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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birds of a Feather.....Part One


For almost three years a KEIOC supporter has diligently progressed a Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request to Knowsley Council for emails containing the phrase "Everton". Despite Destination Kirkby being the single largest planning application in Knowsley's history it is somewhat laughable that only seven emails were initially uncovered. Disclosure of a further email was officially refused, by Knowsley Council, due to claims that it "identified a person or organisation that would be prejudicial to the council’s future dealings with matters which are sensitive and complicated and would prejudice the conduct of public affairs.”

After much resistance, on January 26th of this year, Knowsley Council received a further decision notice, from the Information Commissioner's Office [ICO]  instructing the council to release the email within 35 days or face contempt of court proceedings, a full copy of the decision notice can be seen here. With predictable arrogance, or perhaps negligence, KMBC released the email a day after the deadline. Their claims surrounding the contents of the email they have chosen to release would appear to be a little disingenuous to say the least.

According to Knowsley Council's defence, this 2008 email was meant to identify a potential investor in Destination Kirkby who was not previously identified, the one released doesn't. The council's defence that the email  concerned an individual who had indicated to officers that his involvement and association with the scheme was not to be made public, again, the one released doesn't.

The email offered to the ICO can be seen here. It identifies absentee Everton board director Robert Earl as the alleged mystery man; hardly a man who could be described as never being associated with the scheme nor one who didn't want his involvement revealed as can be seen in this newspaper article published the year before in 2007.

The frankly bizarre final paragraph, of the email, in which a flirtatious Ms Ramsey fantasises over warmer climes only lends weight to the "Sheenagate" mystery; Robert Ian Earl doesn't live on an island, he lives in Windermere, Florida!

Not surprisingly a complaint has been submitted to the ICO; there can be only one of three explanations, the email is genuine in which case KMBC has misled the applicant and wasted the time and money of the commissioner; the email has been doctored to conceal the true identity of somebody "not previously identified" or the email is a substitute one and isn't the one initially described.

The people of Kirkby have long since had to suffer the arrogance and contemptuous opinion in which they’re held by their council; Evertonians may wonder how our club ever got involved with such an array of individuals; well, as the old saying goes “birds of a feather flock together.”

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