© Copyright by Paul Trummel 1992-2013. All rights reserved.

Updated 29-Jun-2013 12:42
 
 
 
     

The Grim Reapers - Stage One Complaint - Case Study

Chester & District Housing Trust Ltd. (the Trust)
John Denny, Chief Executive

The Grim Reapers - Misconduct in Public Office/Perverting the Course of Justice

Sanctuary Housing Association comprising Chester & District Housing Trust
Paul Douglas Burton (SRA #18772), Trust Solicitor and Data Protection Manager

The following paragraphs contain a Précis and Excerpts from a Stage One Complaint so that readers may form their own opinion. The Editor has censored the names and addresses of tenants to hold them harmless by using the pseudonym "Willow" and fictitious flat numbers.

Précis

Employees of Chester & District Housing Trust Limited (the Trust), a public sector company (and PH Jones the Trust sub-contractor for gas maintenance and certification) also Ann Edwina Hall (the Landlord), a private landlord receiving taxpayer funded rents, neglected properly to maintain gas appliances and flues as required by law. By that, they knowingly committed criminal acts. They caused serious illness to the Tenant by neglect of their duty of care in violation of Health and Safety regulations, Equality Act 2010 and other laws in pari materia (general laws that interpret with a common purpose).

[Duty of Care]

Research and study by the Tenant (an elderly person with academic credentials and experience in various relevant disciplines) showed a pattern of cause and effect by carbon monoxide emission over a two-year period in both a row house and a flat in Chester. Both properties had certification of inspection; however, those inspections and the resulting certificates did not comply with health and safety requirements. Upon investigation, the Tenant revealed a pattern of deception by the Landlord, the Trust and their engineers when signing off gas certification which allowed them to evade health and safety regulations.

The Tenant has an existing reflux condition caused by physical abuse by a previous landlord whom police arrested and charged (now impending investigation by Independent Police Complaint Commission) which he holds in remission under medical supervision for extended periods. After exposure to carbon monoxide in the row house, the Tenant suffered tinnitus and vertigo (for the first time in his life) from emissions caused by a faulty gas appliance, flues and venting at the house which he held under a rental agreement.

The Tenant almost fell down a steep flight of stairs while having his first attack of vertigo. He then took precautions against another onset by turning of the gas at the meter (which continued to record gas usage with the meter set to “off”). The reflux condition went into remission within a short time of turning off the gas.

A British Gas (BG) official ordered repair of the appliances and personally supervised installation of exterior venting, the Tenant took medical advice and prescription medicine which reduced the tinnitus and overcame the vertigo.

Hall, the row house landlord then entered the premises without the Tenant’s permission and in his absence to sabotage the gas and other appliances. By that, she deliberately increased the carbon monoxide level evidently in revenge for reporting the situation to British Gas. Without heating or hot water for three months (during the coldest winter in recorded history) the Tenant moved to a Trust flat.

Ironically, that flat also had faulty appliances and flues despite certification before taking possession. New tenants occupied #405 the previously empty flat below the Tenant’s flat. Carbon monoxide and other emissions became apparent when they turned on their gas appliances and the Tenant’s reflux/vertigo/tinnitus returned within a few days after twelve months in remission. The Tenant frequently interviewed the tenant at flat #405 and other tenants in the neighborhood during a process of verification and validation of the problems described in the Stage One Complaint to the Trust.

Those interviews revealed that pollution (the undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities) described in the complaint emanated from the kitchen at #405 through a large crack in the ceiling surrounded by carbon monoxide stains. That showed that the carbon monoxide and tobacco fumes (another source of carbon monoxide) had traveled through the floor and wall voids then discharged into the Tenant's living/dining room.

Unbeknown to the Tenant until the present investigation, the tenant at #405 had filed a similar complaint three months before at about the same time as the Tenant. Both elderly people, they received the same type of ridicule and denial by unsubstantiated assertions that no problem existed from Karen Heritage, Performance and Quality Team, CDHT. By that, she violated Health and Safety Executive regulations. In fact, she ignored complaints for six months and the building and gas defects reached criminal proportions. By ignoring both complaints the Trust confirmed its own negligence.

The tenant at #405 asserted that occupants of that flat confined their smoking of tobacco and cooking to the kitchen which confirmed the start of the route followed by the tobacco and cooking fumes. Moreover, a test showed that within a few minutes of #405 turning on the boiler to “heat water only” the living room at #407 became polluted with carbon monoxide and other gases.

During that test (in a consort with the Tenant) the #405 tenant turned on the water heating then immediately visited #407 to witness the gas emission within five minutes of the boiler activation. Interviews with tenants of other properties and tests during the previous three months established a distinct pattern of negligence by the Trust.

Moreover, the polluted condition denied the Tenant use of the living/dining room due to a return of his reflux condition, tinnitus and vertigo caused by carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke entering that room. Considerable damage has occurred to new curtains, carpets, and upholstery to a point where the room and its contents will require professional cleaning or replacement of those items due to third-hand tobacco smoke.

The Tenant turned off the gas at the meter (20 Aug 11) after almost five months spent complaining to the Trust (to no avail); however, carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke from #405 beyond his control continued to enter #407. The Tenant sealed the fireplace, took medical advice, then moved temporarily to another location at 1,000 meters elevation with only electrical appliances. The tinnitus, which by that time had become a chronic disorder, reduced and the reflux and vertigo went into remission after ten days without medication.

The flues, voids and structural beams need inspection by a qualified structural engineer for concrete decomposition. That engineer can then confirm any violations of gas regulations and order changes to insure visible access to flues by installing hatches and also the replacement of defective appliances. Structural damage has allegedly allowed seepage and spillage of carbon monoxide and other emissions through the aging concrete structure and the lack of visible access hatches to inspect that condition violates recent changes to legislation.

An assessment will require the services of an engineer to investigate and report on the amount of structural damage and Trust non-compliance with maintenance regulations. Testing for structural decomposition requires the services of an independent, qualified structural engineer accredited by The Institution of Structural Engineers (FIStructE).

To evade exposure of its neglect, the Trust unlawfully capped the gas supply so that inspection could not take place (10 Nov 11). The Tenant at all times acted in compliance with gas regulations as the responsible person. He has now had no gas heating or hot water (since20 Aug 11) and the Trust has not addressed the complaint filed (01 Apr 11) although it has received rent for the entire period.

Other tenants have either withheld, or threatened to withhold, rent and received immediate (quick and dirty) service. #407 typifies a condition that exists in many of the 1,000 Trust flats and houses that have similar outdated appliances. Arguably, the Trust evades its responsibility to rectify the problem to evade creating a precedent that would cost a considerable amount of money to address.

The Tenant submitted (03 Jul 11) a Stage One complaint in accordance with Chester & District Housing Trust Ltd. (the Trust) procedures (CDHT Complaints Policy and CDHT Complaints and Compensation Procedure). However, the Trust made no attempt to address the health and safety issues; instead, Trust employees evaded their legal responsibilities by making general denials.

[General Denial]

The Trust has neglected its duty of care to correct alleged dangerous carbon monoxide emissions existing in Trust flats and houses which it has a responsibility to maintain in a safe condition. By that, the Trust violated: Gas Safety Regulations 1998, #2451, Health and Safety; Equality Act 2010; Human Rights Act 1998 and other statutes in pari materia.

