HEREFORDSHIRE Council is “not capable” of dealing with questions over its culpability in Hereford United’s current crisis, which raises issues only an outside agency – even the police – can find answers for.
The claim comes from the councillor who first raised doubts about the council’s due diligence on the club. Doubts that have been borne out by developments over today (Friday).
Cllr Jim Knipe told the Hereford Times he didn’t think the council was capable of dealing with issues raised over its relationship with the club and, for the sake of credibility, an outside agency should be brought in.
“Even the possibility of the police if necessary,” he said.
Earlier this afternoon, Cllr Bob Mathews, the leader of the council’s Independent group, told the Hereford Times of the need for an “official investigation” into the crisis at Hereford United to force answers from former directors – including a sitting councillor - as to how the club’s current owners found themselves in place and got to do what they have done.
Cllr Matthews said he was surprised that, in the circumstances, such an investigation was not already underway.
As reported by the Hereford Times, all councillors were this morning e-mailed allegations from parties working on behalf of the club’s supporters trust that questioned the validity of the club’s share issue and related claims on ownership of the club.
Also this morning, the council admitted that no “separate” due diligence report was done on the financial state of Hereford United ahead of the ground leases being re-assigned.
Repeating this admission today’s meeting of the full council, the council stood by its actions as landlord to the club saying an “appropriate level” of due diligence was carried out.
Cllr Harry Bramer, cabinet member for contracts and assets told members that, at the time the leases were being negotiated, the council was dealing with a club that it had been dealing with for some time.
“The amount of due diligence for someone who is known to us is different to that if you don't know them,” he said.
The council has already ruled out a scrutiny hearing into the re-assigning of leases on the club’s Edgar Street ground, for which the council is the landlord.