Claims borough council chief executive had ‘conflict of interest’ over Cobblers loan passed to police

Chief executive David Kennedy went to Spain to celebrate a Northampton Town Football club director's wedding in June 2013.  Now Northampton South MP David Mackintosh says auditors should look into whether Mr Kennedy should have declared this.

Chief executive David Kennedy went to Spain to celebrate a Northampton Town Football club director's wedding in June 2013. Now Northampton South MP David Mackintosh says auditors should look into whether Mr Kennedy should have declared this.

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Calls for an investigation into whether Northampton Borough Council’s chief executive should have declared his friendship with a Cobblers director have been passed to the police as part of the Sixfields loan investigation.

Last week the Chronicle & Echo saw a copy of a letter from Northampton South MP David Mackintosh to the chairman of the borough’s audit committee, Penny Flavell (Con,Rushmills).

In it, the MP alleged the authority’s chief executive, David Kennedy, may have had a “conflict of interest” when he was given authority to oversee the £10.25m million loan to Northampton Town Football Club in 2013.

He told the committee chair that he “understood Mr Kennedy had taken a holiday with a former director of Northampton Town two weeks before the loan was agreed.

The friendship, he suggested, should have been declared as an interest.

The Chronicle & Echo later discovered this was former director and estate agent owner David Jackson, who lives in the same village as Mr Kennedy. Mr Jackson told the Chron that the two had never discussed the Sixfields loan, that Mr Kennedy was “more of an acquaintance” and that Mr Kennedy had attended his wedding abroad.

There is no suggestion Mr Kennedy has done anything illegal.

The Chron has now seen a copy of Councillor Flavell’s letter in response to Mr Mackintosh, in which she confirms the matter will be passed on to Northamptonshire Police.

In it she states: “As you will be aware the circumstances surrounding the granting of the loan to Northampton Town Football Club are being reviewed by external auditors and the police.

“Your letter will, of course, need to be passed to the police for their consideration.”

When approached by the Chronicle & Echo, a spokesman for Northampton Borough Council said they would not be adding any more to the response they gave last week.

The spokesman said: “Allegations have now been made to the chair of the Borough Council’s Audit Committee, who has passed these to the council’s monitoring officer and to all the bodies currently reviewing or investigating the loan. The allegations will be taken seriously and these will be fully and appropriately investigated in accordance with normal policy.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police added: “The questions put by the Chronicle & Echo to Northampton Borough Council have been forwarded on to Northamptonshire Police and we acknowledge receipt of that information at this time.”