[Duty of Care]

Following the filing of the Stage One Complaint, and a disingenuous decision (18 Jul 11) made by Stuart Crosthwaite, Business Assurance Manager, the Tenant gave Wendy Garwood, Satisfaction and Complaints Officer several weeks to establish that a thorough investigation at Stage One had taken place in accordance with the Trust complaints policy. Instead of confirming the Tenant's right to appeal by filing a Stage Two Complaint, Garwood started an unlawful merry-go-round. She made a series of false and misleading claims and withheld documents to hinder filing of an appeal. By that, she committed an abuse of process and delayed and denied justice.

[Abuse of Process]

More important, the Trust did nothing to correct carbon monoxide seepage problems and the Tenant temporarily turned off the gas (20 Aug 11) which left him without heat or hot water. A health condition brought about by carbon monoxide and other noxious emissions forced him temporarily to vacate the flat.

A Stage Two Complaint became essential in a further attempt to rectify the dangerous health and safety conditions at several flats in the same block. However, Crosthwaite and Garwood again denied process by withholding documents and ordered permanent capping of the gas (10 Nov 11) supply to prevent inspection by a qualified structural engineer which would reveal the serious condition of voids, flues and carbonation of concrete beams that caused the seepage.

Tenant costs in legal and project research to refute the frivolous, vexatious, unsubstantiated assertions used by Trust executive directors and managers to evade their duty of care and legal responsibilities, also the cost of investigating the broadened issues associated with the original complaints, currently amount to more than £211,428.00 (31 Mar 13). That amount does not include compensation for harassment, defamation and reparations for loss of use of a substantial part of the leased flat for nine months and the cost of health and alternative accommodation issues that resulted from denial of quiet enjoyment of the property.


Stage One Complaint

As the result of the Trust neglecting to address a serious carbon monoxide emission complaint (31 Mar 11), the Tenant filed a formal Stage One Complaint (03 Jul 11). In accordance with the Act, The Tenant informed the Trust of an emission of carbon monoxide gas and other noxious emissions but the Trust took no notice for three months then denied that a problem existed. A statement made by Trust employee Karen Heritage sums up the attitude of the Trust to dangerous carbon monoxide conditions who repeatedly gives the stock answer "I will be in touch in due course": a totally unacceptable response toward tenants experiencing dangerous health and safety risks.

When the Trust dragged its feet for more than three months on serious health and safety issues, the Tenant telephoned Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for advice. HSE responded that if the Trust did not address the issues within 24 hours after filing a written complaint, then the Tenant should file a written complaint with HSE for their immediate intervention.

The Trust neglected to act and the Tenant filed a complaint on three occasions with HSE as the responsible government regulator. HSE did nothing. An appeal now pending claims that neglect by HSE exacerbated the overall situation. Moreover, it alleges that Carl Sands, HSE Gas Officer knowingly used false evidence and forged documents submitted by Trust managers arbitrarily to support his contentions without giving the Tenant an opportunity to refute them.

The issues primarily affect three stacked flats: #s 403, 405 and 407 Willow House. They require examination of the exhaust flues and accessory equipment in all three flats to determine the cause of the pollution. Restricting inspection of the gas equipment to #407 does not suffice. The various types of pollution that enter into #407 evidence emanation from the ground and/or first floor.

The Trust has a duty of care to tenants (required by Health and Safety Executive) to act immediately upon the receipt of a report of a dangerous gas condition. In this case, the condition existed since the tenant at #405 took occupancy (01 Apr 11). The Trust did not address a complaint by that tenant for three months.

Moreover, engineers who undertook the two inspections of heating and boiler equipment at #407 during the past eighteen months did not perform a smoke spillage test or reposition the antiquated vent to the exterior of the building (which they knew to be defective due to its placement behind a radiator with some vents covered by wallpaper). The spillage monitoring system had no effect on the fumes emanating from # 403 and/or #405.

The report of gas (carbon monoxide), tobacco, disinfectant and cooking fumes in the living room at #407 described how it cannot be used for more than ten minutes without the Tenant experiencing sickness and headaches. The Tenant took informal advice from heating engineers and they say that in all probability the flues are spilling from #403 and/or #405 into #407 through a faulty or cracked flue. They say that a crack in the concrete floor could also cause a problem but the most likely answer indicates damaged or incorrectly installed flues. Later investigation and a cover-up orchestrated by the Trust confirmed those findings.

The Health and Safety Executive, Britain's national regulator for health and safety, Regulation 36(2) states: "Every landlord shall insure that there is maintained in a safe condition: (a) any relevant gas fitting; and (b) any flue which serves any relevant gas fitting, so as to prevent the risk of injury to any person in lawful occupation of relevant premises".

HSE reports that in 2009/10 ten people died from gas related incidents and 4030 were hospitalized through negligence similar to that encountered by the Tenant in this case. The Trust could care less when they take three months to take action on a reported dangerous gas situation, let alone rectify the problem

To emphasis that neglect, a lack of duty of care by the Trust during 2011 occurred when it took six months to replace a light bulb in a stairwell. The lack of light created a dangerous situation. During that period, the situation was reported several times by various tenants, but to no avail. When reported to a visiting social worker, who made a call on her mobile, the Trust arranged for the problem to be rectified the following day.

Correspondence

PT-11-04030-1915. The new tenant at 405 Willow House is repeatedly violating Health and Safety rules by smoking in that flat. My living room is polluted by tobacco smoke to the point that it is affecting my reflux condition and prevents me from using that room. With reluctance, I have sent this report anonymously to avoid retaliation. I know that you will understand.

AK-11-04031-11405. It is not a breach of tenancy for resident to smoke within their homes. Only if they are smoking in the communal areas, such as the communal hallway/stairwell and anywhere classed as communal area within the Trusts jurisdiction. Is the new tenant doing this? Or is he doing so within the flat?

PT-11-04031-1245. The sheltered housing in which I live is especially posted inside the front door with the following notice: No Smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises. Premises defines as the whole building. The person in the flat below me smokes to the extent that the volume of pollution is excessive and a danger to my health. I suffer from reflux. I cannot use my living room due to "the undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities". What do I do now? Find a solicitor? Report it to the police? The situation is making my flat a health and safety hazard.

PT-11-04031-0000. Telephone conversation with CDHT woman [since identified as Karen Heritage] who did not give her name and gave a variety of ridiculous excuses for the problem so that she would not have to address it.

PT-11-0627-1845. It is now three months since I reported the gas [carbon monoxide], tobacco, disinfectant, cooking fumes in my living room which I cannot use for more than ten minutes without getting sick. I have taken advice from people who work in the area and they say that the flues must be leaking one into the other and I am getting everything from the flat below. The woman you referred me to was insolent; however, I was persistent and she promised to have the problem fixed to get rid of me then did nothing. Nothing has been done for three months. If an engineer does not fix the problem before the end of the week, then I will inform the authorities.

nota bene. Heritage took no action to rectify or investigate the problem although five Trust employees visited the property. They did not contact the Tenant to discuss the issues; and spent about one hour in the yard of the building. The Tenant ascertained from their body language that they discussed the problems delineated in the correspondence, but decided to do nothing. A decision later affirmed by further neglect to address the issues and harassment of the Tenant in attempts to silence him. Crosthwaite issued an unsubstantiated general denial in the form of a disingenuous “without prejudice” statement evidently authored by Knight then parroted and disseminated by Crosthwaite as his proxy.

AK-11-0628-0919. Thank you for your e-mail. I have forwarded your comments on the relevant team who will look into this for you and respond accordingly.

PT-11-0629-1105. Thanks for your reply; however, nobody has called. I contacted HSE and they told me to ask CDHT for the official complaint forms. The officer at HSE said that if it is not fixed within a week of filing those forms, then I should contact him again and he will take action at that level. Please email the forms to me today.

