Boozy surveyors sacked from repairs probe team

TWO surveyors brought in to help solve the property repairs scandal have been removed from their posts after allegedly visiting council offices following a night of drinking.

The pair, who were part of an independent resolution team drafted in to deal with hundreds of residents’ complaints, are understood to have returned to the property conservation department last Wednesday night.

Their actions in the office led council bosses to request that Thomson Bethune, the property consultants hired to provide the surveyors, remove them from their posts.

The head of the resolution team, Wayne Kelly, was one of the two involved in the incident. He was in charge of a £300,000 team of six surveyors tasked with trawling through more than 870 complaints into the property repairs scandal.

Sources said the head of resolution and another surveyor had been acting “inappropriately” after returning to the property conservation department following a night of drinking.

It is understood that internal disciplinary action is being considered by Thomson Bethune, who were drafted in following the decision to set up the resolution team last October.

Both Thomson Bethune and Wayne Kelly were unavailable for comment.

A council spokesman said: “As of last week, two staff working on the property conservation department have left the project.”

Mr Kelly had been described as “one of the good guys” and “having his head screwed on” by fellow surveyors.

The latest controversy comes as the Evening News can reveal that a seventh employee of the property has been sacked as the widespread investigation into the scandal continues. To date, four employees from property care and three from property conservation have lost their jobs.

The manager of the property conservation department, Brian Sibbald, resigned in March on a full pension pot.

Taxpayers are facing a bill of more than £30 million which was paid out to contractors for statutory notice work over the past five years. The multi-million pound black hole has built up as cash has been paid to contractors, but bills have not been sent to homeowners. Many homeowners are refusing to pay statutory notice bills that have been issued until they learn whether or not the work was completed as proposed and at the correct price.

A £1.5m report by auditor Deloitte was submitted to the council two and half weeks ago, but to date only council group leaders have been granted access to the “heavily redacted” findings. A separate investigation by the police is also nearing its conclusion.