Monday 9 December 2013

Bedtime Stories: The Finder's Fee

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Once upon a time Carmarthenshire County Council cooked up an extraordinary deal to ensure that some £600,000 of the £850,000 sale price of council-owned land at Parc y Scarlets went to the club rather than the taxpayer.

In the break-down provided by Cllr Jeff Edmunds, £30,000 was described as a finder's fee for the Scarlets to recognise the club's role in reeling in Marstons Inns and Taverns.

A further £280,000 was paid to the Scarlets as "allowable expenses" to cover the cost of  fitting out the Scarlets' Red Room in the Llanelli Eastgate development, owned and developed by Henry Davidson Developments Ltd.

Without the participation of the Scarlets, who did not have the money to pay for the Red Room, it is likely that the development of Eastgate would not have gone ahead, or would have been delayed because of lack of interest from commercial tenants.

As it happens, Henry Davidson and Marstons have done business together before, including the sale (report here) by Henry Davidson to the pub chain of a plot on the Bannerbrook development near Coventry, where construction work was due to begin in January of this year.

Quite how much effort the Scarlets really put into "finding" Marstons is an interesting question which the Wales Audit Office may want to look into.

And so the cash-strapped rugby bosses found their handsome prince, and everyone was a lot richer except for the poor old council taxpayers. But then who cares about them, boys and girls?

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