“understandable in terms of commercial return..”

In the Belfast Telegraph David Gordon has seen the confidential report by Stormont Standards Commissioner Tom Frawley on the Paisleys and the rental claims for their Ballymena constituency office, among other things, 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 report is due to be discussed today by the NI Assembly Committee on Standards and Privileges in closed session. [Have we got mail, Mick? – Ed] From David Gordon’s report

It was officially revealed last year that their combined rental claims for the office were at a rate of £57,000 a year — some three times higher than the next highest individual MLA total. There are currently no Assembly rules limiting rental value or office size, or any requirement to provide independent valuation. The Paisleys’ landlord is a company called Sarcon 250. Mr Paisley jnr has said the rental level was set following professional advice.

As part of his investigation, Mr Frawley consulted with the Government’s Commissioner for Valuation, who cited an estimate of £26,000 to £30,000 a year for the property. However, the Commissioner also stated that the sums actually being claimed were understandable in terms of commercial return. Mr Paisley jnr last year said there was no profit for Sarcon 250 in the arrangements.