£25k Award: CEO Mark James

The Independent candidate for the Hengoed Ward, Sian Caiach has called for an explanation for the statement made by a barrister on behalf of Mr Mark James CEO of Carmarthenshire County Council, which appears to indicate that Mr James will not hand over the £25k damages to the council as allegedly stated in an Executive Board Meeting, nor it appears to hand over the cash to charity as was allegedly mentioned in a press statement a short time after the court case against blogger Jacqui Thompson. Sian Caiach has written to the Democratic Services Department seeking clarification. She writes:

Dear Mr James,

You will recall that some time ago I asked you for clarification of what exactly you intended to do with the damages awarded to you against Mrs Thompson. I was confused by the apparent conflict between the promise to pay any damages received over to the Council in the Executive Board meeting of 26.1.12, as a condition of the counterclaim funding, and later reiterated after the case concluded, in the Extraordinary Council of 27.2.2014 to examine the WAO findings where we had a report by Roger Jones and Linda Rees Jones stating that the £25k damages “is to be paid over to the Council”. This conflicted with a press statement shortly after the court case which said you would donate the money to local charities. You did not reply to me.

In court yesterday I understand, your barrister said you had changed your mind about giving the damages back to the council, as he said you are entitled to do, that it was only a “voluntary” offer and you could put the money in the gutter if you chose. The judge, I gather, wasn’t impressed that a head of paid service, and Council chief officer, could ignore his stated intention to hand over the damages which had been made on several occasions in official council documents. and neither am I.

I would like you to issue all Councillors with an explanatory statement as soon as possible.

Sian Caiach

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