Forum Topic

WPCC Election - John Cameron's Q&A

Unfortunately John Cameron was unable to attend the Hustings arranged by the Wimbledon Society which was held on Wednesday this week. The Society refused to allow me as his designated representative to read his statement or answer questions. He had prepared answers to 10 "tough" questions, and in a spirit of openness has asked me to copy them here:JOHN CAMERON – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERSQ. Can you really work together with other Trustees considering you have failed to do so for the last three years? A. I haven’t failed to do so - from April 2015 to November 2016 I participated fully in all the board matters. The ‘disagreements’ were over fundamental issues which I considered to be misconduct . It was clear to me that a faction of the board were colluding to kick the undersale into the long grass. They were doing so with the support of professional advisers. Trustees and advisers failed to disclose material conflicts of interest, which are now known, and these have been passed to the Charity Commission. As a Trustee I was exposed to this collusion, misconduct and mismanagement. I was elected as a Trustee to serve ONLY in the interests of the charity, and that is exactly what I did. To participate in a cover up would not have been in the interests of the charity, it would have been misconduct. Q. Why do you want to sack Simon Lee? A. Simon Lee deliberately misled the Charity Commission in January 2015 when he stated in writing that the WPCC did not have a case to answer in respect of the undersale of the access. We now know the undersale caused a loss of £1.55m. Mr Lee participated in the very obvious attempts to block an independent and fair investigation. He also participated in the appointment of Daniel Watney LLP which does not stand up to scrutiny. The Daniel Watney LLP valuation cost some £40,000 and has now been shown to be fatally flawed in terms of its assumptions and conclusion. This is misconduct and mismanagement. CEO’s need to take responsibility for their actions. The board, as Lee’s employer, will need to review his actions in due course. There are a number of fundamental reasons why Simon Lee’s leadership should be reviewed including whether he continues to have the support of the WPCC team members. Q. Your actions have caused the financial crisis the charity is in by forcing the board to spend £400,000 with lawyers? A. My actions have not caused the financial crisis. The conflicted Trustees went on a ‘spending spree’ with lawyers to run up as large a bill as possible. The initiative was led by the conflicted Trustees to enable them to close down the Putney Hospital investigation without procuring an independent valuation. When it was clear to me and other Trustees that BWB were acting in the interests of the conflicted Trustees, BWB were challenged and quit. A material conflict of interest was not disclosed. Charles Russell Speechlys were then a mirror image of BWB. A material conflict of interest was again not disclosed. The unnecessary expense was committed by the board in order to try and avoid taking responsibility for the the deliberate undersale. The financial meltdown was deliberate and instigated by Trustees. The Charity Commission have the evidence of this, and have been continuously informed from the summer of 2015.Q. Why do you want to remove the benches on Putney Common outside the Spencer pub on Putney Common? A. I do not want to remove the benches. My opposition to them was driven by the lack of consultation. The benches appeared overnight. The charity charged the Spencer a token amount, without taking any professional advice. When I became a Trustee I challenged this and advice was taken from unqualified advisers. Their advice was fundamentally wrong, based on incorrect assumptions. The advice then suggested that the Spencer could ‘go legal’ if they did not get their way. The advice was worthless, yet accepted by the board and acted on. If the Spencer want benches the Trustees have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the agreement is on the best available terms in the interests of the charity. That is not the case, as the benches are under rented. In December 2018 the WPCC made a deliberate misrepresentation to Wandsworth Council over the planning application for a permanent change of use. The application has now been withdrawn. Q. Why did you refuse to abide by the agreed policy of the board not to disagree publicly with agreed actions? A. For the simple reason of ensuring that levy payers were fully informed of the serial misconduct and mismanagement of the WPCC. To not do so would not be in the interest of the charity or the levy payers. It would be mismanagement and misconduct.Q. You shouted at other members of the board and acted unreasonably to such an extent that you had to be excluded. Is that the sort of behaviour we should expect from a Trustee? I have not shouted at anyone or acted unreasonably. I have simply argued my corner. I have been threatened physically, lied to repeatedly and placed under huge amount of financial stress by the board to force my resignation. When I resisted this and asked questions about transactions a vexatious complaint was submitted by Prue Whyte and Simon Lee to the Charity Commission. It was rejected by the Commission as I and my lawyers refuted it line by line. There was no case to answer. The WPCC tried to sack me and failed. They wasted £60,000 of levy payers funds with lawyers, an utterly shameful misuse of the charity’s resources.Q. Why don’t you want the charity and its management to work with the local community. Aren’t Stakeholder groups important? A. Stakeholder groups are important. But the Trustees have the legal responsibility for the charity and the founding legislation. Derogation of setting strategy, governance and legal responsibility is completely contrary to good governance. Q. Will you accept the Statutory Inquiry report if it decides that no action should be taken to recoup the losses incurred at Putney Common? A. There is ample evidence to support the case that undersale in 2014 was deliberate. I have been interviewed by the Interim Manager and made my position clear to the Charity Commission. It is up to the Charity Commission to make whatever Direction(s) it decides. I believe that the losses are recoverable and it would be in the interests of the WPCC to do so. To not do so because of personal loyalties or conflicts of interest is contrary to the legal responsibility of Trustees.Q. Why are you suggesting that the democratic election of Trustees will be abolished? A. It is clear to me that there is an agenda to make sweeping changes to the 1871 Act. This will include the cessation of elections which allow residents to have a voice in the governance of the WPCC. Other changes include vesting more power in the executive, the ability to commercialise the commons, including the sale of land if it is in the interest of the charity to do so. The commons are coveted; 1,140 acres of freehold land in central London. The 1871 Act has not protected the commons due to weak Trustees. Trustees who act as a clique cannot be trusted. We know from experience that cosy cliques are prepared to roll over for political allies or personal friends. Protecting the commons is paramount, for us, our children and their children. Q. Why won’t you support the Strategy and Vision statement? A. It is management speak and white noise. A document which is not costed and cannot be implemented. Designed to deflect from the real issues. It is not necessary to commission market research as what the WPCC’s role is in modern society. The commons are precious. Managing them is not challenging. Balance the books. Invest wisely. Keep it simple. Do it well. Be a little better each year. Repeat. John Cameron, 7 February 2018

Nicholas Evans ● 1825d0 Comments