“The company will continue to exist even if its directors change..”

The Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon has been worrying away at the details of the DUP’s Ian Paisleys’ joint constituency offices in Ballymena – planning permission pending. Combined MLAs office costs allowances of £57,200, from public funds, are being claimed as rental costs and used, directly, to pay the mortgage on the property – which is owned by a shelf company Sarcon 250 (sole director Seymour Sweeney Ian Paisley Jnr’s father-in-law James Currie DUP Councillor Sam Hanna). The Belfast Telegraph report points out that

The £57,200 being paid for 9-11 Church Street is around 3.3 times its 2001 NAV [Net Annual Value] figure. Nearby properties currently on the market have not risen by anything like that level. A number of retail Church Street premises are currently available for rent or purchase, with advertised rental figures of between 1.21 times and 2.27 times their NAV figures. It is accepted that valuation is not necessarily an exact science, and that assessments can be affected by various factors, including the terms and length of rental agreements, the dimensions of the property, and the quality of the premises. It is generally agreed that 9-11 Church Street is on the less busy, lower value end of the street.

The arrangement might not survive the results of the recent Senior Salaries Review Body report.. [Would it survive anywhere else now? – Ed] And the questions I asked back in February remain – “So, does that mean this will be a publicly owned building when that mortgage is paid off? And will the rental claims stop at that point? Or are those stupid questions..”

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  • Pigeon Toes

    Perhaps it’s just another “error of judgement”- which seems to be the standard acceptable excuse in Stormont circles at present

  • DC

    Pull out the trough and the snouts rush in.

    Sure are they not all sell-outs now to the money. They’re lovin it.

  • wild turkey

    ‘Mr Paisley Jnr has vigorously defended the rental level as “bang on target” for similar-sized properties on the street.
    He has also reiterated that the arrangement with Sarcon 250 was put in place after “independent expert advice” was considered. ‘

    Independent advice from renowned Illinois auctioneer Rod Blagovich perhaps?

    Just asking, not alleging.

    If Bernard Madoff was making real returns on investments similar to those alleged for the Church St property, he’d still be in business today

  • barnshee

    er –lack of financial /company law knowledge here

    1 The premises are owned by statutory corporation a separate legal entity from paisley (and anyone else)

    2 Premises are rented by paisley(s) ? from the statutory corporation

    3 Is rent paid good value? who knows?

    Nothing illegal here just milking the cow (that`s us silly old tax payers)

  • frustrated democrat

    barnshee

    Don’t be trying to put a smoke screen over this.

    1. Who are the shareholders in Sarcon 250?

    2. Are they arms length from the DUP and Paisleys?

    3. Who would benefit from the eventual sale of the property?

    4. Who currently holds the mortgage what is its’ term and who has guaranteed it.

    5 What is the current rental value and how long is the lease and who signed it.

    These are the questions we need to ask and have answered.

  • John K Lund

    Frustated Democrat,

    Good points and furthermore is the lease available for public examination or are people allowed to milk the public purse ad infinutum in privacy. Certainly an improvement on the Crumlin Road.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “The arrangement might not survive the results of the recent Senior Salaries Review Body report.. [Would it survive anywhere else now?”

    Er yes whenever sticky questions are asked of our esteemed Executive Departments.

    In a court of law, perhaps not.

    In the European Commission who knows?
    Other “errors of judgement” are being directed there I understand

  • tomthumbuk

    I wonder were the independent advisors called Mr and Mrs Winterton?

  • frustrated democrat

    One other question I left out – how often has it been used for DUP business and meetings since its rental?

    These are public funds we are discussing and all the answers should be open to public inspection as should all MLA’s expenses.

  • frustrated democrat

    One other question I left out – how often has it been used for DUP business and meetings since its rental?

    These are public funds we are discussing and all the answers should be open to public inspection as should all MLA’s expenses.

  • frustrated democrat

    Sorry malfunction in the software