Council fraud allegations 'have to stop' – solicitor
ALLEGATIONS that St Mabyn Parish Council has committed fraud and broken local government rules have to stop, a local authority solicitor has demanded.
In an unprecedented move, a Cornwall Council legal officer has sent a letter to residents in the village warning that the parish council could take court action if the accusations continue.
The parish council says claims about falsified accounts dating back three years are untrue and these and other allegations amounted to a personal vendetta against its clerk, Jenny Hoskin.
A petition has also gone around the village claiming parish council wrong-doing.
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Now, Cornwall Council solicitor Anthony Richings has sent an open letter to villagers, on behalf of the parish council, making it clear that false accounting did not take place.
Mr Richings said the parish council had had enough.
"Legitimate and important parish council business has been held up for significant periods while irrelevant queries and unfounded accusations have been responded to. This cannot go on.
"Repeated challenges with an increasingly aggressive tone in communications have escalated into unwanted and inappropriate behaviour.
"This has become a significant drain on the resources and time of staff and members who must draw a line under a matter that legal advice confirms disclosed no breach of accounting rules, local government law procedure.''
He said St Mabyn Parish Council is open and transparent and could do without undue interference and unfounded complaints.
Mr Richings has advised the parish council that further harassment against it, including unfounded and abusive accusations of unprofessional or criminal conduct, may constitute unlawful action by a complainant.
Parish councillor Mark Menhennitt said he hoped the letter from Mr Richings would now put a stop to the allegations.
"What all this is about is a personal vendetta against our parish clerk Jenny Hoskin, and this council, and I'm sure the vast majority of parishioners are fed up to the back teeth with it.
"Jenny is a very competent parish clerk. She works on behalf of the council and only does what the parish council asks her to do.
"These allegations have gone on for far too long now and it has become very personal. I'm sure the 34 people who signed the petition now regret doing so."