AK-11-0629-1028. I cannot e-mail you the form but will post it out to you today. I'm sure the relevant department will respond to your query in due course, I am aware they have issued a work order to carry out a check on the boiler.

KH-11-0629-1439. I am currently away from the office and I do not have the information required. I will be in touch in due course. (The form arrived in the mail (01 Jul 11).

Response to Stage One Complaint
by Stuart Crosthwaite, Business Assurance Manager

Category #2. Unfair, impolite, biased and discriminatory.
SC-11-0718-0000 CDHT #4536_2011/CCF #880-36-36

01. WITHOUT PREJUDICE - 18 July 2011

02. I am sorry that you have had cause to make a complaint to Chester & District Housing Trust; this is my official response to your complaint with the reference number quoted above.

03. Your complaint was with regards to: Non-action by Chester & District Housing Trust with regard to noxious fumes emanating from other properties in your block of flats

04. I have investigated your complaint and after looking at all the information available to me, I am sorry to inform you that on this occasion I am unable to agree with your complaint. I am detailing the reasons why we do not agree below:

05. In accordance with our obligations as a public sector landlord, all properties in Willow House have annual gas safety checks, but to reassure you and in response to this complaint, our Senior Gas Engineer visited 403 and 405 Willow House on 5 July 2011 to make another safety check on the flue systems.

06. He inspected the catchment area and flue to 403 Willow House and found no faults with the flue or opening. He also carried out a flue flow test and observed the smoke emitting from the relevant terminal (left hand terminal from front of property).

07. At 405 Willow House he carried out the same test and inspection and observed smoke emitting from the relevant terminal (right hand terminal). He found a minor defect to the second seal but in his opinion this would have presented no danger to the residents of 405 or 407. In light of the situation he raised a job to make good the minor defect, which was completed on 10 July 2011.

08. You also allege that the response of Karen Heritage was unacceptable in a situation where residents were experiencing "dangerous health and safety risks or illnesses". The fact remains that the Trust is unable to prohibit smoking in individual properties and to date has received no reports of illness from any resident as a result of this or evidence of health and safety hazards.

09. Unfortunately without this evidence, the Trust is unable to proceed any further with this complaint.

10. I would like to thank you for bringing this issue to my attention; we really appreciate feedback (both good and bad) from our customers [tenants] and view it very positively. We always strive to learn from complaints and we aim to better tailor our services to you as a result.

Refutation by Tenant

01. Without Prejudice. [A status unlawfully attributed to his decision by Stuart Crosthwaite, Business Assurance Manager, CDHT].

The content of paragraphs 01 through 10 does not constitute an answer to the Stage One Complaint due to the classification "Without Prejudice". Crosthwaite must explain which regulation or law permits the Trust to apply such a prohibition to a serious Tenant health and safety complaint. His use of that classification effectively precludes an appeal (Second Stage Complaint) of his decision which could interpret as an unlawful attempt to hold Trust employees harmless for their decisions and dereliction.

In UK/EU law the term "without prejudice" used in the course of negotiations indicates that a particular conversation or letter may not be tendered as evidence at an appellate hearing. That definition grants Crosthwaite an unlawful form of privilege which relieves Trust employees of their personal responsibility for their official acts and neglect.

Without prejudice prohibition can only be made in the course of negotiations that constitute a genuine attempt to settle a dispute between the parties to a complaint which Crosthwaite has not instituted. He has not tried to mitigate damage by Trust employees or addressed the issues subject to the complaint with particularity. Instead, he has used a general denial not admissible in any court or as part of any arbitration decision. He has used a without prejudice prohibition as a ploy to conceal facts or evidence during a mitigative exchange and to evade his personal responsibility for his official actions. By that, he opened the door to an extensive investigation of Trust activities subject to the complaint.

Moreover, Paul Knight, not initially a party to investigation of the complaint, insinuated himself into the mitigation process without informing the Tenant. He effectively ratified and condoned Crosthwaite's decision which changed the intent and scope of the Stage One Complaint. By that, Knight broadened the scope of the complaint in an alleged endeavor to confuse the issues by consolidating two complaints which addressed separate issues using a disingenuous and unlawful dictate.

At that time, the responses by Crosthwaite and Knight defined as moot and did not require an answer because neither of them responded to the issues described in the complaint; instead, they constituted a general denial. The term "general denial" defines arbitrary and biased statements, innuendo, and assumptions that bear no relation to facts. The Trust must controvert all the declarations and assertions (averments) as common law requires and not use a narrow construction when the law generally requires a liberal construction, at least until a judge rules otherwise.

Crosthwaite does not offer to address the serious health and safety danger. As it stands, his Stage One Complaint decision may not form part of evidence because it denies due process of law. Arguably, letters or conversations written or declared as without prejudice cannot be taken into consideration in determining whether probable cause exists for depriving a successful litigant of costs and other remedies.

The Trust must present a legal argument based upon fact. Most courts will not accept a general denial and by extension neither will any ethical investigator of behavior which delays and denies justice. Therefore, the decision authored by Crosthwaite has no standing as an answer to a Stage One Complaint.

However, Wendy Garwood contradicted Crosthwaite's contentions by stating that: "I am also happy to agree that the words "without prejudice" will not be used on any document in the future, in the course of dealing with this issue. Please accept my assurance that this document is disclosable in the event of a stage two hearing". By that, Garwood effectively reopened refutation of the Crosthwaite decision.

Garwood accepted the legal definition of disclosure for a single document; however, she withheld access to other documents necessary to assure an unbiased hearing employing rules similar to those used in litigation where each side collects evidence to prove the facts required to challenge their claim or defend their assertions.

Disclosure or discovery represents an important mitigative function which requires each party to a proceeding to produce documents upon which their arguments rely and which affect the case. Disclosure applies to all documents which relate to the issues. A court may limit or even dispense with disclosure; however, only in exceptional circumstances.

Neither party to a complaint may withhold requested documents for a discovery process unless a court orders otherwise. Public interest (for example, awareness of potential carbon monoxide poisoning) overrides any duty of confidence under Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) especially when withholding relates to a cover up of health and safety hazards by public sector employees.

Data Protection Act provides that, upon making a request in writing, Garwood must inform the Tenant if the Trust holds the requested documents and provide a description of that information. The Tenant has an entitlement to a copy of the information in an intelligible and permanent form. Garwood and other Trust employees must comply with requests for access to documents as soon as possible and, in any event, within 40 days of the request. Garwood continues to delay and deny process by withholding documents vital to substantiate a Stage Two Complaint although the PDA time limit for providing them expired.

The term "document" has wide definition. It includes anything which records information. As such, a document includes, videos, tape recordings, electronic documents. In fact, any file, or file fragment on a hard disk drive becomes potentially disc losable, provided it meets the discovery criteria.

Garwood and Crosthwaite coauthored the complaint rules, acted as the primary investigating officers, made decisions regarding release of information needed in a discovery process, then Garwood acted as the Satisfaction and Complaints Officer who must "before proceeding to stage two . . . be satisfied that a thorough investigation at stage one has been carried out" based upon Crosthwaite's decision.

Garwood has cherry-picked which documents she will disclose and which she will withhold which biases any hearing that involves her. Moreover, she has a distinct conflict of interest (with Crosthwaite) as coauthor of rules that govern complaint processing and as a referee in a Stage One Complaint which prejudices the Tenant. Garwood coauthored the rule book then in direct violation of those rules has withheld documents necessary for the discovery process, acted as the primary contact, then effectively acted as judge and jury - an ominous responsibility.

