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Former deputy leader ordered to pay £140k legal fees

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A former deputy leader of Sandwell MBC has been ordered to pay the authority’s £139,000 legal fees after the council won a high court victory.

Mahboob Hussain (Lab) had earlier lost a judicial review in which he claimed the council’s publication of an independent report into his “inappropriate” conduct was against data protection laws and should not have been released.

The council commissioned law firm Gowling WLG to investigate allegations of wrongdoing against Mr Hussain and a copy of the summary report was made public in May 2016

However, the council appealed on the grounds that the initial award was too low and in ruling published today Master Prinz Raj Nagalingam ordered the former councillor to pay the balance of the council’s costs. He has already paid £50,000 towards the bill.

The council’s standards sub-committee heard in January Mr Hussein had shown a “pattern of inappropriate behaviour”, after he pushed through the sale of three public toilets to a family friend at a value well below their market rate in 2011-12.

He also instructed officers to reduce or cancel three parking tickets for his wife and sons.

The committee ruled Mr Hussain breached the council’s members’ code of conduct 12 times, bringing himself and the council into disrepute. 

Mr Hussain did not stand in last week’s election but previously served as an independent Labour councillor after leaving the Labour group.

 

 

 

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