MARKET FARCES: COUNCIL BOSS DEATH RIDDLE AS BRISTOL MARKETS SCANDAL TURNS TOXIC

EXPOSED IN THE PRESS. ABANDONED BY HIS OWN BOSSES. WAS THE TRUTH FINALLY CATCHING UP?

TONY HARVEY, the manager at the heart of a botched effort to cover up a major financial scandal in Bristol City Council’s crisis-hit Markets Service, has KILLED HIMSELF.The Markets File

It’s understood that Harvey took his own life in January soon after being told by bosses he was formally under investigation for his financial management practices.

Harvey was not just responsible for the Markets mess, which has been regularly covered in The BRISTOLIAN over the past year. He was also responsible for the council’s security services, which also hit our front page when significant sums of money from its cash-in-transit service went walkabout on Harvey’s watch.

Since Harvey’s tragic death, The BRISTOLIAN has been handed a large and very detailed file of documents about events of the past few years at the council’s Markets Service and we will be publishing substantial amounts of this.

These include a copy of an investigation report by the council’s Internal Audit service into Markets, dated November 2012.

This DEMOLISHES claims by Mayor George Ferguson and Cabinet Member Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty – understood to have been based on advice given to them by Harvey and his boss Robert ‘Spunkface’ Orrett – that there was no evidence of any financial wrongdoing in the Markets Service was, at best, hugely misleading and at worst, an OUTRIGHT LIE designed to fool senior politicians and the public in Bristol alike.

The BRISTOLIAN has also obtained correspondence to the authority’s then-monitoring officer, Stephen McNamara. A letter dated July 2012 very clearly warns that if Harvey was allowed by bosses to continue to victimise whistleblowers – through his madcap plan to remove them from their jobs in order to hide his own role in the financial mismanagement of the markets – then this would be PUBLICLY EXPOSED.

This letter was copied to other senior managers as well as senior councillors – including Geoff Gollop, who now runs the city’s finances, Mark Weston (Audit Committee Chair) and Mark Brain (Chair of the Resources Committee).

It appears they collectively took a gamble to risk public exposure of the facts and let Harvey continue both to victimise whistleblowers and ineptly cover it up. In retrospect, this looks like a very reckless decision indeed.

And it may prove to have put blood on their hands.

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