The row over Barnet Council’s ludicrous decision to defy CommunitiesSecretary Eric Pickles and ban bloggers and film makers from covering their cuts meeting has taken an extraordinary twist.
In order to enforce the ban the Tory council used MetPro Rapid Response – the council’s main private security contractors – to stop some residents and bloggers from entering the public gallery to see the council vote through cuts.
See footage on Broken Barnet website here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ3CsC7wrNg
Full story on Broken Barnet website. Link is http://bitly.com/i13ngn Mrs Angry also reveals that the company may have done covert filming of residents and may be monitoring Barnet bloggers and this blog. The council says it is ” not aware” of any blog monitoring.
The company has received £275,889 for work from the council taxpayer according to Barnet’s documents released on the Openlylocal website. See http://bit.ly/eitGCW
It has also received glowing tributes from the council. On MetPro’s website they quote Barnet Council as saying: ” MetPro has removed all of our safety worries at work thanks to their rapid response officers here in our building.”
But now the company has just gone bust and is being run by a Liquidator, Mike Solomons, who according to the law firm handling the liquidation, Beavis Morgan, has put Barnet’s security staff contract up for sale.
Closer investigation of the MetPro has revealed some extraordinary facts. Its two directors, Kevin Sharkey and Luigi Anthony Mansi appear to have run a string of companies which have gone bust before.
The address of the firm until recently was a rented multi million pound mansion in Totteridge Lane, Barnet owned by the brothers Cyril and Edward Frey, aged 86 and 89, and a former lawyer from Finer and Company predecessor of Finers, Stephens, Innocent ( the firm defending the Wikileaks founder). The Land Registry entry confirms that the three owners can be contacted through them, though the law firm which handles multi million pound estates, says it does not manage the property.
Contrary to the glowing references from Barnet, its staff have received libellous comments on a security officers chat site. They are not surprisingly hardly popular with a string of Barnet bloggers.
All this suggests that Barnet Council may have more to answer than banning bloggers – and some explanation is required about what is going on and how this firm got the contract in the first place.
A Council spokesperson said: “Barnet Council is urgently reviewing MetPro Rapid Response’s position and will be liaising with the liquidators involved.”