Consequently, responses to unsubstantiated assertions by Crosthwaite and Garwood as joint authors of the Complaints Policy become null and void through conflict of interest and alleged bias. However, because Garwood has lifted the without prejudice statement on a prime document, the Tenant must refute items two through ten which in fact make the decisions by Crosthwaite and Garwood to the complaint moot (of no legal significance).

02. I am sorry that you have had cause to make a complaint to Chester & District Housing Trust; this is my official response to your complaint with the reference number quoted above.

Crosthwaite's upsurge of emotion (grief) has no legal significance. He claims responsibility for determination of a complaint despite a perceived conflict of interest as one of the authors of CDHT Complaints Policy 2009 which arguably gives grounds for immediate recusation of both Crosthwaite and Garwood.

03. Your complaint was with regards to: Non action by Chester & District Housing Trust with regard to noxious fumes emanating from other properties in your block of flats.

Neglect of the Trust to address the issues in the complaint have led to further investigations which show widespread carbon monoxide and other emission not confined to the subject flats.

04. I have investigated your complaint and after looking at all the information available to me, I am sorry to inform you that on this occasion I am unable to agree with your complaint. I am detailing the reasons why we do not agree below.

Crosthwaite received a complaint and must address and act upon the stated issues. His lack of agreement with the Tenant ranks as irrelevant and immaterial. He has a duty of care to thoroughly investigate the complaint and to submit a valid and substantiated report of his findings.

05. In accordance with our obligations as a public sector landlord, all properties in Willow House have annual gas safety checks, but to reassure you and in response to this complaint, our Senior Gas Engineer visited 403 and 405 Willow House on 5 July 2011 to make another safety check on the flue systems.

Crosthwaite admits that the Trust classifies as a public sector landlord; consequently, all communications must comply with regulations that relate to renting or leasing public housing.

Certificates of annual gas safety checks retroactively provided by Garwood (which omitted a primary document: the Landlords Gas Safety Record for #405 (05 Jul 11) which she replaced with a warning of wear and tear) show that the checks referenced do not comply with current regulations; hence, the present problem with carbon monoxide and other emissions.

The "Senior Gas Engineer" could not possibly have made a safety check on the flue systems without access to all flats in that wing of the building: he did not inspect #407. Moreover, the tenant at #405 says that a workman (not a senior engineer) called at that flat and gave a crack in the kitchen ceiling a cursory glance. Later, a workman painted over that crack to cover up carbon monoxide stains: allegedly an act of criminal negligence and a cover-up of evidence in the Stage One Complaint.

06. He [the Senior Gas Engineer] inspected the catchment area and flue to #403 Willow House and found no faults with the flue or opening. He also carried out a flue flow test and observed the smoke emitting from the relevant terminal (left hand terminal from front of property).

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 apply to Willow House. In those regulations any reference to an escape of gas from a gas fitting or flue includes a reference to escape or emission of carbon monoxide gas resulting from incomplete combustion of gas in a gas appliance. A casual smoke test does not meet those criteria when the flues that he claims to have inspected also serve #405 and #407.

07. At 405 Willow House he carried out the same test and inspection and observed smoke emitting from the relevant terminal (right hand terminal). He found a minor defect to the second seal but in his opinion this would have presented no danger to the residents of #405 or #407. In light of the situation he raised a job to make good the minor defect, which was completed on 10 July 2011.

Garwood withheld the primary document recording the visit at #405: the Landlords Gas Safety Record for #405 (05 Jul 11). The work completed on 10 Jul 11 at #405 had nothing to do with the gas appliances and flues. According to the #405 tenant, the workman only painted over a crack in the kitchen ceiling to cover up evidence of carbon monoxide emissions.

The #405 tenant claimed that the workman made no other tests although the problems subject to the complaint related to a variety of emissions into #407 (gas exhaust fumes (carbon monoxide), tobacco smoke, cooking odors, disinfectant fumes). The #405 tenant agreed that those emissions could only have originated through the crack in the ceiling of the kitchen at #405 evidenced by carbon monoxide stains that the Trust disingenuously painted over.

The Trust allegedly did not perform any tests that meet the requirements of Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 which apply to Willow House. The two visits only served in an alleged attempt to cover up evidence already under investigation under the rules for a Stage One Complaint which the Tenant had filed. Garwood allegedly had complicity in that illegal cover-up by withholding certification of the claimed gas safety check (05 Jul 11).

Those regulations require that: if the responsible person (the Tenant) of any flat knows or has reason to suspect that gas or carbon monoxide or other dangerous emissions have escaped into that flat, he shall immediately take all reasonable steps to cause the supply of gas to be shut off at such place as may be necessary to prevent further emissions.

Accordingly, the Tenant turned of the gas at the #407 meter (20 Aug 11) but had no authority to turn off the gas at the adjacent #405 meter: the principal source of the overall problem. Consequently, the emissions into #407 continued so the Tenant arranged temporally to vacate the flat to avoid further health problems caused by the emissions from #405. By law, no person may turn the gas on again until the appliance and flue faults receive inspection by an independent, qualified gas engineer and damaged appliances and flues receive maintenance, repair or replacement.

Garwood (knowing that the Tenant turned off the gas (20 Aug 11)) claimed to have requested an air quality check at #407, then stated that Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWCC) found it unnecessary (14 Sep 11). Neither Garwood nor CWCC stated a date for access to the flat for that check and Garwood did not substantiate her assertion with a copy of her request to CWCC and their subsequent refusal.

[Stitch-Up]

Almost three months after the gas safety fiasco (05 Jul 11), Garwood requested entry to #407 (28 Sep 11) knowing that the Tenant had already arranged temporarily to vacate the flat that day pending a Stage Two Complaint hearing.

08. You also allege that the response of Karen Heritage was unacceptable in a situation where residents were experiencing "dangerous health and safety risks or illnesses". The fact remains that the Trust is unable to prohibit smoking in individual properties and to date has received no reports of illness from any resident as a result of this or evidence of health and safety hazards.

The report of gas [carbon monoxide], tobacco, disinfectant and cooking fumes in the living room at #407 described how it cannot be used for more than ten minutes without the tenant experiencing sickness and headaches. The Trust has neglected to inspect #407 since the Tenant filed a Stage One Complaint (03 Jul 11) which evidently provoked the gas safety fiasco (05 Jul 11) and a cover-up of evidence (10 Jul 11).

The Tenant can provide medical evidence that he suffers from reflux which is exacerbated by tobacco smoke and other fumes that emanate from the chimney and flues at Willow #407. Garwood has asked for medical evidence which the Tenant declines to release to her as information protected by the Data Protection Act 1998. However, Tenant has no problem with the Trust obtaining relevant medical information from general practitioners at two surgeries under a legal discovery process for use at a Second Stage hearing.

[Carbon Monoxide Emissions]

09. Unfortunately without this evidence, the Trust is unable to proceed any further with this complaint.

The Trust has a duty of care to tenants (required by Health and Safety Executive) to act immediately upon receipt of a report of a dangerous gas condition. In this case, the condition has existed since the tenant at #405 took occupancy (01 Apr 11) and the Trust has still not addressed the #407 complaint since the initial report six months previously (31 Mar 11).

The Trust has not exercised due diligence (a legally binding process under the Trust Tenancy Agreement) by inquiring into the environmental characteristics of the property. The Trust did not verify information and documentation provided by the Tenant in order to facilitate a decision as to the urgency for maintenance and repairs to take place. Instead, Trust employees ridiculed, harassed and bullied the Tenant. They arbitrarily made a decision to deny service by falsely stating that they had inspected the flat and found no fault.

