26 March 2010

 

 

Attempt to Sue COL Editor is dismissed.

Following the dismissal of the Civil Case brought forward by Gwynedd / Town Councillor Bob Anderson who also runs a Health food shop in Caernarfon, I would like to express the following.

I am so pleased to see that justice has been done in proving that I was not responsible for the loss of the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade and Commerce Badge of Office. The Deputy District Judge who held the court insisted that the badge was not a chain of office in any shape or form, he stated "For it to be a 'Chain' it must be literally be that i.e. a series of metal (usually precious) links worn around the neck usually with a jewel supended from it. It should properly be referred to as the Chairman's Jewel" instead.

The badge (jewel) itself was a metal motif on a blue ribbon which was worn by the Chairman of official engagements. When I was Chairman, the badge (which had no proven financial value despite ludicrous claims of £1,000 plus VAT made by Councillor Anderson through an estimate received from some unclear photos downloaded from this website) was kept by the secretary Mr Brian Cooper at his shop at 72 Pool Street in Caernarfon (Mr Cooper has since passed away). There were no receipts to prove its value and the item had never been insured by the Chamber. The Badge was never signed for by any Chairman or Secretary and the Chamber could not provide any documentation, minutes / agendas which also raises questions as they should have also been kept by the secretary

Despite it being common knowledge that the secretary always kept the badge, Gwynedd and Town Councillor Bob Anderson insisted that it was kept by the Chairman.  Not only was it explained to him at the time as being untrue, but the former chariman also reported Mr Anderson’s accusations to the police.
Councillor Anderson admitted in court that he had handed the badge over to the Secretary Mr Brian Cooper and not to the Chairman, he believed that the secretary then passed it on to the Chair. Mr Anderson also admitted that his whole case was based on an assumption. There were no signatures in the alleged hand over of the medallion to Mr Cooper by Mr Anderson or any signatures in any regards to the medal whatsoevr..

The case was dismissed by Deputy District Judge R A Hoffman and had Councillor Anderson listened to the former Chairman's statement in the first place, instead of insisting taking it to the civil court, then a lot of money could have been saved for the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade with their ludicrous attempt of trying to obtain a cash settlement of around £1,000.00 (plus VAT)

Members of the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade will surely be appalled that their money has been wasted in trying to replace a worthless badge when the Chamber could have put the money into good use in town. The Chamber's main source of revenue is obtained from members paying an annual membership fee of £25.00. With this in mind, the total revenue gained from its members for one calendar year comes to little over £1,000. It is estimated that the legal cost to local business members was  between £1,500 - £4,000 (which was more than Councillor Anderson’s estimate cost of replacing the medal).

I wrote to Councillor Anderson to explain that during my time as Chairman the medal was always kept at the secretary’s shop and I also wrote to the police at the time to ask if they would conduct an investigation. The police refused to get involved stating that it was “not a police matter”.

I take great offence at the insinuations made by an elected councillor and I am deeply hurt that he has used local businesses money to try to fight this through the courts.

 I also find it hard to believe that every member of the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade was made aware of the fact that this was being dragged through the courts as I have spoken and written to some of the members about this and they confirmed that they were not aware that it was going ahead in their name. 

I have emails, from the Chamber's Vice Chair who stated that he "did not get involved in petty arguments which weren't going anywhere".  I also have an email from a Chamber Executive member who stated that she was "not aware" of any meeting that had taken place to agree to take this matter to court and if there had been, then she did "not agree to it".

During court proceedings Councillor Anderson stated that the case was brought forward following a request during a Chamber meeting by a member (which he named).

I obtained a written statement from this same member stating that he did not request legal proceedings and Mr Anderson’s statement in court was not true.

The allegations started when I was approached by Councillor Anderson as to the whereabouts of the badge prior to a Caernarfon Partnership meeting. I explained to him at the time that Mr Cooper (the Chamber Secretary) always kept the badge at his premises. - This was not accepted by Councillor Anderson.

Nearly two years later I received the first of many solicitors’ letters on the orders of Councillor Anderson. (acting on behalf of the Chamber)

I feel that Mr Anderson has acted improperly throughout this case and I agreed with the court to go into mediation through the system as to save both parties on costs. - The claimant did not agree to this.

I believe that Councillor Anderson has brought not only the Chamber of Trade into disrepute but also his position as a Gwynedd Councillor, Town Councillor and his position on the Caernarfon Partnership and as a director of the new Caernarfon Tourism group (of which I am also a director).

If Councillor Anderson is an honourable citizen then I would expect (having been cleared of all accusations brought forward by him) that Councillor Bob Anderson not only makes a public apology, but in the interests of all the above mentioned groups and associations, he formally resigns from all his posts. If he is a man of integrity an honour, he should see no other option but to step down with immediate effect.

When I resurrected the Chamber of Trade from its mothballs in 2003, I thought I was doing good for the town. The Chamber had fallen apart following  the collapse of the 100% Caernarfon (a pressure group) and the demise of the Chamber due to Councillor Anderson's  ill health. This sort of action "brought forward on behalf of the Chamber" by Councillor Anderson makes it difficult to convince anyone to get invovled with the organisation.

Following this lengthy and costly case for the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade members, not one member or officer of the organisation (other than Councillor Anderson) took any part in court, despite claims in the press that Officers of the Chamber were involved in the case.

Following the dismissal of the case against a former chairman and member.  I cannot see how any reputable business would want to be a part of the Caernarfon Chamber of Trade.

Mr Anderson has made it difficult for local business to join in the future because of fear that they will be accused of malpractice. What businessperson in their right mind would want to be associated with a group who takes court proceedings against its members when common sense should prevail?

To say I am very disappointed with Councillor Bob Anderson for his actions would be an understatement.  I hope that the Chamber of Trade now asks for his resignation as anything less will hinder the group form moving forward and gaining new members and that would be a great shame.

According to their website the group only have 41 members (4 of which have closed down), this does not give a strong voice for the group in a town the size of Caernarfon. It is unclear if all 41 members attend meetings on a regular basis or if they receive minutes following meetings.

I do not blame the Chamber of Trade for this charade, but I feel that they have been misled and misguided by their chairman.

Councillor Anderson stated to the local press that he was unable to comment on the decision until he had time to talk with his solicitor and the Chamber of Trade.

I would therefore be willing to give Councillor Anderson the right to reply to this as soon as he has had time to consider what he has done and spoken with his solicitor and members.


Thanks

I would like to take this opportunity in thanking everyone who wrote or called me to give their support. I know I have replied to everyone of you individually but must point out that your support was much appreciated.

I would also like to answer one sad individual who wrote to me anonymously whilst the case was going on asking if "I liked my photo in the paper" .

My answer to him/her is: Yes I did!

 

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