LLDC appeal rejected in full – full publication ordered

Fan coalition praises Information Tribunal for “Standing up for what is right” as Olympic Stadium LLDC appeal rejected in full

Olympic Stadium Coalition

Press release:

Fan coalition praises Information Tribunal for “Standing up for what is right” as Olympic Stadium LLDC appeal rejected in full

The coalition of 14 supporters’ trusts & groups demanding the publication of the full financial terms of the contract between West Ham United and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LDDC) today expressed “satisfaction” at the rejection of the appeal by the LLDC to the information tribunal.

The failure of the LLDC to convince the judge means that the original decision by the Information Commissioner (ICO) ordering the publication of the terms must be enforced, and that the information sought by the coalition, MPs, the entire Greater London Assembly and thousands of members of the public will now have to be published.

There is however a right of appeal should the LLDC decide that it wishes to appeal against the decision.

A coalition spokesman said ““We’re naturally delighted with the outcome, as we see this as an issue of fairness to the taxpayer, to clubs near and far, and to football as a whole. We now respectfully request that the LLDC do what is right, waive the right to an appeal, and publish the deal in full so that it can be properly assessed and its implications understood.”

“Naturally, due process has to be completed, and though the LLDC’s appeal has been dismissed, it will be their decision as to whether they want to continue to pursue a case that has fallen at every hurdle – with the further financial cost to the taxpayer that will bring.”

“We believe that the tribunal stood up for what is right, namely the right of members of the public to know how their assets are being used, and money is being spent.”

“The very reason we launched this campaign was because there was considerable doubt about the use of a major public asset, and the money being spent. Don’t forget that these are terms granted to a privately owned business: a Premier League football club who will next year be in receipt of more than £100m per-season just for turning up.”

There is no right of appeal against the decision by either party except on specific legal grounds.

The coalition will not be making any further comment at this time.

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For further information please go to https://oscoalition.wordpress.com
You can also contact the campaign via email at olympicstadiumcoalition@gmail.com

Editors notes:

Faced with a refusal by the LLDC to explain how public money was being spent on the Olympic Stadium deal between West Ham United and the London Legacy Development Corporation, the Olympic Stadium Coalition launched a petition calling for a public inquiry to expose the truth. This was backed by Chris Bryant MP, then Shadow Secretary of State and David Lammy, former Culture minister. The petition gained 25,000 signatures within days: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106355

We believe public money should be used responsibly, fairly, and in a way which does not distort the competitiveness of independent sports bodies and businesses… Considering the cost to the taxpayer, and the effect of this taxpayer subsidy on competition between clubs, a full public inquiry into the deal is -needed.

Football supporter groups, representing tens of thousands of football fans, as part of the coalition are:
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust
Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust
The Blue Union (Everton)
Canaries Trust (Norwich City)
Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust
The Dons Trust (AFC Wimbledon)
The Foxes Trust (Leicester City)
Fulham Supporters’ Trust
Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust
QPR1st Supporters’ Trust
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust

Tribunal report posted

Olympic_Stadium_(London),_16_April_2012

Last week, the remaining arguments were again presented in a continuation of the appeal made by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) against the ruling by the Information Commissioner that the full financial terms of their contract with West Ham United be published.

We have provided the following document, summing up the remarks at the tribunal hearing of Richard Hunt, who pursued the original case. The document neatly sums up the arguments put forward by the coalition in favour of full disclosure.

You can read more about our campaign via the FAQs section on this site.

Any further enquiries can be directed to olympicstadiumcoalition@gmail.com

Tribunal to reconvene on 17th March

OLYMPIC STADIUM COALITION: Press release

Date: 11/03/2016

For immediate release

Tribunal hearing Freedom of Information appeal to reconvene on the 17th March Coalition calls for LLDC to “respect decision”

The previously adjourned hearing concerning the appeal by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) against the Information Commissioner’s (ICO) order to publish the full financial terms of the deal between itself and West Ham United FC will reconvene on Thursday March 17th at 10:00, at Court 4, 15 Bream’s Buildings, London, EC4A 1DZ. Map here: http://is.gd/ANn6G1

A spokesman said:

“We have already demonstrated to the tribunal that it is impossible for another football club to share the stadium, despite the LLDC’s insistence, and the fact that West Ham United were perfectly happy to contradict the LLDC view only serves to underscore the strength of our case.”

