All of the following are linked directly or indirectly to Steven Purcell
Steven Purcell – Dodgy Allan Stewart & Steven McKenna – Lawyer and Sheriff, Peter Watson – Levy & McRae – Jack Irvine (The Sun) – Convicted drug dealer James Bryce.- His son Jamie similarly employed – Bar Manager of the Boundary Bar, Kelly Bryce. (Sister of Jamie) – Convicted criminal (ex boxer) Barry Hughes – convicted criminal and drug dealer Jamie “The Iceman” Stevenson – Jeanie McDougall, Ruth Black and Paul Ferris & The Castro (Lesbian and gay drop in centre) in Merchant City – Gangsters Justin McAlroy, Jason McAteer, Sohan Singh, James Sanderson – Gangster Jamie Daniel and his mob – Gangster Eddie Lyon and his mob – Bridget McConnell
Steven Purcell Leader Glasgow City Council
Born in 1972, he lived in Yoker in the west of the city and was educated at St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School. He joined the Labour Party in 1986, campaigning for Donald Dewar and helping the future Scottish first minister secure his Westminster seat in Garscadden in the 1987 election.
He was first elected as a Glasgow councillor for the ward of Blairdardie in 1995, aged just 22. Between 1999 and 2003, he was the council’s convener of development and regeneration services. During this time he oversaw the creation of the Glasgow City Plan. From 2003 until his election as leader Purcell was convener of education, and delivered a controversial £220m P.F.I. programme closing, refurbishing or rebuilding secondary schools across the city.
He was elected, unopposed, as leader of Glasgow City Council in May 2005 at the age of 32. In his time in the job he played a high-profile role in helping to bring the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow. In 2006 Mr Purcell announced he was gay and that he was separating from his wife. He had been tipped to become a future Labour leader at Holyrood or an MP but is reported to have put his wider career aspirations on hold in order to oversee a successful Commonwealth Games for Glasgow. (BBC-News)
5 Feb 2008: £25m homes plan after East End land deal
A derelict area near the site of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games athletes’ village is to be transformed into a £25million housing development.
Stewart & McKenna acquired the site after striking a deal with Glasgow City Council, which needed another piece of land the developers owned at nearby Millerfield Road for the 2014 Games participants’ accommodation. The developers got £1.7m as well as the new plot in Beechgrove Street after selling the parcel of land to the council.
A total of 131 flats will be built in the development. As well as six penthouses costing £180,000 each, one-bedroom flats at around £110,000 and two-bedroom apartments for £150,000, the development will feature studio flats aimed at first-time buyers. Dubbed nano flats’ by the developers, the 18 flats with balconies will cost under £100,000. The flats are due to be completed by mid-2010 after going on sale in July. (Evening Times)
After-note: Purcell and Stewart & McKenna, (land developers) enjoyed a relationship lasting many years. The land deal at Millerfield Road netted their company a significant profit since they had purchased the land at a knock down price from the City Council. And they got a large parcel of land at Beechgrove Street for nothing. Stewart & McKenna are involved in the Gregory King £600million Ponzie scheme still under investigation by the Fraud Squad.
20 Jan 2009: Glasgow Schools to be closed and merged
More than 2,000 children in Glasgow could be affected by proposals to close 13 primary schools and 12 nurseries. Councillors will be asked later this month to consult with parents, staff and unions over the move. If final approval is given, children could be merged into new schools and nurseries from August. Parents accused the council of being “underhand” and said the proposed consultation would be “a sham”. Education officials have carried out a “city-wide assessment” of schools and nurseries which could be involved in potential merger This takes into account educational benefit, building capacity and occupancy, transport arrangements and the wider community impact.
Councillor Steven Purcell explaining the proposal to shut schools said: “Children deserve to be in better accommodation, but in this financial climate we cannot afford to build new schools and nurseries through prudential borrowing,” so the works will be completed by extending the P.F.I. programme
The SNP group on Glasgow City Council called for each school to be looked at on its merits and warned against a “blanket” of cuts and added that Taxpayers in Glasgow will be paying for Labour’s discredited PFI secondary school project for decades; that Labour-controlled Glasgow had chosen not to be among the councils working constructively with the Scottish Government on the SFT proposals was very disappointing”.
A Glasgow taxpayer said: “It’s clear that this is a financially motivated decision as Glasgow City Council expects to save £3.7m per year from these closures. There will be the all too familiar sham consultation process, and then the plans will be rubber-stamped by the council. Merging nurseries and primary schools into large groups will not lead to better education for children. The positive ethos and atmosphere which many of these smaller establishments currently have will be lost.”
The council said it had spent £550m on school building improvements over the past 10 years – building 64 new schools and refurbishing five others. All of the projects had been funded using Public Finance Initiative (PFI) funding, borrowing and receipts generated from the sale of surplus land and property. (BBC-News)
After-note: The council despite public opposition, including school sit-ins by parents, implemented their programme of change. Many schools were demolished and replaced with a much reduced schools list. Purcell and PFI had won out yet again bringing new buildings but requiring the Council to accept massive debts (lease/lending the properties) for periods between 50-90 years. The Glasgow Taxpayer stung badly.
23 Jun 2009: Games village developer unveiled
Glasgow City Council has named the consortium which it wants to build the athletes’ village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. City Legacy – including architect RMJM, which designed the Scottish Parliament – is the preferred bidder for the 38.5 hectare site in Dalmarnock. The development will provide accommodation and facilities for 6,500 competitors and officials. The village will provide 1,400 homes for sale and rent after the games.
Steven Purcell, said: “The athletes’ village will be one of the most recognisable aspects of the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games – and certainly one of the most important. “I look forward to the successful delivery of a key part of the games, and later, the creation of a stunning new neighbourhood for the city as Glasgow’s regeneration continues.
Glasgow City Council will make the village site available to City Legacy at “nil cost” in order to reduce borrowing requirements. The developer will then enter into a profit-sharing arrangement with the council at the end of the project. When the games are over, the site will be redeveloped to include 1,100 private homes and about 300 for rent. There will also be a 120-bed social work care home for the elderly. Preparatory work on the site is expected to begin later this year with construction scheduled to start in autumn 2010.(BBC News)
After-note: The much vaunted 124 bed social work care home is not yet complete (nearly 3 years after the games) and there are other problems associated with the overall development. Locals are not happy.
2 Mar 2010: Glasgow council leader Steven Purcell stands down
The former leader of Glasgow City Council is being treated in hospital for what his advisers described as “exhaustion”.Steven Purcell’s resignation was announced at a special meeting of the council’s Labour group
In a statement issued on Purcell’s behalf, Peter Watson, of Levy & McRae solicitors said: “Earlier this morning Steven made the effort to telephone his resignation as leader of Glasgow City Council. Steven does this with a heavy heart but the strain of running one of the UK’s largest authorities combined with the added pressures of the Commonwealth Games planning and the controversy over Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has just proved too much for a man who lived and breathed Glasgow 24 hours a day. We have received an enormous groundswell of support from all sides of the political spectrum for Steven for which he is very grateful. His family would now like him to be left in peace to recover his health. It is now up to the Labour Group to decide what is the best way forward for their party, and the people of Glasgow, and I know Steven wishes them well in their deliberations.”
Purcell was not at the short meeting of the Labour councillors, in which they were told of his decision to step down but Purcell’s colleagues were said to have become aware he was considering resignation on Saturday. He then confirmed his intention to step down late on Monday evening. Earlier Jack Irvine, a spokesman for Mr Purcell said he had been “under enormous pressure”. He added: “Steven agreed to seek medical help immediately and subsequently he is now under doctor’s orders.”
Glasgow City Council has been contacted by Levy & McCrae representing Mr Purcell and have agreed to make no official statement on his health. A Scottish Labour Party spokesman said: “We hope Steven makes a full recovery.” (BBC News)
After-note: The entire press release was a smokescreen organised by Peter Watson and Levy & McCrae designed to “buy time” so that they would be able to protect their client. Note that the Council was cut out of “the loop”. Jack Irvine was dismissed from his post as spokesman for Purcell.
