disgraceful.
Yet another example of the Tory mafia who run Barnet council wasting public money for their own gain. While Freer, Coleman and their cronies throw money at trying to save their necks, elderly residents in the borough are having their warden support cut because it's 'too expensive' to run! Disgraceful. GBee
  • Score: 0

11:32am Fri 15 May 09

Joe Robb says...

Hogg, Morley et al learned all they know about freeloading from Brian 'Mr Toad' Coleman:

'Barnet Council Watch' blog has done some simple addition, revealing in part, the cost of Coleman. Brilliant:
http://notthebarnett
imes.blogspot.com/20
09/01/what-value-is-
brian-coleman.html

Coleman's astonishing list of free lunches is exposed by 'The Barnet Eye':
http://barneteye.blo
gspot.com/2008/11/co
uncillor-brian-colem
an-free-dinner.html
Hogg, Morley et al learned all they know about freeloading from Brian 'Mr Toad' Coleman: 'Barnet Council Watch' blog has done some simple addition, revealing in part, the cost of Coleman. Brilliant: http://notthebarnett imes.blogspot.com/20 09/01/what-value-is- brian-coleman.html Coleman's astonishing list of free lunches is exposed by 'The Barnet Eye': http://barneteye.blo gspot.com/2008/11/co uncillor-brian-colem an-free-dinner.html Joe Robb
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Fri 15 May 09

Mr Tibbs says...

how much was it that he put up charges to bury dead kids again? I cant remember. money well spent if it saves his...bacon
how much was it that he put up charges to bury dead kids again? I cant remember. money well spent if it saves his...bacon Mr Tibbs
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Fri 15 May 09

Mr Tibbs says...

how much was it that he put up charges to bury dead kids again? I cant remember. money well spent if it saves his...bacon
how much was it that he put up charges to bury dead kids again? I cant remember. money well spent if it saves his...bacon Mr Tibbs
  • Score: 0

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