[Due Diligence]

The Trust spillage monitoring procedure did not address the effect of any carbon monoxide emanating from #403 and/or #405 and spilling into #407 for six months. Despite engineers undertaking two inspections of heating and boiler equipment at #407 during the previous eighteen months, they did not perform a spillage test or reposition the antiquated vent to the exterior of the building (which they knew to be defective due to its placement behind a radiator).

The report of gas, tobacco, disinfectant and cooking fumes in the living room at #407 described how the Tenant could not use it for more than ten minutes without experiencing sickness and headaches.

The Tenant has taken advice from independent heating engineers who said that in all probability the flues from #403 and/or #405 spill into #407 through a faulty or cracked flue. They said that a crack in the concrete beam could also cause a serious carbon monoxide problem which indicates damaged or incorrectly installed flues.

The Health and Safety Executive, UK national regulator for health and safety, Regulation 36(2) states: Every landlord shall insure that there is maintained in a safe condition: (a) any relevant gas fitting; and (b) any flue which serves any relevant gas fitting, so as to prevent the risk of injury to any person in lawful occupation of relevant premises.

10. I would like to thank you for bringing this issue to my attention; we really appreciate feedback (both good and bad) from our customers and view it very positively. We always strive to learn from complaints and we aim to better tailor our services to you as a result.

Irrelevant and immaterial.

Crosthwaite did not address the Tenant’s refutation; instead, he orchestrated a six month harassment campaign against the tenant and had the gas permanently capped (10 Nov 11) so that the Tenant could not have the structure and the gas appliances professionally inspected as evidence for his appeal. By that, he obstructed justice and the rules pertaining to natural justice apply. (18 Jul 11).

[Natural Justice]

Resume

After three months email communication, the Tenant received no substantiated response from Andrew Keelan, Community Housing Officer (the officer responsible for the property) who had delegated the responsibility to address the issues to Karen Heritage, Performance and Quality Team. Moreover, the Trust made no attempt to rectify serious carbon monoxide and other emissions in several flats at Willow House. Consequently, the Tenant filed a Stage One complaint (03 Jul 11), in accordance with Chester and District Housing Trust complaint procedure #03, with Keelan who again delegated the issues to Heritage.

Heritage started a merry-go-round in another attempt to evade the issues. Instead of responding to the content of the serious health and safety complaint, Heritage sent another blank copy of complaint form. By that, Heritage confirmed and reestablished the pattern or practice of unlawful behaviour that she orchestrated during the preceding three months by repeatedly evading questions and neglecting to correct the serious health and safety risks described in the original complaint.

Following receipt of a copy of the Stage One Complaint (03 Jul 11), Heritage stated in a letter (04 Jul 11) that Major Works and New Business Team (MWT) would investigate the complaint then advise the Tenant of its decision within ten working days. Another six months elapsed and neither Heritage nor a MWT team member contacted the Tenant and no inspection took place despite the seriousness of the complaint and the health and safety risks involved.

Responses by Knight and Crosthwaite to the Stage One complaint ignored the issues allegedly for political expedience. They neither substantiated their statements nor took action to correct life-threatening conditions in several flats. They claimed without prejudice status in an attempt to hold Trust employees harmless for their decisions and gross negligence.

By that, Knight and Crosthwaite not only tried to dispense with a valid complaint but also attempted to deny due process by effectively precluding an appeal using the Stage Two Complaint procedure. Although Garwood removed the without prejudice status to allow filing of the Stage Two Complaint, her action only addressed the Crosthwaite response: a single document. Garwood continues to unlawfully withhold other documents essential to Stage Two Complaint investigations and hearings.

The statutes that Crosthwaite and Garwood referenced classify as irrelevant and immaterial because they neglected to explain how they apply to the Trust's defense to the Stage One complaint with particularity. They have made assertions without substantiation by not providing proof that refutes the allegations in the complaint.

The Trust ignored Chester & District Housing Trust Complaints Policy also Complaints and Compensation Proceedings and turned a Stage One complaint into a complex issue then denied Tenant a right to natural justice. The Trust has arguably tried to force the Tenant to litigate, an alleged use of barratry in which case Equality Act 2010 could apply.

The Equality Act contains special obligations for public authorities by introducing a public sector duty to tackle age discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and encourage good community relations. This applies to the Trust in general and Knight, Crosthwaite and Garwood in particular as persons who do not classify as a public authority but who exercise public functions for purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Equality Act does not simply clean up anti-discrimination laws but strengthens the law in a number of areas and introduces new rights to protect individuals from discrimination. Although not primarily concerned with property, it contains aspects particularly relevant to the Trust.

An independent health and social care review supports implementation of the age provisions of the Equality Act 2010 by banning age discrimination against tenants in the provision of services and exercise of public functions by advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations between people who share a protected age characteristic.

Frequently, age discrimination classifies as indirect discrimination which has just as detrimental an impact on tenants, caregivers and public confidence as direct discrimination which is plainly evident in the disrespectful, disingenuous and insolent responses to the Stage One Complaint by Trust executive officers and managers.

Conclusion

The Stage Two Complaint details abuse of process by Trust employees who acted in violation of health and safety standards that relate to dangerous carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke and other chemical emissions into flat #407. By that, they caused an elderly tenant to encounter near-death experiences through neglect of their duty of care.

The Trust must allow independent inspection of the building faults to stop the carbon monoxide and other emissions at Willow House: an impossible task with the gas supply unlawfully and permanently capped. Instead, executive directors and managers harassed and bullied him when the Tenant complained to authorities under the Equality Act 2010 and precedents in pari materia.

As a common law intentional tort, abuse of process involves misuse of the public right of access to arbitration. That applies in this case through the delay and denial of justice by the Trust which has extended a campaign of harassment against the Tenant to an unprecedented level.

Abuse of process usually predicates upon the existence of an ulterior purpose or motive and improper use of legal procedures (or kangaroo courts) to subvert proceedings. Executive directors and managers have neither complied with Trust rules and procedures nor UK/EU law. They have repeatedly lied to government regulators and filed forged documents to falsify evidence. By that, any further action at Trust level becomes moot.

[Stage Two Complaint - Kangaroo Court - Robert J Thompson]

 

English law grants an injured party entitlement to damages as compensation for any loss suffered. In most circumstances, unless the parties work out a settlement, the court will assess the quantum of damages due. Under common law, the injured parties have an obligation to mitigate (reduce their loss) using any reasonable means at their disposal. The principle ensures that a party will not recover damages for a reasonably avoidable loss. In assessing reasonable means, the party seeking to claim damages does not need to take any extraordinary measures outside the normal course of business or to incur unnecessary additional expenditure.

Mitigation of Damages

  Trust Solicitor
   
  Burton  
  Council Abuse
  Robert J Thompson  
  Thompson  

The response Paul Douglas Burton (a former Chester City Council solicitor) provided under a Data Protection Act (DPA) request as part of a legal disclosure procedure did not include critical evidence for a scheduled Stage Two complaint hearing held by CDHT in absentia (23 Jan 12). The Tenant (Paul Trummel) understands that Burton attended and Thompson chaired the hearing.

This position paper gives Burton and Sanctuary Housing Association (SHA) an opportunity to cooperate in mitigation of damages prior to the filing of impending complaints with the Legal Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner.