5 Mar 2010: The former leader of Glasgow City Council, Steven Purcell has resigned his council seat, it has been confirmed.
Having spent three days at a rehabilitation clinic in the Borders specialising in treating drug and alcohol addiction as well as other conditions Purcell, who quit as leader of the council on Tuesday announced that he had also stood down as councillor for the Drumchapel and Anniesland ward “to take a period of rest and recuperation”.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, solicitor advocate Peter Watson of Levy McRae, the legal firm which is representing 37-year-old Purcell, said: “Steven Purcell tendered his resignation today. “He did so with much sadness but with great support from friends, family and many well-wishers from every part of the city. “Steven has accepted advice that he must now concentrate on his health and well-being. As he steps out of public life, he now wishes to be left in peace and quiet. There will be no further comment.”
A spokesman for the Labour party said: “Steven Purcell was a respected leader of Glasgow City Council and represented his ward with great commitment, as well as leading Glasgow’s bid for the Commonwealth Games. “It is clear that he is ill and everyone in Glasgow will no doubt wish him a full recovery. This is no doubt a testing time for his family.”
BBC Scotland revealed on Thursday how psychiatrist Dr Florian Kaplick, who carried out a medical assessment of Purcell during his stay at the Castle Craig rehabilitation clinic near Peebles, said the Labour politician had not been treated for a drug problem having been admitted to the clinic on Sunday. Later that day, he was reported missing to Lothian and Borders Police, and was found after a search.
It is understood that before Purcell resigned as council leader, officials at Glasgow City Council had been planning to say his resignation was to allow him to deal with “chemical dependency” issues. But the planned statement was never released, and a spokesman for Purcell subsequently insisted the chemical dependency claims were without foundation.
Purcell’s legal team has also reported the local authority to information watchdogs over allegations that someone at Glasgow City Council breached the Data Protection Act by leaking details about Mr Purcell’s health to a newspaper.
The lawyers have also complained to the Press Complaints Commission about what they claim is the media’s “harassment of a sick man”.(BBC news)
Afternote: What a load of twaddle. Watson and Levy & McRae were evidently not at all amused that Jack Irvine (Purcell’s spokesman) had released the correct information about Purcell.
6 Mar 2010: Spectacular fall of Stephen Purcell shocks Scotland’s political world
Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel two Thursdays ago was playing host to a fundraising event for Labour and the roll-call of the party nomenclature had been taken. There were very few absentees. Labour’s hegemony remains absolute in the west of Scotland and familiar figures from business, entertainment, leisure, sport and the media were all present and correct. It should have been a relaxing occasion for Stephen Purcell, the city’s young council leader.
A youthful and single man, he thrives on these occasions and enjoys the company of those who direct the social and business life of his beloved city. In normal circumstances he would have been basking in the acclaim of a party which had come to acknowledge him as a genuine contender for future first minister and who had watched in admiration at some adroit recent manoeuvring on the national stage.
On that evening though, observers encountered him in a subdued mood and he left earlier than would normally have been expected. It was the last time most of them would see of him again for the foreseeable future. Within four days, he had resigned as council leader. Last Friday he announced that he was withdrawing from all political activity and would no longer be representing his constituents in Blairdardie in the west of the city.
The events of the 72 hours that elapsed between his departure from the Hilton and his resignation have attracted fevered speculation. Glasgow’s citizens normally need no encouragement to turn into forensic scientists, political analysts and private detectives and last week it seemed that most of them had a theory about the most spectacular downfall in modern Scottish politics. A senior political media observer told me: “I’ve heard more theories about this than on Lord Lucan’s disappearance and the kidnapping of Shergar.”
What seems clear though, is that Purcell has suffered a major breakdown. The suddenness of his collapse means that the speculation about its causes will continue for some time. He himself will not be making any comments about it. He is currently believed to be with relatives in Donegal and is not expected back in his native city any time soon.
The first ripples of the tsunami that has now engulfed Glasgow’s Labour party began to appear last Friday. Purcell abruptly cancelled two public engagements scheduled for that day at very short notice. Within hours a group of his closest council allies and advisers, who had become alarmed at his tone in telephone conversations, began to envisage a worst-case scenario. They visited him at his home in Broomhill and found their friend in a fragile and vulnerable state.
They quickly devised a damage-limitation strategy designed to leave a door open for him to resume his political career at a future date. For what was painfully clear to all of them was that he was in no fit state to operate as leader of a £10bn local authority. Crucially, they drafted a statement that would have made mention of “a chemical dependency”. They felt that a sympathetic and sophisticated electorate, already well-disposed towards this charismatic young leader, would cut him the slack to retreat from public life for a while and then hand him an opportunity to resume it in the near future.
But another group of people were equally concerned with Purcell’s state: his family. They were with him throughout last weekend and were alarmed at the prospect of him being induced to sign off a statement about his health while clearly being in a reduced state of mind and under heavy sedation. One source very close to the Purcell family said last Thursday morning: “Stephen’s brother was not happy with what the council press office was proposing and persuaded Stephen to give him power of attorney over all his affairs. He decided to seek immediate advice from the family lawyer, Peter Watson.”
It was a fateful but entirely understandable position for the family to take. The Purcells felt that the wording being proposed by the council press chiefs would immediately give rise to speculation about illegal substance abuse when, according to the same source, “the problem was that Stephen had formed a Valium dependency as he struggled to cope with the huge demands of running a local authority with a budget of £10bn”.
Watson is one of the two top media lawyers in Scotland and has close links to one of the country’s most prominent media management firms run by Jack Irvine, a former editor of the Sun in Scotland, and with a formidable track record in successfully managing bad news.
Purcell had also made an SOS call to a friend who was prominent in the Scottish business community, who also advised him to seek independent press and legal representation. Purcell’s closest council confidantes were aghast. They believed Irvine to be a Tory party supporter and had always viewed him with suspicion after he had played a prominent role 10 years ago in the campaign to keep the controversial Section 28 law that forbade discussion of homosexuality in Scottish schools. They were also understandably anxious that to have Irvine handle the media firestorm was to invite all sorts of speculation about what had contributed to the council leader’s breakdown. As one source put it: “I’m not saying we could have killed the story, but we could have disclosed it in a more orderly fashion.”
Last Monday night a handful of journalists began taking calls saying that Purcell had resigned. At a full meeting of the Labour group the following day, the resignation was formally announced. Later the same day Colin Edgar, the council’s communications chief, hosted a press conference. It was clear that Edgar, a close friend and political ally of Purcell, had slept very little in the previous 48 hours. He also announced that Purcell’s legal team had silenced the press department by threatening action against any council officers found to have commented on the medical condition of their former leader. In effect, Edgar, a highly regarded media handler, had been cut out of the loop by his old friend.
Nevertheless, reaction was universally sympathetic. Even Alex Salmond, the first minister, who had become embroiled in a bitter war of words with Purcell over the cancelling of funding for the Glasgow Airport rail link, spoke warmly of his abilities.
On the streets and in the wine bars adjacent to the city chambers the suggested reasons for Purcell’s resignation were growing ever more lurid. There was said to be video footage showing him in a compromising situation and that he had been blackmailed. Most of this though, had its origin in old-fashioned homophobia. Purcell, as a young, single, gay man, was a full participant in the Glasgow social scene. Indeed most Fridays he hosted an informal “lunch club” attended by prominent business and media figures. Among his closest circle of friends were restaurateurs, publicans, journalists and businessmen. Among the old guard on the council however, he was regarded as an over-confident gilded popinjay who had destroyed their influence and replaced them with a coterie of sharp-suited, modernising activists cast in their leader’s mould. Some were only too happy to whisper innuendo about his private life.
In the middle of the week, Purcell’s media advisers were forced to confirm that he had received treatment for a few days at Castle Craig, a private facility in the Borders specialising in drug and alcohol dependency. The following day however, they produced a letter from a psychiatrist at Castle Craig saying that Purcell was not being treated for any chemical dependency. The story was now running out of control.
