Bailiffs to recover unpaid debt from ‘dysfunctional’ Westminster City Council

According to the ‘West End Extra’;

“Bailiffs are expected to come knocking at City Hall this week after Westminster Council failed to repay a debt to one of its leaseholders.

Computers and other valuables could be seized over the £5,000 owed to Dr Sheila Keegan following a county court ruling.

Dr Keegan, who has a flat in Regency Place, Victoria, filed for compensation for costs and time wasted following a two-year battle over botched housing repairs.

The city council has failed to pay up leading to the psychologist and business consultant filing a “warrant for execution”.

The extreme measure is often employed by City Hall when chasing-up unpaid parking fines or rent arrears but Dr Keegan has turned the tables on the council.

Dr Keegan said: “The bailiffs will in the next week be going to Westminster Council.

“If they don’t get the money they will take the computers. But aside from that it is extraordinary how much taxpayers’ money has been wasted.

“How can the council be so incompetent?”

She added: “I have spent 30 years working in organisations helping them become more efficient.

“I have never come across such a dysfunctional organisation.”

Dr Keegan has been in correspondence with the council’s chief executive Mike More since May and copied him in to a “letter before claim” warning of a threat of legal proceedings.

Despite this, she said, the council ignored the threat and failed to file any defence when she brought her claim.

The £5,000 pay out was awarded in the council’s absence.

In 2010 Dr Keegan was asked to contribute to a £17,500 maintenance bill for remedial works at Brunswick Court by the council’s housing operator, CityWest Homes.

But the double-glazed windows installed during the works caused mould and damp in her flat.

After “battling and battling” for two years Dr Keegan was offered £250 compensation in May.

Dr Keegan said: “I spoke to 37 separate individuals – and 300 emails and seven site visits – just in 2010.

“Once you have started something like this you have to finish it. I thought: ‘no – you’ve wasted all my time. I’m taking you to court’.”

Amazingly, the cost of repairing the faulty windows would have been just £420, according to a CityWest Homes’ survey. But Dr Keegan’s saga has cost the taxpayers thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds.

Last night (Thursday) Darren Levy, director of customer services at CityWest Homes, said: “CityWest Homes are currently talking directly to Dr Keegan about this ongoing claim.

“We hope to have the issue amicably resolved very shortly.”

This entry was posted in Council finances, Housing, Pimlico, Public Services, Westminster Council waste and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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