[Kangaroo Court - Robert J Thompson]

When responding to the DPA request, Burton withheld documents and transcripts of telephone conversations. In particular, he withheld a letter that he wrote to Gary Bennett, Regulation Manager, The TSA (16 Nov 11) and transcripts of telephone conversations that he had with Bennett et alia. The DPA request for documents formed part of prehearing disclosure of documents that Burton previously withheld which prevented the Tenant from refuting the disinformation that they contained. The Tenant later obtained a copy of the letter from TSA under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Following telephone conversations among Bennett, Wadsworth et alia regarding the content of a complaint with TSA filed by the Tenant, Burton provided false and misleading information in writing upon which Bennett acted to the detriment of the Tenant. By that, Burton dissuaded Bennett from contacting the Tenant to discuss the issues subject to his complaints to the Trust and TSA. That deprived the Tenant of his prehearing legal rights by denying an opportunity to challenge disinformation. Burton allegedly used a similar ploy with Health & Safety Executive (HSE) which established a pattern or practice of misconduct in public office.

Damages

Details with a prepublication notice sent to Sanctuary Housing Association directors by proxy Lindsay Evans, Group PR Manager (29 Mar 13).

Tenant costs result from legal and project research to refute the frivolous, vexatious, unsubstantiated assertions used by Trust executive directors and managers. Also, neglect to inspect the subject premises that resulted from a conspiracy among public officials generally and Health & Safety Executive also Homes & Communities Agency formerly Tenant Services Authority (TSA), particularly. They abused and defrauded the Tenant through evading their duty of care and legal responsibilities which construes as misconduct in public office.

The cost of investigating the broadened issues associated with the original complaints and web site production currently amounts to more than £211,428.00 (31 Mar 13). That amount does not include compensation for harassment, defamation and reparations for loss of use of a substantial part of the leased flat and the cost of healthy alternative accommodation required as the result of unlawful denial of quiet enjoyment of the property.

The Tenant (an octogenarian) has leased a virtually uninhabitable flat without gas heat or hot water due to the malicious capping of the gas supply for more than two years with winters that had the lowest temperatures on record. Cosmopolitan Housing Group (CHG) comprising Chester & District Housing Trust (CDHT), Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Homes & Communities Agency and National Grid Gas (NGG) in an unlawful accord evaded their landlord and regulatory responsibilities in a cover up of illegal gas conditions. The leased premises recently became part of Sanctuary Housing Association (Sanctuary Group) and CHG and CDHT reverted to separate subsidiaries under SHA.

The Trust attempted to silence the Tenant (who holds international press credentials) after he reported dangerous carbon monoxide and other noxious emissions from flats in Trust complexes that arguably place thousands of tenants at health and safety risks. Trust officials repeatedly prevented inspection of premises by independent structural surveyors to evade exposure of multiple violation of gas regulations. They denied repairs, maintenance and tenant services for more than two years and continue to do so.

[Carbon Monoxide Emissions]

Mitigation

Initial mitigation requires Burton to send PDF copies of all documents requested under the original DPA request regardless of the hard copies left without an inventory at the Tenant premises. Burton delayed requests for documents over several months by disingenuously claiming absolute exemption from complying with FOIA as a private sector company. He then cherry-picked documents, allegedly in an attempt to bias the hearing by using contextomy.

[Contextomy]

Burton unlawfully obtained confidential information about the movements of the Tenant from a Trust social worker. From that information, he knew about the absence of the Tenant abroad. He placed the cherry-picked documents in a series of envelopes then a Trust employee pushed them through the Tenant’s letter box several days before the hearing. By that, Burton allegedly delayed legal disclosure until after the Tenant had left on assignment to frustrate any prehearing discourse or instruction of legal counsel.

The response in mitigation should include all information relative to the issues with an inventory; specifically, PDF copies of all correspondence and transcripts of all telephone conversations associated with the Stage Two hearing and Code of Conduct complaint relevant to: Paul Burton; Gary Bennett (TSA); Stuart Crosthwaite; Peter Connell (Connell Consulting Engineers); John Denny; Ian Doyle (National Grid Gas); Wendy Garwood; Karen Heritage; Paul Knight; Hamish Laird; Carl Sands (HSE); Tanya Stewart (HSE); and Simon Wadsworth (TSA).

[Code of Conduct Complaint]

The disclosure should include, with particularly, the name and title of the Trust executive officer who effectively ordered Hamish Laird and Ian Doyle to arbitrarily cap the gas at the subject premises, 37 Alderney House, CH2 3LX (15 Nov 11). It must include inventoried copies of all work orders and inspection certificates issued by the Trust and National Grid Gas et alia for the preceding three years also transcripts of all telephone calls related to capping the gas supply.

[Retroactive Preemption + Stitch-Up]

Paul Burton, In-house Solicitor, Chester & District Housing Trust Ltd.

Paul Burton confirmed (09 Dec 11) that natural justice applies; however, he made a series of fatuous observations by stating that “. . . the [complaints] process is, in fact, an informal one designed to deal simply and efficiently with complaints of poor service made by the Trust's tenants. By that he implied that relevant laws do not apply to the complaints procedure. He states:

1. You allege that the Trust has broken a number of civil and criminal laws and you have made a number of threats of legal proceedings in respect of those alleged breaches.

The Tenant has not made threats of legal proceedings pending resolution of the Stage One and Stage Two Complaints procedures.

2. You also continue to complain about the probity of the complaints process itself and appear to attribute to it the formal procedural requirements of a legal process under the jurisdiction of a state appointed judicial body.

The Tenant has not attributed to the complaints procedure formal legal process; instead, he has strictly followed the arbitration (complaints) procedures published by the Trust.

3. The process is, in fact, an informal one designed to deal simply and efficiently with complaints of poor service made by the Trust's tenants.

A reasonable person must ask how a lawyer could possibly construe as “informal” and a “simple complaint of poor service” a dangerous carbon monoxide complaint when Gas Safety Regulations 1998, #2451, Health and Safety; Equality Act 2010; Human Rights Act 1998 and other statutes in pari materia apply to the issues with particularity.

4. The principles of natural justice certainly apply to the process but the Independent Housing Ombudsman (who requires all registered providers to have such a process in place) has never intended that it should be subject to the same rigors as the civil and criminal courts, for the simple reason that any complainant retains their right to pursue complaints through those courts.

This mumbo jumbo clearly tries to evade the issues. Natural justice relies on statutes and precedents to achieve a determination. It has two fundamental principles essential to a fair hearing or valid decision in any complaint brought against the Trust. Moreover, justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done which involves adhering to laws and precedents.

[Natural Justice]

5. The appeals panel has no jurisdiction to adjudicate on matters of civil or criminal law as it is not a court of law and I need to make it clear that your complaint will be deal [sic] with only summarily and without an extended contested hearing.

The Tenant has not asked the Trust “to adjudicate on matters of civil or criminal law”; however, he maintains that laws apply to any determination regarding legal documents and the Tenancy Agreement. Burton claims to deal with complaints: “summarily and without an extended contested hearing”. A reasonable person must ask why six months have elapsed since the Tenant filed a Stage One Complaint. He has neither received a copy of the review by the Performance and Quality team nor a valid response to his submissions relative to the complaint and copies of the documents requested before he can proceed to a Stage Two Complaint hearing.

6. The Trust Complaints and Compensation Procedure describes the two stage complaints process thus: We should aim to resolve complaints through the two stage process within two months. If customer complaints are still not resolved at the end of the procedure, they are advised to contact the Housing Ombudsman Service.

The Trust has stonewalled contact with the Ombudsman by delaying the Stage Two Complaint hearing and providing copies of documents essential to that hearing.

7. Where complaints are rejected, "Customer Satisfaction" and complaints do not sit together easily, so what we want to achieve is a swift, efficient response to the customer. To make sure this happens both stages of the procedure are time bound.

The Tenant reported the serious carbon monoxide emissions nine months ago and filed the Stage one Complaint six months ago which has resulted in a harassment campaign by Trust employees and an uninhabitable flat.