“We hope, given this, and the weight of other evidence presented to support our case, that the LLDC and anyone else with influence over them, respects the decision of the tribunal and doesn’t seek a further appeal. During a time when the LLDC itself is struggling to make a commercial success of the Olympic legacy, racking up thousands more on top of the £21,000 of taxpayers’ money already spent on this appeal alone does seem to be frivolous.”

This is what we don’t yet know:

  • How much the stadium costs to hire
  • How much the stadium maintenance will cost, and who will pay for it
  • How much each party will earn from stadium naming rights
  • What happens to the stadium in the event of financial difficulties at stadium company E20
  • What happens if West Ham United is sold by its current owners
  • How much West Ham United earns from matchday catering
  • How many jobs are being ‘created’
  • How much office space is being provided to West Ham United and on what terms

You can read more on our website, where we’ve posted information about each of these issues, and why we think they matter.

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LLDC failing to deliver value for money

An investigation into the Olympic Park venues, run in similar fashion to the Olympic Stadium itself, by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), has found that they are failing to operate at break even.

This follows the revelation, made during a hearing of the GLA Budget and Performance Committee at which the LLDC was questioned, that on top of the hundreds of millions of pounds expended on building and conversion of the stadium, thousands of pounds are being spent on legal fees defending the financial secrecy of West Ham’s tenancy.

In a communication sent out by the Greater London Assembly, entitled ‘Olympic Park venues – gold medal or wooden spoon performance?’, it goes on to explain that the London Legacy Development Corporation has seen a succession of poor visitor numbers for the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Aquatics Centre and Copper Box, leading to combined losses of over £1.1m. This follows on from the investigation into the Olympic Stadium

There is a hearing of the London Assembly Regeneration Committee scheduled tomorrow (02/02/2016), asking:

Do the Olympic Park venues have a sustainable future? What difference will a new slide around the Orbit make to visitor numbers? And will the LLDC benefit financially if the Orbit starts generating a profit?

The first section of the meeting will focus on the work of the LLDC with:

  • David Goldstone CBE, Chief Executive, LLDC
  • Dr Paul Brickell, Executive

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, 2 February at 10:00am in Committee Room 5 at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend. The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

City Hall HDR

“London City Hall” by Garry Knight – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

OS Coalition: Statement following today’s adjournment

Olympic_Stadium_(London),_16_April_2012

We note no decision has been reached today in the London Legacy Development Corporation appeal against the Information Commissioner’s ICO ruling that the financial terms of the LLDC contract for the use of the Olympic Stadium by West Ham United should be published in full.

We trust the Tribunal committee will reconvene the hearing at the earliest possible opportunity, and conclude a process which has now cost the taxpayer £21,000 in appeal costs accumulated by the LLDC alone.

During the two hour open session this morning, we heard nothing to persuade us that revealing the contract in full would, indeed, impact on the stadium operators’ ability to secure competitive arrangements with other potential users, which now forms the backbone of the LLDC argument. This is a marked change from the LLDC’s original argument that disclosure would mainly negatively impact on West Ham United itself.

We also note that no representative from stadium operators Vinci, anyone from E20 (the partnership between the LLDC and London Borough of Newham), and significantly, West Ham United or any other potential or existing user was represented at today’s session. This leads us to question the fundamental assertion from the LLDC that the disclosure of financial material could be commercially damaging.

We remain determined to see full publication of the financial terms of the contract. This is about ensuring public money is used well and that it is not used to give one club a financial advantage over others.

