From the the Herald
A councillor embroiled in allegations of drugs and cronyism linked to former leader Steven Purcell has been suspended by the Labour Party and funding to her gay and lesbian centre axed after serious financial irregularities were uncovered.
The suspension of Ruth Black follows a meeting with the new leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson, who removed the Labour whip from her after the authority’s internal auditors uncovered a raft of financial irregularities at the Castro Centre she runs with her long-term partner, Jeanie McDougall.
A second meeting yesterday between former Solidarity Party member Black and the council’s head of finance saw Castro’s £50,000 grant from the authority cancelled with immediate effect, in a move that is expected to see the Glasgow centre close.
Irregularities include non-payment of tax and National Insurance for staff, despite deductions made from wages, the employment of a relative, McDougall’s son, which runs contrary to council grant rules, and operating with no public and employee liability insurance. The centre’s building insurance has been withdrawn due to non-payment. Further checks were conducted into concerns about massive phone bills, irregularities over payments to and from gaming machines, and the use of the grant to pay for a car.
Castro has debts of £44,000 and although Black has said the centre will continue trading without the grant, senior sources within the council insist that would mean Castro trading insolvently as less than £20,000 of the grant has been paid.
HMRC is also investigating non-payment for seven months, while board member Robert Tamburrini, a senior figure in the social housing sector, has quit after the scale of the irregularities became clear.