The Scotsman subsequently revealed the contents of the council’s original preferred statement that talked of a chemical dependency. Watson responded with a complaint that this was a breach of the data protection act. Even before Purcell formally announced his complete withdrawal from public life his closest friends knew that his career was finished for the foreseeable future.
It was at around 5pm in the tearooms of Glasgow city chambers on Friday and a group of Purcell’s closest council colleagues had gathered to review the fallout for what one of them said was “the worst week of my political life”. Each of them revealed, in turn, what it was that had attracted them to politics and public life. “It was good to remind ourselves that the fight for social justice and against poverty goes on. And that the most important thing for Stephen Purcell is that he regains his full health.” Others though, while wishing the former leader a full recovery, nonetheless feel that the voting public needed to be given full disclosure of what led to his breakdown. (The Guardian)
After-note: Too many cooks spoil the broth. Differing opinions as to the most appropriate strategy (applicable in the extraordinary crisis) resulted in conflicting press statements which added to the confusion surrounding Purcell’s resignation. But Watson eventually took control of the matter confirming his role as Mr Fixit
8 Mar 2010: Labour’s opponents last night demanded a major investigation of disgraced Steven Purcell’s reign at Glasgow City Council.
Reports revealed Purcell had confessed to using cocaine after police warned him he was the target of a gangland blackmail plot. And the SNP claimed watchdogs should be called in to probe whether the scandal “had any impact on public policy in the city”. It was also revealed that Purcell, ended up in a river last month after walking out of a drink and drug rehab clinic. Friends fear it was a suicide attempt. Scottish Labour yesterday brutally disowned Purcell, once their party’s rising star, by insisting he was no more than a “brand” for Glasgow and took few big decisions in his five years as council leader.
But Labour’s political enemies, who were quick to give Purcell their sympathy last week, switched to the attack. Glasgow East MP John Mason of the SNP said: “The whole thing stinks. We need answers. “In relation to the visit of senior police officers to Purcell, we need to know who are the people suggested as having applied pressure to him in terms of possible blackmail threats. “And crucially, has this had any impact on public policy in the city of Glasgow? “Given the massive budgets managed by the council, there is a clear case for Audit Scotland carrying out a thorough investigation in light of the events of recent days. “The people of Glasgow, and Scotland as a whole, deserve to know the full facts.” Audit Scotland’s website says their job is “to make sure organisations that spend public money in Scotland use it properly, efficiently and effectively”.
Purcell, resigned as council leader last Tuesday, blaming “stress” and a breakdown suffered the previous weekend. He quit politics altogether last Friday and is now in hiding overseas. As Purcell was “resting and recuperating” in his bolthole, a slew of damaging revelations about his conduct emerged.
In May last year, Purcell was visited in his offices at Glasgow City Chambers by two senior officers from the elite Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. The cops warned him that he was at risk of blackmail, and said a cocaine dealer had claimed to have incriminating mobile phone footage of him which could destroy his career. Purcell told the officers he was unaware of any blackmail plot and the police considered the matter closed as far as he was concerned. After the meeting, Purcell admitted to friends that he had “dabbled” with cocaine, although he said he no longer took the drug. Soon afterwards, he moved from Glasgow’s Yoker district, where he had lived all his life, to a new flat in the more upmarket area of Broomhill. It is believed he wanted to distance himself from a drug dealer who lived in Yoker.
Purcell rented the Broomhill flat from Katrina Scott Moore, the ex-partner of his friend Brian Dempsey, a major Labour donor and former director of Celtic. The Record revealed last week that an early draft of Purcell’s resignation statement referred to “drink” and “drugs”. It was vetoed on the advice of his lawyer, Peter Watson.
Purcell booked himself into the Castle Craig rehab clinic in Peeblesshire before his resignation announcement and spent three days receiving treatment there. He went missing from the clinic on February 28 and returned soaking wet, having been in the nearby Lyne Water.
It also emerged yesterday. that Purcell’s council-issue mobile phone was disconnected after it was used to make a string of abusive calls to the help desk at providers Vodafone.
Purcell’s media advisers, hired just before he quit, have denied claims that the council had planned to cite “a chemical dependency” as the reason for his resignation. They refused to answer questions yesterday. on his whereabouts.
Another major Labour donor, multimillionaire businessman Willie Haughey, denied that he had offered Purcell the use of a home he owns in Australia. Purcell has relatives in Australia. Other reports claimed he had fled to Florida, where he spent New Year, or to Ireland, where he has family.
He earned £60k as council leader, but it’s believed his sole income now comes from two flats he owns and rents out in Yoker. He has a combined £218k mortgage on the flats. One, in Bulldale Place, was bought for £120k in 2007. The second, bought six months later for £130k, is in nearby Greenlaw Court.
Publicly, Labour politicians voiced sympathy for Purcell’s “personal tragedy”. But behind the scenes, the party were preparing to write him out of history. In a devastating attack, one senior Labour council source said Purcell “did not actually take decisions” at the City Chambers. The insider added: “There is an executive committee to take decisions. He was leader of the Labour group. “He did not run the council single-handedly. That was a media myth – one we played up to because he was a good brand for us. “There were lots of people in the council coming up with proposals and making decisions. The council is still just as capable as it was. “The council is no longer talking about former councillor Purcell. We are back to the business of running the city council.”
A spokesman for the £2.5billion-per-year council denied that the smooth running of the city was affected by Purcell’s problems. And Labour furiously rejected claims by John Mason that Purcell was prevented from standing as a by-election candidate in Glasgow East in 2008 because of fears over his health. A spokesman called the claim “baseless and false”.(Daily Record)
Afternote: The press fightback against Peter Watson coupled with the Labour Party dismissal of Purcell as a lightweight who exercised little authority in the council. But the “dogs of war” smell blood
15 Mar 2010: Purcell’s Pet Quango Faces Inquiry over [Pounds Sterling]1.5m Wages
A Construction quango created by troubled ex-council leader Steven Purcell more than doubled its wage bill for senior managers in two years, it was revealed yesterday. Glasgow City Building recruited so many senior employees that the executive wage bill rose to £1.5million last year, despite the worst construction downturn for decades. It has also emerged the arms-length Glasgow City Council body paid £2k for a table at a Labour Party fundraiser even though it is frowned upon for public bodies to make contributions to political parties. The revelations cast further doubt on the stewardship of the disgraced Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell – who privatised the council’s buildings division to create “City Building” in a blaze of publicity in 2006. (Highbeam)
After note: “What a cracker.” Purcell formed a strategy designed to bring about a massive reduction in the council’s annual expenditure. He set about achieving his aim by dismissing large numbers of staff from the council, transferring their employment to newly created private companies operating at arm’s length from the council. The companies were awarded long term service contracts with the council (appropriate to their area of speciality) guaranteeing their future. Workers rights would be protected so that their would be no detriment to their conditions of employment.
Female staff (mainly part-time) soon discovered the reality of their situation when they were denied equal pay by the new arm’s length organisation’s. The saga of the short pay lasted many years and is not yet full resolved.
Senior managers of the newly created arm’s length organisations were appointed by the council. They were each awarded commercial rate salaries (£100 – £150k) per annum together with pension rights applicable to their grade. Not that long after the change a number of senior managers retired taking huge retirement packages, which could not be justified. The press attacked council inefficiency and their reports suggested the packages amounted to fraud.
John Swinney SNP Treasurer at Holyrood moved fast, closed the loophole and brought to an end the practice of city councillors taking up employment with the arm’s length organisations. But damage had been done. A number of former councillors/senior managers retired with obscenely high lump sums and pensions. Nice one Purcell.
29 Mar 2010: The former leader of Glasgow City Council has admitted using cocaine and told of how this may have left him open to blackmail.
Purcell told The Scottish Sun newspaper that he had taken drugs a “handful” of times. He also said police warned that there could be video footage of him using drugs which might be used for blackmail. He told the newspaper he had used cocaine on several occasions after being first offered it at a party.and blamed his own “stupidity” for his decision to take the Class A drug and explained how it eventually led to a visit from police.
