One of the main persons driving Celtic PLC to come to Lennoxtown, both in his capacity as an East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) councillor and as a Director of The Lennoxtown Initiative, was John Dempsey. He’s been there on both sides all the way from the establishment of The Lennoxtown Initiative, the NHSGGC deal to fund the latter charity, attracting Celtic to Lennoxtown, through the running of the Celtic SLA. Even though as we have seen in a previous post both he and the EDC were a bit reluctant about admitting his involvement in The Lennoxtown Initiative and still are. Mr Dempsey is still in those same positions. The Celtic SLA payments from The Lennoxtown Initiative, after 9 years, have just finished. His guiding hand has been there throughout with no one having longer involvement – but he’s been even handed – he worked both sides of the fence.
Because of those reasons we have had our suspicions all along about Mr Dempsey and his allegiances. Now they have been verified.
Mr Dempsey has decided to come out as a Celtic shareholder. See the entry below under ‘Shares and Securities’ on his Register of Interest on his page on the EDC website:
Mr Dempsey is almost 79 so we can understand if his memory has been playing up. Perhaps he may also have been a Celtic shareholder earlier than now but just forgot to admit so on his Register of Interests. And just maybe he could also be a Celtic season ticket holder and/or supporter? Nobody invests as a small shareholder in football teams – it’s all about supporting the club.
Let’s take a look at when he has had to dip out of EDC meetings because of conflicts of interest. Most of them relate to The Lennoxtown Initiative and Celtic:
Mr Dempsey’s Conflicts of Interest relating to The Lennoxtown Initiative
Mr Dempsey’s Conflicts of Interests relating to Celtic PLC
Why, in the last two entries above in 2009 and 2012, would Mr Dempsey have a conflict of interest in Celtic’s pitches then Celtic’s Lennoxtown access road, which was supposed to be a major condition of the EDC detailed planning approval for Celtic’s Lennoxtown Training Centre, unless he had some interest in Celtic, either as a season ticket holder and/or as a Celtic supporter?
The above conflicts of interest relate to his meetings at the EDC.
What about his other role as a Director of The Lennoxtown Initiative. Did he declare conflicts of interest relating to Celtic when discussing Lennoxtown or the Celtic SLA in The Lennoxtown Initiative meetings, board or otherwise, the following:
1. The Lennoxtown Initiative ‘project’ to attract Celtic to Lennoxtown?
2. The Lennoxtown Initiative offering Celtic an ‘in-principle’ Celtic SLA in 2005 before the sale of Lennoxtown?
3. All business relating to the channeling of payments through The Lennoxtown Initiative charity to Celtic via the Celtic SLA?
Trouble is The Lennoxtown Initiative was an ALEO, an Arms Length Enterprise Organisation, and a charity set-up as a separate company, unlike the Kirkintilloch Initiative which was set-up before The Lennoxtown Initiative as a subsidiary of EDC. So nobody can FoI The Lennoxtown Initiative even though it was set-up by public authorities. Very strange a successful model is broken except if the purpose was to put the details beyond the public’s view.
There are some minutes available from the NHSGGC site, from 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 but none before 2007 and Lennoxtown was negotiated & sold in the period 2005 to 2006. Or post 2010 when the Celtic SLA went to 2014. However looking through those 4 years minutes, Celtic & the Celtic SLA are discussed and John Dempsey was at most of the meetings but does NOT declare any conflict of interest. Funny that he has a conflict with Celtic issues on the EDC but his standards are not so strict while on The Lennoxtown Initiative board.
Note: It was NHSGGC that delivered these minutes. EDC claimed they had no copies of any minutes even though they were represented on The Lennoxtown Initiative minutes, received & facilitated delivery of services under the Celtic SLA Lennoxtown Initiative ‘project’ and it operated under their jurisdiction – Lennoxtown is in East Dunbartonshire. So the EDC is party to a cover-up.
Someone approached Celtic to notify them of Lennoxtown. Remember there was no marketing of the Upper Site alone. Someone that knew that the EDC planning could bent from ‘Greenbelt’ into ‘Greenbelt Compatible’ where that could be bent from Leisure/Recreational use for residents into private professional football training use. Could only have been someone on the EDC Council with knowledge and influence on the planning committee.
It also had to be someone who knew about the NHSGGC agreement to pass the funds from the sale of the Upper Site back into The Lennoxtown Initiative. John Dempsey has been involved in The Lennoxtown Initiative since it was established in 2001.
Here we have someone who was playing on both sides: EDC and The Lennoxtown Initiative.
We see he has declared conflicts of interest on Celtic’s Lennoxtown issues in EDC meetings but none in the documented and undocumented shadows of The Lennoxtown Initiative ALEO charity.
As a Celtic season ticket holder and supporter and ‘now’ as a shareholder Mr Dempsey must feel completely at home in Celtic Park with the other Scottish Labour MPs, MSPs and GCC & EDC councillors discussing EU State Aid. Perhaps some of them even decide to update their Register of Interests with the EU, the UK Department of Business, Innovation & Skills and Scottish government coming around asking questions about conflicts of interest.