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Council and residents in financial dispute

PUBLISHED: 15:04 18 February 2014 | UPDATED: 15:53 18 February 2014

The housing estate's funding is being disputed

The housing estate's funding is being disputed

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Newham Council has withheld money from Carpenters Tenant Management Organisation following an audit of its finances.

Newham Council has withheld money from Carpenters Tenant Management Organisation following an audit of its finances.

The TMO is comprised of residents who run the housing estate in Carpenters Road on the council’s behalf, and is given a sum of money on a quarterly basis.

The last two sums have been withheld amid claims of improper usage.

Eddie Benn, vice-chairman, said: “It’s a breach of contract for them to withhold this money after it was already agreed.

“It’s only with careful money management we’ve been able to cope.”

“We know we’re going to have less money next year but they should give us what they said they were going to this year.”

He estimates the TMO have around £800,000 in a reserve fund, but they can only take money from it with the approval of all the tenants of the estate, not just those on the TMO board.

The council have sent out a letter to all residents outlining their reasoning for cutting the funding ahead of a residents’ meeting this evening.

Cllr Andrew Baikie, Executive Member for Housing and Customer Service said:

“Our investigation of Carpenters TMO accounts and governance leaves a number of big unanswered questions.

“The TMO has over £1 million of public money in their various bank accounts. While they now manage less than a half of the original properties, they continue to employ 14 staff and an array of expensive consultancies.

“The Board must explain other issues such as using public money on a £800 trip to the zoo and taking 30 people - including 12 children - to a conference at a cost of over £8,000.

“They should meet us urgently to agree to an immediate funding change so that we can protect public money in the interests not only of tenants and leaseholders in the Carpenters Estate but all Newham residents.”

But Mr Benn said the money spent on the zoo trip had been saved over many years to be spent on events for residents.

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