He told the paper: “Two officers from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency came along. “They told me that during the course of an investigation they came across information that could mean I would be subject to blackmail because of the use of cocaine. “They said there might be a video of me using cocaine and that could be used to blackmail me. “The last time I used it was a year ago, a few weeks before the police came to see me. I told close colleagues at the council about it because I think it’s important to be honest.”
Following his resignation, there were calls for Strathclyde Police and the public spending watchdog, Audit Scotland, to investigate allegations about how council contracts were awarded under Mr Purcell’s leadership. But both bodies advised last week that they would not be proceeding with any investigation.’
Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill said that while there were questions to be answered surrounding Mr Purcell’s departure, he could not launch an inquiry. “These are operational matters, whether it’s for Audit Scotland, whether its for the police,” he said. “It’s for other organisations to take steps to make sure that questions are answered and we can be satisfied in the great city of Glasgow that situation is as it should be.” The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) said it was unable to comment specifically on any contact it may have had with Mr Purcell.
Deputy Chief Constable Gordon Meldrum, director general of the organisation, said: “As we have made clear on a number of occasions over recent weeks, the SCDEA has a long-standing policy of not confirming the details of any individuals who they may have had contact with in carrying out their day-to-day work to disrupt and dismantle serious organised crime. “Serious organised crime groups also thrive on information. The less they know about the ‘who, what, where, and why’ of our approach, the less chance they have of changing their tactics to evade our grasp.” (BBC News)
After-note: Pressure was applied to responsible authorities requesting the investigation of the business affairs of Glasgow City Council, including a full financial audit responding to many rumours of financial wrongdoing.
29 Mar 2010: Steven Purcell – disgraced former leader of Glasgow council admits to using cocaine
Purcell, shocked Glasgow and his party by resigning suddenly as council leader earlier this month. His departure sparked a surge of allegations about his links to wealthy party backers and their lucrative civic contracts, and claims of a cover-up of his drugs misuse, seriously undermining Labour’s pre-general election planning and its attempts to retake the Glasgow East Westminster seat from the Scottish National party. In a desperate attempt to kill off the controversy the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown publicly praised Purcell. He advised the press that Purcell’s resignation was “a personal sadness, a tragedy” and urged voters to focus on the city’s future and its successful regeneration.
Purcell denied showing any favouritism to Labour funders in awarding council contracts, with particular reference to Willie Haughey, an influential businessman and council contractor. “I make absolutely no apology for our reputation as an administration that is business friendly,” he said. “I have never once seen a hint of corruption. Regulations are tougher than people think. Everything is audited and legal.”
Strathclyde police and the Scottish public spending authority Audit Scotland last week rejected SNP demands for an inquiry into Purcell’s conduct and council contracts, but Mason insisted the police think again. He said: “His admission not only that he used cocaine but had a very real fear that gangsters had a video of him and could blackmail him goes beyond the individual and brings in questions of propriety in the council that are of genuine concern to my constituents. Continuing concerns in the newspapers over council contracts, connections to city businessmen and now gangsters are legitimate points that should be investigated. Councillor Purcell’s resignation has simply exposed the cracks in Labour’s façade.The questions facing the Labour administration go well beyond Steven Purcell’s personal situation.”
SNP councillors submitted a motion on 1 Apr 2010 to the council asking for an independent investigation into “the practices and recent decisions of the council” It failed to win enough support. A counter amendment by the Labour dominated council backed a motion saying there was no need for an enquiry. (BBC News)
After-note: The entire Scottish system of controls closed ranks and prevented any enquiry of Glasgow City Council. A disgraceful event which succeeded only in adding to the public distrust of the Unionist party’s in Scotland. Why was Purcell not investigated in a public setting. Might be he knows too much
4 Apr 2010: Former council chief Steven Purcell’s cocaine party with dealers
Shamed council leader Steven Purcell was targeted by cocaine dealers in a pub run by Kelly Bryce, (the sister of thug security boss Jamie Bryce.) Their dad is convicted drug dealer James Bryce, once sentenced to 10 years in jail for dealing cocaine and cannabis. The late-night party with the dealer took place at Purcell’s flat weeks before the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency began a probe into the extortion threat. Officers from the agency told him he could be the target of a drug blackmail plot last May. Assistant Chief Constable Johnny Gwynne and Detective Chief Superintendent Allan Moffat, head of crime support at the agency, told him a dealer claimed to have mobile phone footage of him snorting cocaine.
Purcell’s partying with dealers in his own home emerged when a gangland source said: “Purcell walked into trouble. He was in way over his head. He invited two dealers into his flat for a party. The SCDEA were all over the dealer. He had got to know Purcell in The Boundary Bar and basically saw his potential. The dealer told the plain-clothes guys he and his mate had footage of Purcell snorting coke on a mobile. he said: “Purcell was so out of it he didn’t know what was going on. He was drunk and high.” Detectives couldn’t believe what they were hearing but the guy was able to give them chapter and verse. A Yoker local added: “It was well-known among a small group of people for months before Purcell quit.”
Jamie Bryce, was part of a gang including boxing tycoon Barry Hughes, who were convicted of assaulting a clubber with a metal pole.He was ordered to carry out 150 hours’ community service. At one time, Bryce was head of Thor Security, lived in a penthouse and drove a £100k Mercedes, (despite his firm providing protection for just one site.) He frequented The Boundary Bar). Bryce and Hughes visited Scotland’s biggest drug dealer, Jamie “The Iceman” Stevenson, in jail.
Last week, Glasgow city councillors ruled out an independent inquiry into the Purcell scandal. (Sunday Mail)
After-note: It appears convicted criminal and drug dealer, Jamie Bryce might have had Purcell in his sights. Purcell’s choices are most definitely suspect. And the Council rejected an inquiry??
3 Jul 2010: Ex gangster Paul Ferris sensationally linked to the Gay and Lesbian drop-in centre at the heart of the Steven Purcell drugs and corruption probe.
Police and council chiefs are investigating claims that Purcell helped councillor Ruth Black get £50,000 of public cash to run The Castro venue in Glasgow. Black and McDougall were good friends with Purcell and socialised with him in the months before he stood down in March this year
Paisley-born McDougall, (who is well known to police and has spent several spells on remand) is a friend of convicted gun-runner Ferris and is the step-sister of former Glasgow drug baron Stewart “Specky” Boyd, who was killed in a car crash in Spain seven years ago.
Black and McDougall, who live together, are being probed as part of a wide-ranging police investigation into Purcell. Black has already been quizzed by cops over claims that she sold “speed” – amphetamine – at Glasgow City Chambers but strenuously denies the allegations.
The police probe into Purcell is looking into allegations about both drugs and cronyism. These include claims that Purcell used undue influence to help Black win the right to run The Castro over a rival bidder. A council spokesman warned that, despite only opening in spring, the centre could be closed within days because of a series of “financial irregularities” flagged up by whistle-blowers.
Both police and the council – who are carrying out parallel inquiries – have been alerted to Ferris visiting The Castro, in the Merchant City area of Glasgow. Ferris was there twice in recent weeks, speaking to his pal Jeanie McDougall and her girlfriend councillor Ruth Black, the boss of the centre – which is now the focus of a probe into alleged financial irregularities.
A source said: “To say there are concerns about Ferris wandering in and out of a publicly-funded organisation is an understatement.” An insider at The Castro said: “Ferris passed me on the stairs one day wearing a hat and I thought to myself he looked right dodgy. The last time I saw him he came in and then Jeanie and Ruth disappeared with him into the office.”
Yesterday, Black insisted Ferris was at The Castro to speak to McDougall about setting up a charity scheme. She said: “Jeanie has been discussing setting up a project with Paul to prevent re offending. It’s something they both have a passion for. “They go back a long way – about 20 years. His visits have been to do with an organisation down south called Unlock, who Paul Ferris has spoken to.” ( Daily Record)
After-note: Is there no end to it?
