It’s funny in a credit crunch to read about the profligate spending of super celebrities. Hip hop mogul P. Diddy spent $500,000 dollars on his own birthday party. He also spent £80,000 on booze for two pals at the Whisky Mist in London. Doting daddy Tom Cruise spent $5,000 on a birthday cake for daughter Suri Cruise. Ken Livingstone has topped them both though. It wouldn’t matter, but it was your money Ken was spending.
The Forensic Audit Panel, set up to investigate the failings of the London Development Agency, when Ken was Mayor, concluded “Our investigations have left us in no doubt that money has been misspent, on a massive scale, say tens of millions.”
Ken changed the rules to give his pals a £1.6 million payoff. When any Mayor loses the election, GLA appointments lose their jobs. Just before the 2008 election, Ken changed the rules, so his buddies received severance pay. He lost and his 8 personal appointees got £200,000 each. P Diddy’s spending on his friends, (including Kelly Rowland) doesn’t look so generous now!
When P Diddy travels, it’s first class comfort all the way. But Ken didn’t stint himself. He spent £50,000 of London’s money on his own personal travel. Jet setter Ken’s biggest spend on travel was in 2006/2007. He spent £23,671 – and he can’t even sing! In that year, over £200,000 was spent on foreign trips for Ken’s pals, including a trip costing £34,000 to Delhi, for Ken and four officials. (Four!) Ken’s excuse? He was “developing relationships” with Delhi City Government.
In November 2006, Ken spent £36,000 on one trip to Cuba to see Hugo Chavez! Ken went with four officials and had the gall to describe his spending as “modest and in line with the costs incurred on other mayoral trips.” There’s worse to come on Hugo, but I’m saving it for the end….
Generous Ken paid one guy £3,200 A DAY! Who gets that! Ex transport commissioner Bob Kiley, was employed as a consultant for £3,200 a day. When Bob was asked what he did for the money, he replied “In all honesty not much!”
And on it goes! £28 MILLION on publicity!* (footnote). Yes folks, you read it right! Million! We all know Ken has an image problem but this is ridiculous! In answers to accusations that Lee Jasper had mishandled funds, Ken’s reply was that the missing funds were a tiny proportion of the City Hall budget, which is billions. This is known as the drug dealers’ defence. We can all see now, can’t we, just why Ken is desperate to get his job back……
I suppose we should be grateful he only spent a measly £10,000 on a subscription to the Mornng Star…. Forty copies were delivered every day though.
Ken spent £20,500 of Londoners’ money on one lunch for Hugo Chavez. One lunch. When Ken tries to attack Boris on fares increases, needed to repair a tube infrastructure neglected for years, I don’t know how he can live with himself. Who the hell does he think he is? Louis Quatorze?
At Suri Cruise’s 2 year old birthday party, eyebrows were raised because indulgent father Tom bought her a $5,000 cake! (pictured above). Hey Suri! Your daddy’s cheap! If you had a daddy like Ken Livingstone, he would have spent much, much more…….