The story starts...
A former senior manager at Ken Livingstone’s London Development Agency has dramatically broken her silence to reveal what she describes as demands for hush money, political interference and financial irregularity that dogged one of the Mayor’s flagship programmes. Brenda Stern, programme manager for the LDA’s Diversity Works initiative, was forced out of her £75,000 job after resisting attempts to funnel £250,000 in LDA money to a personal friend of the Mayor’s senior aide, Lee Jasper, despite a record of deceit and non-delivery. Leaked emails show that the final decision on Ms Stern’s fate was taken not by anyone in the LDA – but by Mr Jasper himself. The supposed reason for Ms Stern’s dismissal was later admitted by the LDA chief executive, Manny Lewis, to be “not founded.” Today Ms Stern says key procedures to protect public money were not followed, “constant interference” by Mr Jasper derailed the programme and the LDA was pressured to pay “hush money” to prevent the details of the scandal being exposed. Ms Stern decided to speak out after the Mayor claimed the Standard’s story last week revealing the scandal of a company called Diversity International, part of Diversity Works, was “entirely false,” “dirty,” and “mendacious” and called for the reporter responsible to be sacked. She said: “I ran the programme and the contract described in the
Standard story last week. I can confirm that everything the Standard reported about that programme and that contract was correct. “I cannot understand why the Mayor is denying the truth. Either he is lying to us or he is himself being lied to.
Read the full story HERE. Guido has analysed the implications HERE.
UPDATE: The First Post reports that Livingstone & Jasper are to sue the Evening Standard.