13 Aug 2010: Council chiefs have handed police a dossier about a gay drop-in centre run by two pals of Steven Purcell.
Officials at Glasgow City Council, called in the police after investigating “financial irregularities” at The Castro centre. The council, who own the centre, have also begun the process of evicting its boss, councillor Ruth Black, and her lover Jeanie McDougall, who ran the venue’s Noise cafe-bar. It’s understood the council probe revealed serious problems, including tax and national insurance being taken from staff wages but not paid, and Black’s son being employed in breach of council grant rules. The centre is said to have run without proper insurance, there were reports of “irregularities” over fruit machines, and it’s believed part of a public grant was used to pay for a car. Insiders say the council hope to have Black and McDougall evicted within three weeks.
Police are already probing claims that Purcell, who quit days before it emerged he had taken cocaine, helped Black get £50,000 of public money to open the centre. Black was suspended by the Labour Party after alleged financial irregularities at The Castro first emerged. Police said an investigation was ongoing. (Daily Record)
Steven Purcell, who quit as leader of Glasgow City Council citing exhaustion, has been brought onboard by the Stewart & McKenna Foundation, which works on humanitarian projects around the world. Stephen McKenna and Allan Stewart, who state that they founded their property group in 2004, said they hoped to give Purcell a second chance after reading he wanted to become involved in charity work. McKenna said “Steven made a mistake and he understands that.I think it’s fantastic that he will be working with us. He’s said he wanted to work on Scottish projects. It will be great for our foundation, for Steven, and for Scotland.”
But Stewart & McKenna should be called the Bulloch and McKenna Foundation. Allan Stewart, a partner in housebuilders Stewart and McKenna, was banned from acting as a company director for 7 years in the 1990s and twice declared bankrupt. Born Allan Stewart Bulloch, the 53 year old rebuilt his career under a new name. He says he dropped his original surname because of a speech impediment and that there had been no attempt to mislead people. He also dropped it from the electoral roll and official records at Companies House.
In the 80s Allan Stewart (then Bulloch) was a director of Grampian Glazing which was subject to numerous court actions. In 1984, Everest Double Glazing banned it from ‘passing off’ windows and doors by using a logo with a ‘striking resemblance’ to its own. The next year two creditors served warrants on the firm to freeze it’s assets after it failed to pay for £32k of goods. In 1986 Grampian, Bulloch and his partner Graham Gracie, were sequestrated (the Scots term for bankruptcy). The firm owed 55 creditors £160k, equivalent to £350k today. Both men had to sell their homes but their creditors still lost every penny.
In 1990 both Bulloch and his wife Margaret were banned from serving as company directors after being judged “unfit to be concerned in the management of a company”. Bulloch was disqualified for seven years, his wife for five. Just two years later Bulloch was sequestrated again after problems with a new window business. If he was disqualified, how did he manage to set up another business? It would appear Mr Bulloch’s speech impediment occurred in the late 1990s when he stopped using the surname Bulloch.
In 2006 Glasgow City Council, under the leadership of Steven Purcell, agreed to pay Stewart and McKenna’s £1.7m for land for the 2014 Common Wealth Games – £350k more than the company paid for it only a year earlier. After the council backed the deal Stewart & McKenna donated £9.1k to the Labour party. According to the Electoral Commission, the pair made no donations before the land sale. After his resignation, links emerged between Purcell and a number of Labour Party donors, some of whose firms had benefited from council deals.
It has also been revealed that Purcell helped tee-up meetings between the developers’ lawyer and council chief executive George Black in 2009. He also asked senior officials to examine several of the men’s business ideas.
In January 2010 HMRC took Stewart and McKenna Ltd to court over an unpaid tax bill of £78k and the company was would up in May. There are twelve other companies still registered as active. a number of which are being investigated as part of the £600 million Ponzie scheme inquiry.
Funny how Stewart developed a speech impediment late in life, so serious as to prevent him from saying Bulloch. Fortunately it would appear he has no problem with Stewart. Aye, it’s a funny old world the West of Scotland, particularly where labour donors are concerned. (Subrosa-blonde. blogspot)
After-note: The McKenna & Stewart link is significant. They are linked to the £600million ponzie scheme still under investigation by the Scottish police fraud squad
1 Aug 2010: Stewart & McKenna firm goes bust owing £78k
A firm run by two millionaire property developers has gone bust – owing the taxman £78k. Stewart and McKenna’s empire once boasted a turnover of £134million a year. But last week insolvency experts Buchanan Roxburgh were appointed as the liquidators. The duo, whose HQ is in Cambuslang, near Glasgow, have formed more than 20 firms. In an interview in 2007, the partners claimed they had made £134million the previous year after selling 14,000 flats worldwide. (Daily Record)
After-note: Well Well Well. The chickens have come home to roost
19 Dec 2010: Shamed Purcell arranged a thank-you Christmas party for his friends and supporters at an exclusive hotel.
The disgraced politician hosted around 30 guests at the Grand Central hotel in Glasgow on Friday night. But there was no sign of the A-listers from politics and business who Purcell used to rub shoulders with before being forced to quit his job in April after being quizzed by police over his cocaine use.
One guest said: “Steven is a great host. There was plenty of drink to go around. It was a great party and everyone was very merry. It has been a tough year for him so I think he just wanted to get everyone together and wish them all a merry Christmas and thank them for their support.”
But another onlooker said: “The guest list wasn’t what Steven was once used to. “There were a few people there who would not have been allowed an appointment with him when he was in power. Never mind A-list, they wouldn’t make the Z -list.” (Daily Record)
After-note: He doesn’t work so where did the money come from and the Grand Central isn’t cheap
Twelve months have passed since Purcell’s spectacular fall from grace at Glasgow City Council. Last March, Strathclyde’s Major Crimes and Terrorism Investigation Unit said it was probing “allegations of drug taking” and “other matters” concerning 38-year-old Purcell, thought to centre on the awarding of contracts from the council’s £2.4billion budget. However, the inquiry is still said to be “ongoing” with no likelihood of any imminent charges, prompting suggestions last night that Labour officials were obstructing the investigation. Some high-placed sources have said they believe the shamed councillor still holds a web of influence across Glasgow. At the time, his connections took in almost every area of the council, which had close links with a number of prominent business leaders.The fall-out surrounding his sudden resignation, however, only led to more questions and allegations of links to gangland figures in the Glasgow underworld.
Purcell went on to spend time in Australia and Ireland, and on his return set up the company Twenty Ten Consultancy and secured a post with the charity Stewart & McKenna Foundation run by two Labour-supporting developers. A council insider told the Scottish Sunday Express: “He’s now toxic in the corridors of power and council members have been warned about associating with him.” Strathclyde Police yesterday said their inquiry is “ongoing”. A spokeswoman added: “There are no reports that anybody has been charged.” (The Express)
After-note: It is evident that his friends in high places are determined to protect him from prosecution. But things might change over time as the electorate pressures politicians and the press for answers. But, at this time his digit finger is well extended to all asunder.
23 Sep 2011: Cocaine shame ex-council boss Steven Purcell is ‘Happy as Larry’ as corruption police complete probe into his dealings
Shamed politician Steven Purcell has adopted the catchphrase “Happy as Larry” – despite possible corruption charges. Cops yesterday confirmed they have completed a probe into Purcell’s time as leader of Glasgow City Council. A police dossier on Purcell and his cronies has been submitted to the procurator-fiscal to decide whether charges are brought over allegations of corruption and links with gangsters.
