Councillors are calling in the legal troops as a war of words breaks out in Tower Hamlets Town Hall over alleged payments to a senior council official.
The dispute arose after some media outlets published a story about a pay-out to Aman Dalvi, the Director for Urban Development and Renewal, who acted as temporary chief executive for a period in late 2011 and early 2012.
Dalvi failed to be appointed to the permanent job of chief executive and returned to his former position. He subsequently took the authority to an employment tribunal, alleging, it is believed, discrimination. The action was later withdrawn. The council is alleged to have made a six figure pay-out to Dalvi by way of compensation.
Labour party councillors and the Mayor’s office are now firing accusations back and forth surrounding the amount of money paid to Dalvi and the circumstances under which it was paid.
Both sides are in talks with lawyers about allegedly defamatory statements made by the other.
In a statement, the Council press office said: “Information has been published in some media outlets relating to Mr Aman Dalvi an employee of the Council. The details published are not accurate. In particular and by example only, there is the suggestion that Mr Dalvi was paid £2,500 per day as an interim chief executive which is incorrect. Continued publication of the alleged figure earned by Mr Dalvi and other factual inaccuracies is damaging.”
Former Tower Hamlets Labour party leader Joshua Peck warned ELL to be “extremely careful with this story”. Referring to another statement made by the authority press office, he said: “The claims made in that press release are inaccurate and actionable. I am talking to a lawyer about action and would hope that that can be restricted to the issuer of the press release, and not extend to any outlet that may inadvertently carry the inaccuracies.”
Clearly there is little more ELL can say while the facts remain uncertain and subject to possible legal action.