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Appeal hearing on 25th January: Public welcome to attend

Olympic_Stadium_(London),_16_April_2012Olympic Stadium Coalition

Press release: 22/01/2016

For immediate release

Media and public invited to attend appeal hearing on 25th January

The Olympic Stadium Coalition would like to remind anyone who wishes to attend the Freedom of Information Act appeal by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) against the order by the Information Commissioner to publish the full financial terms of the contract between West Ham United FC and the LLDC, can do so.

The details of the hearing are as follows:
Date: Monday 25th January
Time: 10:00 (estimated end time of 16:00)
Venue: Field House, 15 Bream’s Buildings, London, EC4A 1DZ
Map and directions: https://www.google.com/maps?q=51.5161650342,-0.110818295883
Nearest tube: Chancery Lane

Additional details: https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/courts/upper-tribunal-immigration-and-asylum-chamber

Members of our group will be attendance to discuss the campaign with the media and members of the public. Please email us: olympicstadiumcoalition@gmail.com

Representing as we do fourteen supporters’ organisations, thousands of members of the public, London AMs, MPs, and other civil society organisations, we will continue to make the same demands for transparency as we made when we set out on this campaign, because we believe that a fair deal for the taxpayer, is a fair deal for football.

On 6th January 2016, giving evidence to the Greater London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee, David Edmonds of the London Legacy Development Corporation confirmed that:

  • The LLDC has spent £4,000 to date on legal fees in its bid to keep the Olympic Stadium deal with West Ham confidential, after the Information Commissioner ordered it should be made public
  • It estimates these costs are expected to rise this month to £17,000, and even more if it becomes necessary to ‘appeal the Tribunal decision.’
  • The final bill for transforming the Olympic Stadium might top the previous estimate of £272 million, as the LLDC negotiates the cost of further work.

Full release here: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/rising-stadium-costs

For more about the campaign, its aims and its supporters, please go to our FAQ section, or get in touch via our email address: olympicstadiumcoalition@gmail.com

This is what we don’t yet know:
How much the stadium costs to hire
How much the stadium maintenance will cost, and who will pay for it
How much each party will earn from stadium naming rights
What happens to the stadium in the event of financial difficulties at stadium company E20
What happens if West Ham United is sold by its current owners
How much West Ham United earns from matchday catering
How many jobs are being ‘created’
How much office space is being provided to West Ham United and on what terms

You can read more on our website, where we’ve posted information about each of these issues, and why we think they matter.

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Olympic Stadium: the costs keep rising

City Hall HDR
“London City Hall” by Garry Knight – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:London_City_Hall.jpg#/media/File:London_City_Hall.jpg

Press release from the London Assembly:

Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money have been spent keeping details of the West Ham deal out of the public domain, the London Assembly uncovered today.

Giving evidence to the Budget and Performance Committee, David Edmonds of the London Legacy Development Corporation confirmed that:

The LLDC has spent £4,000 to date on legal fees in its bid to keep the Olympic Stadium deal with West Ham confidential, after the Information Commissioner ordered it should be made public.

It estimates these costs are expected to rise this month to £17,000, and even more if it becomes necessary to ‘appeal the Tribunal decision.’

The final bill for transforming the Olympic Stadium might top the previous estimate of £272 million, as the LLDC negotiates the cost of further work.

The revelation came during the London Assembly’s annual scrutiny of the Mayor’s draft Budget.

The Mayor himself will be questioned on the Budget, and the legacy he is leaving for his successor, on 12 January 2016.

Stephen Knight AM, Deputy Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee, said:

“In times when public bodies are facing unprecedented budget cuts, it is more important than ever that public money is spent meeting the needs of the public.

It is therefore astonishing that the Mayor’s London Legacy Development Corporation is spending thousands of pounds of public money on lawyers to keep the details of the deal with West Ham secret. The Information Commissioner has looked at the arguments and ordered the LLDC to publish the deal in full – and the LLDC should clearly now do so.

Having funded this stadium, Londoners have a right to know about how their money is being spent through this deal.”

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