Unity Legal Solutions was horrified, at the time of the abandonment of the Garden Bridge project, that significant sums of public money had been wasted in what appeared to be a vanity project for Boris Johnson and others involved in the project. As a result, Unity asked Jason Coppel Q.C to give his opinion on various issues arising from the Garden Bridge fiasco.
The headline to this blog is a direct quote from Mr Coppel’s opinion and he gives as the prime example the signing of the construction contract with Bouygues at a time when the funding for the project had not yet been secured. This opinion was obtained before the recent publication of
the Minutes of the Meetings of the Trustees, which reveal that the Trustees were fully aware of the risks of proceeding at that time but nevertheless proceeded to sign the contract and procure a £7 million tranche of public funding.
It is not surprising that leading counsel considers that, upon the facts before him, the Trustees behaved in breach of their duties. That reflects the view of the Hodge Report and of most observers, with the bizarre exception of the Charity Commission. However, where does this leave
We are investigating whether a concerned member of the public can take action against the Trustees ( that seems unlikely) or whether the Charity Commissioners can be forced to think again about the clean bill of health they gave the Trust.. It seems that the most obvious course is for the
payers of public money-TFL and the GLA or one of the private donors to sue the Trustees. Will they step up?