The London Fire Authority have awarded a £12 million contract to a company that lavished hospitality on it's Chairman Brian Coleman.
Asset Co and it's chief Executive Mr. John Shannon took Brian Coleman to dinner on three separate occasions.
On a fourth occasion, Brian Coleman accepted a Harvey and Nichols hamper from Mr Shannon at an estimated value of £350.
The relationship between Coleman and Mr Shannon only came to light because of a Freedom of Information request placed by this blog earlier this year.
Unlike the London Assembly, the Gifts and Hospitality registers for members of LFEPA are not available online.
The Asset Co contract is for a force of reserve firefighters, to be used in the case of industrial action and major incidents.
Members of the authority say that the contract was awarded on a purely competitive basis, and that Asset Co were agreed upon on a cross-party basis.
However, London's Fire Brigade union are not convinced.
A spokesperson for LFBU said earlier today:
"AssetCo’s wining and dining tactics might appear to have paid dividends for them, but I have no doubt that many of the volunteers, being ex-firefighters themselves, will re- fuse to participate when they realise how they will be used."
The actions of Brian Coleman during a recent Fire Authority meeting were unlawful according to legal papers provided to this blog.
Coleman's decision to block a democratic amendment was "a breach of the law" and could leave the authority open to judicial review, according to legal advice.
The amendment which called for a vote on the appointment procedure for the new Deputy Commissioner, was blocked by Brian Coleman.
However, his unilateral decision complied neither with the authority's standing orders nor with the law.
As John Cavanagh QC puts it in his advice to the authority:
"Needless to say, a Chairman is not permitted to refuse to let an amendment go forward solely because he does not agree with the merits of the proposal..."
Unfortunately nothing is ever 'needless to say' where Brian Coleman is concerned.