8. In between the two stages there is an opportunity for the Trust to reconsider the issues, through a review by the Performance and Quality team. Again, we need to consider that the customer would like the issues resolved as quickly as possible and by reviewing the complaint at this stage, we might be able to prevent a lengthy stage two hearing.

Six months have elapsed and the Stage One Complaint has not received valid consideration and determination: instead, Knight and Crosthwaite have orchestrated a campaign to sabotage the professional inspection of the property by permanently capping the gas. The elderly Tenant had no heat or hot water during the coldest time in the year.

9. Remember that without sufficient factual evidence, the Panel might be unable to arrive at a robust decision and the stage two hearing could be adjourned. At stage two, help the customer gather as much evidence as possible to ensure a viable appeal process.

The Trust has received comprehensive information both legal and professional to enable it to make a determination; however, it has evaded the issues allegedly due to the cost involved and the 1,000 buildings at risk of similar carbon monoxide emission problems.

[Trust Statement]

10. The customer may refer to the Housing Ombudsman Service if issues are still outstanding at stage 2. If the Customer is not a tenant then it will need to be explained that this stage is the final stage.

The Trust has deliberately prevented the Tenant from contacting the ombudsman by stonewalling (Stalling or delaying especially by refusing to answer questions or cooperate).

[Stonewalling]

In the current complaints, Chester & District Housing Trust Ltd. has not complied by any stretch of imagination with the concepts mandated for natural justice. The disingenuous responses to the Stage One complaint by Crosthwaite and Garwood do not address the complaint. They have not jointly or severally covered the issues asserted in the complaint or referred to the correspondence which substantiates them.

Instead, they have submitted inadmissible, unsubstantiated, self-serving general denials not acceptable in any court of law. By that, they have deliberately frustrated appellate action and obstructed the filing of a Stage Two complaint to appeal the frivolous and vexatious decisions submitted in the Stage One complaint which interprets as multiple abuse of process.

The term "abuse of process" defines as neglect by the Trust to insure due process of law by subverting legal, disciplinary or arbitration proceedings with intent to enforce jurisdiction over tenants generally. The Trust has used unsubstantiated declarations to support evidentiary assertions. Moreover, it has not provided: notice of a hearing; documents substantiating Trust claims; reference to the Trust rules under which they make accusations; minutes of relevant issues; and names and titles of hearing participants and witnesses.

[Abuse of Process]

Arguably, Trust executives classify as state actors when they acknowledge complaints. The term "state actor" gives the impression that it includes only officials directly employed by government. However, it also includes public sector officials who deal indirectly with government in the way commonly cultivated by housing trusts. By its non-compliance with its own rules and procedures, the Trust indulged in a pattern or practice of abuse of process.

[Pattern or Practice]

Human rights conventions seek to achieve a fair balance between conflicting rights of housing trusts and fundamental rights of tenants guaranteed by articles of convention. A doctrine of proportionality remains central to achieving that balance. It requires that any restriction of a convention right (where this is permissible) must be proportionate to the legitimate aim being pursued.

In order to satisfy that requirement, any Trust employee (state actor) interfering with a convention right must show cause that the actions did not classify as arbitrary or unfair; that the actor strictly limited the action to achieve a legitimate public policy; and that the restriction did not outweigh the benefit to the community. Knight, Crosthwaite and Garwood did not comply with those conventions nor have they shown probable cause for a complaint against the Tenant.

Unacceptably broad interference that imposes an excessive or unreasonable burden on tenants breaches convention rights. In cases involving a serious breach, an application to stay the proceedings as abuse of process succeeds in most courts. Trust employees repeated abuse of process falls into that category.

Despite repeated requests for PDF email attachments, Trust officials have refused to send any documents and correspondence by that method. The refusal has allowed the Trust to hold hearings in absentia and evade a discovery process. Tenant receives regular mail intermittently while on assignment abroad and cannot properly address the issues while traveling if he does not receive email copies with attachments.

A Trust employee effectively admitted document withholding by claiming that the Trust sent documents to a PO Box when inaccessible to the Tenant. Then, Trust employees refused to send PDF copies as email attachments to enable Tenant to comply with lawful requests. Moreover, instantaneous delivery of PDFs economizes in both time and materials.

A statement by Paul Knight, Assistant Director of Performance and Income tacitly admits that Trust officials held the Stage One Complaint hearing without providing substantiating documents to Tenant. That precluded his legal right to a discovery process and to take depositions under an oath from his adversaries. The tenant has not received a transcript of that hearing.

Garwood has deliberately withheld documents although repeatedly requested to release them to support Trust assertions. By that, Knight's contentions make the issues moot due to abuse of process; moreover, if Knight, Crosthwaite and Garwood (as state actors) persist with their current behaviour, then they risk criminal indictment for harassing an elderly person under updated (01 Jan 12) statutes.

nota bene - Excerpts

The Trust has still not acknowledged or responded to this refutation or reviewed it as required by Stage One complaint procedures; instead, it has compounded the issues by orchestrating a kangaroo court which contained an unlawful general denial instead of a Stage Two hearing.

[Kangaroo Court]

The Trust withheld documents and did not conform to Cheshire West & Chester Council constitutional procedures: a requirement when a Councillor convenes and chairs an arbitration hearing involving a public sector housing trust in which he holds a directorship with the complainant as a tenant and his constituent without recusing himself: a fourfold conflict of interest.

[Constitution]

The Trust has done nothing to mitigate damage by carrying out repairs and the Tenant remained without heat or hot water throughout the freezing temperatures last winter. The Trust made no attempt to bring the premises into conformity with health and safety regulations; instead, it mounted a kafkaesque retroactive preemption.

[Retroactive Preemption]

John Denny, Paul Knight and Stuart Crosthwaite have, in an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Tenant, refused to provide public information about public sector employees. Crosthwaite refused in writing (05 Dec 11) to provide job titles and job descriptions of specific staff members and supervisors although the Trust previously published a chart containing the names and job titles of Trust officials. By that, they enabled several officials and staff members to use aliases and false or misleading job descriptions and proxies in a conspiracy to defraud in violation of the Fraud Act 2006. Section 2 includes fraud by false representation, fraud by failing to disclose information and fraud by abuse of position.

The Tenant requested information about Trust officials, staff members and direct supervisors to complete validation and verification of content which alleged criminal acts in order to hold other officials and staff members harmless. Trust officials prevented that process. To partly overcome the withholding of public information, the author has listed the people named in the articles and their false or misleading titles. The names of supervisors of the staff members who allegedly committed criminal acts remain unknown; however, they will become jointly and severally liable for the acts of their subordinates.

PB-11-1110-0000

You requested copies of all personal information relating to yourself held by the Trust on paper or computer files and the names of all people to whom the Trust has released copies of documents or personal information contained in those documents. I confirm that the Trust can treat this as a data subject access request under section 7 of the Act but I do require you to send me a cheque for £10 (being the statutory access fee) before I can comply with your request. This is a legal requirement and is applied by the Trust to all such requests.

I have already indicated the Trust acts through its employees and their actions are, in law, treated as actions of the Trust through agency and vicarious liability which makes the Trust liable for their acts or omissions. In some instances you have now threatened to take action against certain Trust employees and I would respectfully ask that if you wish to make threats of legal action would you please express these to be made against the Trust and not against individual members of staff.

PT-11-1112-042

In response to that request, I stated a need for CDHT Transaction #, Sort Code, Bank Name and Account Number before I could send the £10.00 fee for the DPA documents. I also asked that CDHT replies to correspondence should contain the subject line and reference and that in future, all CDHT correspondence without subject references will be rejected by the CCF server. I then used Sort Code 309192/Account Number 02536116 to transfer the £10.00 fee for the DPA documents.