It is rumoured he is responsible for a behind-the-scenes battle between factions in Glasgow’s ruling Labour group, who are at risk of being ousted by the SNP in next year’s council elections. And, despite having no permanent job, he has left his working class heartland of Yoker for a swanky city centre pad and is frequently seen boozing and partying in the trendy Merchant City with several councillors who remain loyal to him.His Facebook page confirms his lifestyle showing snaps of him in pubs and on foreign holidays, including Las Vegas. (Daily Record)
After-note: Purcell appears to be coated in Teflon. The police have done their job but the Fiscal has yet to decide if the case is to be brought before the courts. Delay is the most invidious form of denial
In yet another example of the disgraceful way Glasgow City Council operates, we see Labour Councillors paying off their chums from regeneration budgets while those they have displaced or evicted are ignored. Ronnie Saez, a close friend of Frank McAveety, (Labour MSP, and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Glasgow East Regeneration Agency), had been made redundant with a £500k settlement approved by City Councillors Catherine McMaster, George Redmond and James Coleman.
That’s the George Redmond who told housewife Margaret Jaconelli and her family to ‘take it on the chin’ when she was brutally evicted from her home (she has not yet received compensation.) so developers could profit from the Athlete’s Village. And it is the James Coleman who promised users and carers of “The Accord Centre” a brand new purpose built facility, as a legacy of Glasgow 2014 … but then somehow the £200k they were promised isn’t there any-more. Budget cuts, apparently. Fortunately for Ronnie, budget cuts don’t apply to friends, so he’s sitting pretty.
And there’s more, there are other friends of City Councillors who have been cared for:
Graham Duffy, (the failed businessman who attempted to take over Rangers Football Club back in 2009) owned Grantly Developments (Parkhead) who had been holding onto derelict land on Millerfield Road in Dalmarnock since 1988. But when the area was named as the site for the Athlete’s Village, Duffy brokered a £5.5 million deal with the Council for the land – a staggering 12,000% increase in the land value since it’s original purchase.
Allan Stewart and Steve McKenna, Labour party donors, (who operated a number of building companies, one of which went bust in 2010 owing the Inland Revenue, their suppliers and clients a massive tax bill) bought property in Dalmarnock in 2006 for £1.6 million, (just over the road from Mrs Jaconelli and her family.) When the Athlete’s Village was announced for the site, the Council paid them £1 for the land, plus a £1.7m amount and ‘gifted’ them another valuable parcel of land around the corner. Oh, and Steven Purcell took a position on their charity foundation, too.
Another deal saw former Rangers owner David Murray’s company paid £5.1m for land it bought for £375,000 a few years before.
Charles Price, (owner of Springfield Properties No. 1 Ltd) bought property along Springfield Road in 2005-2006 for an amount believed to be around £8million, and then sold it back to the Council for £17million in 2008. Council’s payment represented a 409% increase in the value of the land since Price’s 2005 purchase.
Some of these deals, plus others, are now being investigated by Strathclyde Police as reported by the BBC.
the Jaconelli family and local shop owners were forced out of their properties through the brutal use of (CPO’s) Compulsory Purchase Orders. But the draconian powers, (put in place by government to protect the public purse), were designed to be used only as a last resort after all attempts at finding a solution, including arbitration had been exhausted which was not the case. Disgraceful in the light of other property business conducted by the Council. (Gamesmonitor2014)
After-note: Ronnie Saez, getting £500k (from a charity) is a disgraceful use of Charitable funds and the sum does not include his pension arrangements. The land deals must be classified as incompetence or fraud. The forced removal of house/shop owners from their properties applying an extremely low settlement offer is an abuse of power.
20 Jan 2012: No action is to be taken against Steven Purcell
The Crown Office has confirmed that proceedings will not be brought against ex Council Leader Purcell or councillor Ruth Black. Prosecutors said there was “insufficient evidence” of criminality and “no further action is currently appropriate”.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “Strathclyde Police have fully investigated allegations made against Steven Purcell and Ruth Black. “The results of these investigations have been made available to Crown Counsel. “Crown Counsel agree with the conclusion reached by Strathclyde Police, that there is insufficient evidence of criminality at this time and that no further action is currently appropriate.”(BBC News)
After-note: Surely this is not the end. Note the use of the phrase “insufficient evidence of criminality at this time”
Feb 2012: Lorne Hotel Fraud
A curry entrepreneur has been accused of stealing £1.46million of taxpayers’ cash after the £7.3million sale of his upmarket hotel and restaurant. Archie Sharif, 43, sold the Lorne Hotel and Bukharah restaurant in Glasgow after his business hit the rocks.But instead of handing over £1.46million in VAT from the sale, he is accused of transferring the cash to a bank in Pakistan. HM Revenue & Customs foiled the alleged fraud days after Sharif travelled to Karachi to try to access the money. Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland then took Sharif to the Court of Session where the judge agreed to freeze the businessman’s assets under proceeds of crime laws. One source said: “Glasgow criminals have been at the epicentre of the VAT fraud crimewave which has cost the UK economy billions of pounds. “It makes a welcome change if the taxman has managed to prevent one from taking place.”
Pakistan-born Sharif bought the A-listed Lorne hotel in Glasgow’s west end in 2007 after it had lain derelict for six years.Bankrolled with £11million from private investors and the Royal Bank of Scotland, he turned it into an upmarket 102-bedroom hotel, Indian restaurant and cocktail bar.At the time, he said: “This is the biggest thing I’ve taken on but I am proud to own this hotel and I want to restore it to its former glory.” Two years ago, he admitted trading conditions were tough but saw the Bukharah named restaurant of the year at the Scottish Curry Awards.Just three months later, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed.
Sharif later sold the building for £7.3million to Bellshill Ltd, whose director is well-known curry restaurateur Sohan Singh.Singh, has been chosen by Labour as a possible candidate in local elections later this year. He was jailed along with drug dealer Craig McAteer, and another man in 1999 for a £1.6million duty-free tax fraud but Singh’s conviction was overturned on appeal.
The Lorne Hotel and the adjoining restaurant has become a favourite haunt of north Glasgow crime clan head Jamie Daniel and his mob. It was also where the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council Stephen Purcell, held a party last week. The meal was staged to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute Purcell over alleged corruption and drug use. But Purcell spent the night of the party in a police cell following his arrest after a disturbance at his flat.
Afternote: Purcell rises from his slumber. What company he keeps. Singh is well versed in property deals and other business. I posted an article covering his activities. Well worth a read. The established link between Justin McAlroy, McAteer and Singh is of significance
Singh, was jailed for six years after being convicted of dodging £1.6 million of tax due on lorry-loads of booze in one ten-week period. The sentence was overturned on a technicality and he spent just 10 months in jail after being convicted along with James Sanderson, who got three years, and Craig McAteer, who got two and a half. They stood trial in 1999 after undercover Customs officers claimed they sold 16 lorry-loads of whisky – meant to be sent abroad duty-free – on the British black market. Customs claimed the staggering haul was enough to give every adult in Scotland two duty-free drinks.
More than 2500 cases of spirits were seized to add to 4400 cases that had been impounded. Officers also found documents showing that at least 15 lorry-loads traced to Scotland had gone overseas. A dozen export forms had false foreign stamps.During his trial, it was revealed that Singh had been a target for some kind of vengeance over a deal which went wrong. In July 1998, while he was on bail, three hooded men walked into his office and systematically clubbed him with baseball bats, breaking both of his legs.
The judge Lord Phillip told Singh: ‘You were in control in Scotland of a carefully-planned and efficiently-run operation designed to defraud the state and you were making huge profits.’ In 2000, Singh was released and when it eventually came to court, in June last year, the Crown told the court that they would not be resisting the appeals. Singh and McAteer walked free.
McAteer, one of Singh’s alleged lieutenants, was the best friend of murdered drug dealer Justin McAlroy, who was shot dead after attending a Labour Party fundraiser at his dad’s club.William ‘Tiler’ Gage was convicted of McAlroy’s execution last year but the man alleged to have paid for the hit has never been caught.
