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If you have followed BiB for more than just a few months you should be familiar with
the mysterious case of Councillor Maxine Fothergill.
She was hauled before Bexley’s Code of Conduct Committee last December and by the end of the month stories were circulating about defrauding an old lady. It was an exaggeration but nevertheless looked like it might be Bexley’s next big scandal. Questions were asked and Bexley Council went into total lock down mode.
Despite their best efforts, or maybe because of them, by the beginning of February Bexley’s story began to unravel. The more one learned the more the case against Councillor Fothergill looked like a malicious perversion of justice. There hadn’t even been a complaint. It had to be a stitch up and BiB began to reflect that view.
Bexley Council's continued evasion accentuated the suspicions that they were up to their usual tricks and by the beginning of this month it seemed appropriate to prefix a statement to each relevant blog to explain what was believed to be the true situation. Maxine Fothergill was the victim not the villain.
But why? What had she done to upset the small coterie of corrupt Councillors that blight Bexley Council?
My email filing system is not perfect as those who never get replies will have guessed and a week ago I tried to introduce some order into a big pile of anonymous messages. It really was a lucky chance but I stumbled across one which provided a lot of detail about a big disagreement between Maxine Fothergill and Council Leader Teresa O’Neill.
One was determined to condone criminal activity, the other one wasn’t, which risked embarrassing bad publicity.
I didn’t use that email which is why I forgot about it. One has to be wary of unsubstantiated stories from the political inner circle, someone might be setting me up for another Harassment charge or worse.
But that anonymous old email, and others I subsequently found, further confirmed my suspicions. They were the missing link that provided a motive for an unwarranted attack on Councillor Fothergill. I had already described the charge against Maxine as “manufactured”, now I was practically certain it was. Trumped up by someone well versed in the art of revenge. Who could that possibly be?
I am embarrassed to say I was initially duped by a thoroughly dishonest Council and the removal of some paragraphs may go some way to make amends. I should have smelled a rat when I was told that Cabinet Member Philip Read was the source of some useful, as I believed it was at the time, information.
There is more to this case than may be safely said at the moment but what can be said without fear of contradiction is that the leadership of Bexley Council is more dishonest than you would ever believe.