Another staggering example of the contemptuous attitude Ken Livingstone showed for the public purse during his time as Mayor of London.
Andrew Gilligan reports for the Sunday Telegraph that at least £6,500 of Council Taxpayer's money to Jan Woolf, a woman who secretly bore his child. Livingstone also gave her Jan Woolf free exhibition space at City Hall to display her husband’s photographs. He also made a controversial planning decision in favour of an organisation she worked for.
Documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph show that in 2007 Mr Livingstone’s office paid £9,200 to commission a new play marking the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery. The play, Become a Man, was produced by Ms Woolf. £6,737 of the funding was paid directly to her personal company, Rootball Productions. The play was the first ever to be performed at City Hall.
There may well have been further payments. Gilligan adds:
Ms Woolf was also commissioned by Mr Livingstone’s GLA to produce an anti-Iraq war festival, London Says Not In Our Name, held at City Hall on 23 February 2003. Performers included the poet Harold Pinter, the actress Harriet Walter and the comedians Alexei Sayle and Jeremy Hardy. The GLA said last night that it could not locate records on the cost of the event or who was paid for it.
While Woolf was working for the Stockwell Park Community there was a planning application, approved by Livingstone for an 11-storey tower block – this was despite strong objections from the Brixton Society and many local residents.
She organised “Art Bid 4 Ken” auctions which raised £230,000 for Livingstone in 2008 although just £15,000 this year. Under the City Hall code of conduct the Mayor must disclose it when he makes a decision “which affects a matter in which he has a personal interest.” This would apply to “a member of your family or any person with whom you have a close association.”
The Livingstone campaign must be relieved that Gilligan is no longer with the Evening Standard.