Full report on Councillor Singh here: https://caltonjock.com/2016/03/05/corruption-graft-nepotism-glasgow-controlled-by-the-labour-party/
24 Jun 2012: ” Russell Findlay’s searing new book “Caught In The Crossfire lifts the lid on the bitter Glasgow gangland war
Following the death from cancer of his eight-year-old son Garry in 1991, Eddie Lyons was handed the keys to a derelict, council-owned community centre in Milton, which was renamed Chirnsyde Community Initiative. This provided him with a platform to grandstand about drugs ahead of the 1999 election for the first Scottish Parliament. His brass-necked appearance saw him air his views on the evening news apparently confident his true business would never be exposed. His confidence had been bolstered after years of building his respectable community-minded image and duping the police, council officials and politicians into backing his claims to legitimacy. His community centre had been built on taxpayers’ cash and official approval and he believed himself untouchable. He cultivated the support of Strathclyde Police, the Labour Party and Glasgow City Council and he was confident of their backing. And, despite the repeated warnings of campaigners, who were dismissed as “bampots” by officials, backing remained constant until the spiralling violence and crime linked to Lyons and his community centre could no longer be ignored.
Before long, Chirnsyde – Eddie’s Club, as it was known locally – became synonymous with drug dealing and violence as his teenage sons Eddie Jr, Steven and their cronies formed the Club Boys gang. Mums and dads looking for somewhere for their children to play sport and meet friends in safety were appalled that a man like Lyons was being given such official sanction. How, they asked, could a crime clan boss be held up by the police, politicians and council as a role model for children? Incredibly, £1.4million of taxpayers’ money ended up being channelled into Lyons’ den but the money was never properly accounted for.
One resident who demanded answers was dad-of-nine Johnny McLean. He was incensed at a council edict that all local primary school pupils should attend PE lessons at Chirnsyde. McLean was joined by a small but determined group of other brave parents who made a stand. The Lyons responded with petrol bombs and death threats. The authorities responded with bullying tactics and smears. The catalyst for the residents’ campaign was the attempted murder of dad Thomas McDonnell, whose sons had suffered a terror campaign at the hands of the Club Boys. When McDonnell went to Chirnsyde to plead with Lyons to end the violence, he was stabbed by a mob while Lyons himself allegedly shouted “Get the b******!”
Even the investigating CID team raised concerns about Lyons’ police connections. Witness intimidation came after the arrest of Lyons, his two sons Eddie Jr and Steven, brother Johnny and two Club Boys for McDonnell’s attempted murder. Eventually, all the Lyons walked free while just one Club Boy was convicted for the attack on McDonnell, whose family’s pleas for help to the police and Crown Office fell on deaf ears. Their suffering at the hands of the Lyons was matched by the official indifference and incompetence endured by the Milton campaigners.
The council director in charge of Chirnsyde was then First Minister Jack McConnell’s wife Bridget, who refused to take action. Inexplicably, the council did not demand to see enhanced Disclosure Scotland checks into Lyons’ background as a condition for funding. But the residents continued to write thousands of letters in which they raised the awkward but unanswered questions about Lyons, Chirnsyde and children’s safety.
In 2003, the Sunday Mail exposed Lyons under the headline “Would you let this man look after your children?” But still he was allowed to continue and Labour’s refusal to back down handed a council by-election victory to the SNP’s Billy McAllister who vowed that, if elected, he would fight to clear out Chirnsyde and return it to the community.
Meanwhile, Lyons was nurturing big ambitions for his Club Boys as he planned to take on established city mobsters to control the drugs trade. A major organised crime family headed by Jamie Daniel already controlled tracts of the north Glasgow drugs trade and they regarded the Club Boys with derision. The young Daniel gang, including Daniel’s son-in-law Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll, did not take kindly when a stash of their cocaine was stolen and sold on by the Club Boys. The theft sparked 10 years of tit- for-tat violence between the Lyons and Daniels. What began as a dirty fight over control of a multi-million-pound trade in pills and powders soon became personal.
Carroll made several strikes against the Club Boys, who were forced to shop for body armour and retreat from Milton. And the out-of-control gangster (later shot dead in an Asda car park) sparked revulsion when he toppled the gravestone of little Garry Lyons. But self-styled community leader Lyons still clung on to Chirnsyde. Only when the Daniel mob sent two hit-men to commit a triple shooting at the Lyons-owned Applerow garage were the council forced to act. The bloodbath, which claimed the life of 21-year-old Michael Lyons, finally saw Lyons evicted from Chirnsyde. After six years, the Milton campaigners were exonerated and hailed for their bravery in a Scottish Parliament debate.
As Glasgow City Council tried to justify their inexplicable refusal to move against Lyons, leisure director Bridget McConnell’s allies pointed the finger at an unnamed “senior councillor” for opposing attempts to evict the gang boss. That councillor was later revealed as Steven Purcell, the then council leader, who resigned after admitting taking cocaine. The revelation that he protected Lyons at Chirnsyde should spark fresh concerns that a man in control of a £2billion-a-year budget could have been compromised by serious and organised criminals.
A self-styled community leader and busy-body, Eddie Lyons was a Mr Fix-It with his fingers in many pies. His was skilled at picking up snippets of information and his pirate video rental sideline gave him perfect cover as he kept his ear to the ground. Lyons spoke to police constable John Cameron so often that he was nicknamed The Special Constable.
Drinkers in Milton pubs would balance an empty pint glass on their head to deliver a mocking impression of Lyons by pretending it was a police blue light and many are certain that he was a registered police informant. Whatever the roots of the special relationship between Lyons and the police, it would have been unremarkable were it not for what followed his son’s funeral when there was a reservoir of sympathy for him. That was when Lyons took his first step towards legitimacy (with the backing of Strathclyde Police and funded by taxpayers’ cash.) He was given the keys to Chirnsyde. Maryhill MSP Patricia Ferguson knows the importance of being seen to be tough on crime (and getting her picture in papers.) That was why she pounded the streets for three hours one evening with PC John Cameron (the chairman of Lyons’ community centre.) Their first port of call was Chirnsyde. Not only did Lyons have Cameron as chairman and Councillor Ellen Hurcombe as a staunch defender but now the area’s new Labour MSP had given her seal of approval.
Ferguson later wrote a friendly letter to Lyons addressed “Dear Eddie”. Meanwhile, PC Cameron and other community officers were using a room at Chirnsyde as a base. As the Lyons crime family’s drugs laid waste to the local community, police were using the gang headquarters as an unofficial office. In the cold glow of the moon, the name of Garry Lyons was etched on the black headstone along with the inscription: “To the wee tough guy. Love you forever.” It was where he had rested in peace for 15 years. In the darkness, Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll and two other men looped a rope attached to their four-wheel-drive’s tow bar, over the large headstone. The vehicle’s engine revved, the rope went taut and the stone crashed down as the surrounding grass at Cadder Cemetery in Bishopbriggs was churned to mud. It was the early hours of November 6, 2006. The next morning, the Lyons family were due to visit the grave on what would have been Garry’s 23rd birthday. It was a desecration (and a very public declaration of the war that had been fought on the streets of north Glasgow for four years.)
Since 2002, the Daniel clan (led by mob boss Jamie) had attempted to drive the Lyons out of business as they muscled in on the street drugs trade. There had been car chases when the Lyons’ cars were rammed in high-speed pursuits through residential streets. On at least one occasion, Eddie Sr was targeted for bumper-to-bumper contact as he drove the Chirnsyde minibus. On January 12, 2003, Carroll was gunned down outside his mother’s home in Mingulay Street, Milton. He was the first shooting victim in the drugs war. He was 22 and lived in Drumchapel, on the western edge of Glasgow. On the day of the shooting, he had left his mum’s house with his Staffordshire bull terrier. As he put the dog into his friend’s car, a gunman sprang from the garden and chased after him before blasting him twice in the leg with a sawn-off shotgun. Carroll refused to co-operate with detectives probing the shooting. Nonetheless, inquiries led to the arrest of an 18-year-old suspect, Stephen Burgess. During Burgess’s trial, which quickly collapsed, Carroll told the High Court in Glasgow: “I was lying on the ground and the gunman was standing over me. “He ran away when my mum came running out. “My leg was hanging off. It must have been mistaken identity.”