Your letter PB-11-1110-0000 taken under advisement does not follow the Stage Two Complaint protocol; therefore, the content classifies as out of context. The response should have formed an integral part of the CDHT #4536 Stage Two Complaint pre-hearing package with an argument that applied to the complaint with particularity.

The Council Constitution requires placement of an agenda and evidentiary documents on the record with a copy sent to the Tenant at least five clear days before any hearing. Moreover, the Trust did not inform the Tenant of the date, time and location of the hearing or send him an agenda and the names of participants within that time frame: a distinct abuse of process.

Deadline for response including all documents and transcripts: 12:00 - Friday 26 April 2013.

PDF copies of linked reference files can be downloaded from the web pages.

COUNCIL CONSTITUTION - SECTION 5
Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities

5.5 Access to agenda and reports before the meeting

The Council will make copies of the agenda and reports open to the public available for inspection at the designated office at least five clear days before the meeting. If an item is added to the agenda later or if reports are marked on the agenda “to follow”, the information will be made available to Councillors and the public as soon as possible and any report (that is not excluded) will be open to inspection at the time it is added to the agenda. All agendas and revised agendas will be published on the Council’s web site.

5.7 Access to Minutes etc after the meeting

The Council will make available copies of the following for six years after a meeting:

(a) the minutes of the meeting (or records of decisions taken, together with reasons, for all meetings of the Executive) excluding any part of the minutes of proceedings when the meeting was not open to the public in the case of the Executive or which disclose exempt or confidential information;

(b) a summary of any proceedings not open to the public where the minutes open to inspection would not provide a reasonably fair and coherent record;

(c) the agenda for the meeting; and

(d) reports relating to items when the meeting was open to the public.

5.8 Background papers

5.8.1 List of background papers

Every report will list those documents (called background papers) relating to the subject matter of the report which in the opinion of the Proper Officer:

(a) disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based; and

(b) which have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report but does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information (defined in Rule 10).


Homes and Communities Agency - Regulation

First and Last

The first batch of eighteen regulatory judgments published by HCA predicates upon the new regulator’s proportionate approach using HCA Regulating Standards. Those standards contain outcomes that the HCA regulator expects providers to achieve classified as either Economic or Consumer and graded for Governance and Viability. The judgments (07 Dec 12) placed Cosmopolitan Housing Group (CHG) comprising Chester and District Housing Trust (CDHT) at the bottom of the list. CHG came in eighteenth with the lowest grades possible: G4 and V4.

G4. The provider does not meet the requirements on governance set out in the Governance and Financial Viability standard. There are issues of serious regulatory concern and the provider is subject to regulatory intervention or enforcement action.

V4. The provider’s financial viability is of serious concern and it is subject to regulatory intervention or enforcement action.

[Judgments] [Standards]

Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) took responsibility for the regulation of registered providers of social housing in England (01 Apr 12). It sets a framework that includes standards and regulatory functions within which housing providers must operate.

The Agency focuses on governance, financial viability and value for money as a basis for robust economic regulation to maintain lender confidence and protect taxpayers. It sets consumer standards but leaves the primary responsibility for resolving issues between landlords and tenants at the local level.

HCA only intervenes in cases of serious detriment that have caused, or are likely to cause, harm. A new independent Regulation Committee deals with complaints within its regulatory framework established by the Homes and Communities Agency under the provisions of Localism Act 2011.

 

Inveterate Liar

 
  Knight  
  Slumlord
   
  Denny  

This case study describes one of several attempts by Cosmopolitan Housing Group (CHG) comprising Chester & District Housing Trust (CDHT) "the Trust" executive directors and managers maliciously to incriminate the Tenant. They used kill-the-messenger strategies to silence him and cover up their illegal activity.

The Trust, in a consort with Health & Safety Executive (HSE), denied that a problem existed. By that, they neglected to stop carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes entering from other flats which forced the Tenant, an octogenarian, to live in an uninhabitable flat for 21 months (22 Dec 12).

Unlicensed workers maliciously capped the gas on the alleged instructions of Paul Knight, Group Business Systems and IT Director (CHG) with the tacit approval of Carl Sands (HSE). That left the Tenant without heat and hot water in a flat riddled with noxious gases for 14 months which included two winters with below zero temperatures and with no change in sight (22 Dec 12).

[Retroactive Preemption + Stitch-Up]

Twenty months have elapsed since the Tenant reported (30 Mar 11) serious emission problems into the flat from other flats allegedly through structural carbonation. Tanya Stewart (HSE) and the Trust have used various strategies to evade responsibility to inspect the property which should have occurred within 48 hours.

[Public Records Request]

Section 37 of the Health & Safety Offences Act 2008 allows for the prosecution of any director, executive director or manager of the Trust (or anyone acting in that capacity) where a health and safety offence is committed. This provision targets executive directors and managers who ignore or close their eyes to health and safety risks affecting tenants that they have a duty of care to address in accordance with law.

[Duty of Care]

Court of Appeals asserted as unfair and illogical the rules holding public officers liable for conviction of an offence which do not apply to private sector employees performing public sector duties (eg. employees of housing trusts). Accordingly, the Court quoted from earlier authorities that misconduct in public service must address offences by both public and private sector officers for wilful breach of duty when conduct affronts public sector standards. Trust employees form part of private industry but in fact perform public sector duties.

The Court declined to develop the point or to consider what constituted public office. However, it asserted that the term “public sector employees” includes private sector employees performing public sector duties. By that, if private sector employees breach the public trust, then arguably they should receive similar punishment to public officials especially when statutes predicate upon common law.

[Misconduct in Public Office]

All Trust correspondence and actions that reference appointments for gas appliance inspections at the subject flat (since 20 Aug 11) form part of a retroactive preemption scam that prevented inspection by independent structural and gas engineers. That scam included bizarre attempts to manufacture evidence with intent to displace Trust negligence and malfeasance onto the Tenant at a scheduled hearing.

Last and First

  Propagandist Scam
   
  The Sunday Times - Top 100 Companies 2011  

John Denny, Chief Executive, Cosmopolitan Housing Group comprising Chester & District Housing Trust (the Trust) claimed:

"Being listed in The Sunday Times Top 100 Companies alongside well known high street and boardroom names is a real achievement. To be in the list for four years running and in the Top 30 is a cracking result we can all be really proud of. CDHT's vision is to create opportunity. We place the customer at the heart of the business, listen to our communities and our colleagues and provide training opportunities for all. We've worked hard to make CDHT a great organisation to work with and this award recognises this."

Denny spent £-millions on self-aggrandizing propaganda under the guise of marketing and public relations which contributed to near bankruptcy and neglect to provide critical repairs and maintenance for tenants.

Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) took responsibility for the regulation of registered providers of social housing in England (01 Apr 12). It set a framework that includes standards and regulatory functions within which housing providers must operate. In its first evaluation it placed the Trust at the bottom of the list of eighteen trusts that they investigated with the lowest possible grades.

HCA found that the Trust did not meet the requirements on governance set out in the Governance and Financial Viability standard. It also showed serious concern about the Trust financial viability. HCA claims that issues of serious regulatory concern made the Trust subject to regulatory intervention or enforcement action.

Sunday Times - Top 100 Companies finally discovered egg on its face and did not include the Trust in its 2013 awards.

 

 

Logotype

Copyright 2013 by Paul Trummel
All Rights Reserved: 01-Jan-2012
Edition: 880-37-11/2013-06-29 12:42
Letters to the Editor: Submit