Once upon a time and far, far away (well, Bethnal Green) there was an arts centre called Rich Mix. In 2010 someone somewhere in the Town Hall decided to give Rich Mix £1.5m. But nothing more happened and the £1.5m stayed in the councils bank account.
Fast forward to 2015 when the new directly-elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs decided that Rich Mix would go to the ball and so sorted out the £1.5m for Rich Mix. But…
Well there are lots of buts in this little story and you can read all about them in the most recent edition of the ever respectful Private Eye, specifically the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ section.
Despite the best intentions of the Wapping Mole our glorious borough has not featured in Rotten Boroughs much of late so Moley’s whiskers twitched with happiness when he saw the Rich Mix story.
And here it is. Well, just the headline, some of the words on the left-hand side and the final sentence ‘Lutfur may be gone but nothing ever changes in Tower Hamlets’.
Sorry! We don’t nick other people’s stories.
If you want to read the full details you can pop along to your local newsagents and buy a copy of Private Eye for the bargain price of £2!
It’s a cracker.
If you are really clever you might be able to work out the latest Rich Mix revelations just by reading the words you can see.
Oh ok, we are being a bit mean. So here are some of the words and phrases you can’t see: Roughshod, scrutiny committee, Lutfur’s dodgy regime, conflict of interest, failed to attract locals, rickety Bethnal Green, councils officers warned.
Now that’s got to be worth two quid, innit?
And you should also read this by He Who Is Always On Holiday aka Ted Jeory who broke the story back in 2006.
Update 23rd July 2018
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said:
“Rich Mix delivers a fantastic range of artistic and cultural programmes that benefit our residents as well as visitors to the borough.
“The [Private Eye] article relates to a court settlement that was agreed in 2015. It was a decision that allowed both parties to move forward from a financial dispute with what continues to be a strong and positive relationship.
“The decision to approve the settlement was made by Mayor John Biggs using his executive powers. It was subsequently considered by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee in an open and transparent manner where full consideration was given to whether it represented best value for the council.
“The Commissioners appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government were made aware of the decision and were satisfied that it did not require further investigation.”
No, it was not Moley who dished the dirt to Eye. He has a much more interesting story he is working on.