Just 11 days later, Eddie Lyons’s brother Johnny was gunned down outside his home in Stornoway Street, a stone’s throw from Mingulay Street. two gunmen (one of them Carroll) pounced just as Johnny approached his house. Bizarrely, Johnny spoke to the press, even posing for photographs showing his wounds and the damage to his front door. Johnny said: “I’m not the nicest guy ever to walk the streets but my criminal days are behind me. “The wallet in my back pocket caught around 40 pellets and the doctors think that may have saved me.” It was thought that his brother, having enjoyed good publicity as the face of Chirnsyde, had urged Johnny to go public in a bid to dampen interest in his supposedly community-minded family.
Despite the increasing reports of crime and violence linked to the Lyons, Eddie was still allowed to run his community centre with the tacit approval of the elected representatives. Taxpayers funding his crime clan’s headquarters didn’t have a say in it. And so the chases, stabbings and shootings continued, until Carroll’s graveyard atrocity. He had crossed a line but was still not satisfied. Two days later, at 6.30pm on November 8, he struck again. A dealer in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, owed the Lyons money and Eddie Jr and another Club Boy were going to collect. The pair, both wearing body armour, drove slowly into the town’s Myers Court where the debtor lived. As Lyons stepped from his black BMW X5, Carroll popped up from behind a row of wheelie bins and dashed towards the car, gun drawn. Lyons tried to jump into the car but it started to roll forwards before he was inside, causing him minor injuries. His henchman was hit with at least one round but survived.
The Lyons, like many in gangland Glasgow, realised Carroll was veering out of control and, if they did not do something about him, he would eventually kill one of them. Eight days later Carroll and Ross Sherlock, 25, drove into Clelland Avenue, a residential street in Bishopbriggs, for a meeting with Craig “Rob Roy” Gallagher. At around 9.55pm, two cars which had been circling nearby swung into the street. A gunman emerged from one of the vehicles and started firing. Residents reported the sound of at least four shots in rapid succession. The target was Carroll, who suffered serious injuries as he was blasted in the stomach from close range. Sherlock was hit in the legs. Yet again, the police knew everything but could prove nothing. Carroll would be shot again and the final assault on his life would not fail. His death in a hail of 13 bullets after he was lured to an ambush at an Asda superstore in January 2010 shocked Scotland. But a massive investigation ended in tatters as the only man charged over Carroll’s murder walked free. The Daniels once laughed at the Lyons but after 10 years of stabbings and shootings, they were not laughing now.
It was December 6, 2006, and hitmen Raymond Anderson and James McDonald had been busy Christmas shopping. Two pistols with ammo, acquired via their Daniel paymasters from soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Unregistered, pay-as-you-go mobile phones from St Enoch shopping mall in Glasgow. And two “old man” masks and wigs from Tam Shepherd’s famous joke shop in Queen Street. Kevin Carroll had just got out of hospital after taking a bullet from the Lyons. He was not fit to wreak revenge. So he contracted the job.
The Lyons gang (and brutal ally Robert Pickett) had been crowing since the shooting of Carroll in Bishopbriggs. They often met on the forecourt of Applerow Motors, an MOT station run by Eddie’s brother David Lyons in Lambhill. Anderson and McDonald were driving on the M8 towards the garage when they received a call from Anderson’s son, also Raymond, at 2.10pm. The hit was on. At 2.12 pm, Anderson and McDonald pulled up at Applerow. Wearing long, dark trench coats, the hitmen ( later jailed for 35 years) slid on their masks and pulled their guns. Michael Lyons Jr ( a nephew of Eddie Sr) was at the garage to fill the water tank for his mobile car wash business.
It was a typical day in the busy MOT station, tinny music blared from a radio over the clatter of metal and shouted banter. David saw the gunmen first and shouted a warning to his family members. Michael Jr began to run but a British Army bullet cut him down in mid flight, killing him instantly. David ran towards his nephew but quickly realised that, unless he wanted to be next, he should take cover. Moments before the gunmen had walked in, Steven Lyons and Robert Pickett had driven into the small yard in a Ford Focus. They (not Michael Jr) were the real targets. Just as David shouted his warning, Steven had glanced in the Ford’s rear-view mirror and seen the two men (their faces hidden by the grotesque latex masks) walking quickly towards the back of the stationary car. Steven brought his foot down hard on the accelerator as a shot blew out the Ford’s back window. In the confines of the yard, he had nowhere to go. He scrambled from the vehicle and attempted to seek refuge inside the garage but one of the gunmen picked him off with a round as he ran for cover. By 2.15 pm, it was over. But the drugs war, waged by Jamie Daniel in the 1990s would come back to haunt him more than a decade later.
Daniel had become the enemy of a criminal gang led by Stewart “Specky” Boyd which included Robert “Piggy” Pickett, George “Goofy” Docherty and Stewart Gillespie. Boyd’s gang was linked to FCB Enterprise (Security) Ltd, a firm set up with almost £200,000 of taxpayers’ money. They were feuding with the Paisley-based Rennie crime clan. In November 1995, three Rennie brothers received a visit from Gillespie, Pickett and Docherty and a bloodbath ensued. The violence escalated until six months later when Gillespie shot Mark Rennie dead. Gillespie, was jailed for the murder while Pickett and Docherty, were each convicted for earlier attacks on the three brothers. Daniel’s name was never publicly linked to the attacks but he had close links with many of those involved and was suspected of providing guns to the warring factions. As the Daniels waged a battle for control of the drugs trade in Milton, ghosts from Paisley came back to haunt Jamie when Pickett and Docherty formed a deadly alliance with the Lyons. The Lyons well understood the saying: “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Full story here: (Russell Findlay- “Caught In The Crossfire”
After-note: Purcell’s power over other Councillors was absolute throughout his tenure and it appears not to have dissipated over time. Police investigations must have been extensive but the absence of definitive proof of unlawful activity makes their task impossible.
12 Jul 2013: Anger as Purcell legacy City Parking hits negative equity
Glasgow’s City Parking (wholly owned by the council) is now sitting in negative equity. The firm today admitted its car parks are worth half as much as the loan it took out to buy them. The arm’s length external organisation, or ALEO, has been in the red under the weight of its mortgage ever since it was created by former city leader Steven Purcell in 2007. A recent revaluation revealed that it could not sell off the car parks (including major city centre assets) such as the parking facilities at Cambridge Street and Concert Square, to pay off the loan. The City Parking property portfolio was initially valued at £36million. It is now worth £16million reflecting an industry wide drop in all car park values as the recession scared shoppers away.
A council spokesman explained that the value of car parks across the UK had been downgraded significantly over the last five years. City Parking is not immune to that and is effectively facing a negative equity situation. He went on to offer that: “As many people who have experienced this domestically will understand; it only really has an impact if you intend to sell the property. It has no cash effect on the business, which reported an operating surplus at year end, or the council.”
However, the very fact City Parking has plunged so deeply into negative equity raises questions about how its car parks came to be valued so highly. Glasgow City Council “sold” the car parks and other properties to City Parking. The city then took a capital receipt from the transaction and left its AlEO to make payments on the loan, which is on what one insider called “sweet terms you would never get today”.
However, the deal, one of several similar schemes orchestrated under Mr Purcell, went down just as the bottom fell out of the financial markets and the economy shrank. In a market downturn, City Parking, which is also responsible for issuing parking fines, wasn’t able to cover the loan repayments from its operating profits and finished its first five years in the red. As a result, the council has had to bail out City Parking several times since it was created, including providing guarantees for an overdraft.
City Parking made a loss of £1.03million in 2011-12, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Full official figures are not available for 2012-13 but council sources said City Parking made an operating surplus of £241k in the last financial year.
Trade unions have previously called for City Property to be brought back in to direct council control. Other insiders have suggested the business could be taken over by, “City Property” another ALEO. However, negative equity, sources said, would make either option an expensive proposition. (Evening Times)
After-note: Another financial disaster inherited from Purcell’s stewardship of the Council. City Parking has been bailed out of a number of financial predicaments over the short time it has been in existence management must shoulder the responsibility but the culprits are well retired now.