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SALFORD COUNCIL PAYS ALMOST £173,000 TO THE LANDING AT MEDIACITYUK CEO COMPANY
 

Star date: 19th August 2013

A Salford Star Exclusive

JON CORNER COMPANY RAKES IN ALMOST £173,000 FROM SALFORD COUNCIL

Cash strapped Salford City Council paid out £172,900 to a company called Mediastill, controlled by Jon Corner, the Chief Executive Officer of The Landing at MediaCityUK, between March 2012 and April 2013, the Salford Star can reveal.

This `consultant' payment for managing the Council's `high-tech hub' for small and medium digital companies works out at over £12,000 per month, more than any other senior officer at Salford Council, except Chief Exec Barbara Spicer.

Full details here…


According to Salford Council's official statement of payments over £500, it has paid a company called Mediastill £172,900 between March 2012 and April 2013 (the last date of publicly declared payments) for `consultancy'.

Mediastill Ltd is a Liverpool based company with no phone number or website, only a registered office at an accountants, and is 75% owned by Jon Corner, Chief Executive at The Landing, Salford Council's `high-tech hub' for small and medium digital companies at MediaCityUK.

Jon Corner, the former head of Salford University's Media City operation, took up the post of Chief Executive of The Landing in January 2012, and, since March of that year until April this year, his company has received one payment for £13,300 followed by ten for £15,960, including VAT, over a 14 month period.

This works out at the equivalent of £12,350 per month, or £148,200 a year (inc VAT) - more than any other senior officer at Salford Council, except Chief Exec Barbara Spicer.

The Landing itself is a controversial project, beset by a huge five year £3.8million lease to Peel Holdings which owns the seven floor building.

Originally called the `Media Enterprise Centre', the costs for its creation rose from £8.4million in 2009 to £14.34million in 2012, with Salford Council's contribution towards the publicly funded `hub' more than doubling to £3.66milion over a period when £40million cuts to public spending were being sought. The other costs came from Europe (ERDF) and the now defunct North West Development Agency (NWDA).

Originally, Salford Council announced that there would be a `Make Media' community space in there but when The Landing opened that idea had been `cut' and, instead, there was a £120 a year private members bar called On The 7th (see previous Salford Star article for more details - click here) 

Despite being created with public money, The Landing at Media City UK Ltd, (the company which runs the `hub') is a private limited company with directors Jon Corner, Salford Council Development Director Karen Hirst, Deputy Mayor David Lancaster and City Mayor Ian Stewart.

In November 2012 the company's Articles of Association were changed so that just one director could make decisions on behalf of the board (`the quorum for the transaction of the business of the directors shall be one'), which offers up all sorts of questions about accountability.

Indeed the whole project, including payments to Jon Corner's company, offers up lots of questions which the Salford Star attempted to put to both Jon Corner and Salford Council...

We asked Salford Council what the payments to Jon Corner's Mediastill company were for, and whether they were wages for Jon Corner.

We asked Salford Council why, if this was the case, the payments were being paid through his company Mediastill, rather than as a full time wage subject to PAYE?

We asked Salford Council whether it thought it right in these cost cutting times to be paying Jon Corner's company huge amounts of `consultancy' money?

We asked Salford Council why The Landing, despite being created with public money and having public sector directors, was a private limited company?

We also asked Jon Corner himself what the payments to Mediastill were for; what Mediastill actually does; whether he works full time for The Landing, and whether the payments were actually his salary.

Jon Corner didn't respond, and the only comment Salford City Council would make was that "The implication in the question below is that Salford City Council and Jon Corner are engaged in tax avoidance in relation to the development of The Landing. This is completely wrong."

No, Salford Council, the implication is that you are paying a massive wad for `consultancy' to a company/person that appears to be working full time, while you are slashing budgets by £100million and cutting services for some of the most vulnerable people in the city.


• The original advert for The Landing's Chief Executive Officer stated that "The Chief Executive is the Landing's senior executive and is responsible for the management of the Landing, including the development and delivery of its business plan, the effective and efficient running of all its services, ensuring that the budget is properly managed and that the Landing's key risks are understood, communicated to relevant parties and managed. In addition to managing the day business, the Chief Executive will shape and direct the future vision of the Landing, working with the Industry and key stakeholders in a collaborative manner to secure the long term future of the business."

That doesn't sound like a part-time job…or a `consultant's' job.

• Companies House lists Mediastill Ltd as having two directors – Jon Corner, who owns 75% of the shares, and Michelle Thompson, a lecturer, who both live at the same address in Liverpool.
 
• According to DeuDil, the last set of accounts (July 2012) for Mediastill Ltd show the company having a book value of £4,900, with £14,100 cash in the bank and liabilities of £30,700. Mediastill's latest accounts are `overdue' according to Companies House.

Salfordian wrote
at 4:52:54 AM on Monday, August 26, 2013
It does make you wonder if there is some sort of dodgy scouse "old boys network" going on doesn't it Mary? Maybe it is a case of "you'll never work alone"
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 12:33:20 AM on Sunday, August 25, 2013
How very strange, another company/person from Liverpool getting OUR money for doing sod all.
 
bankrupt morally wrote
at 11:29:57 AM on Saturday, August 24, 2013
Is this the same Jon Corner who has had so many businesses go broke? Only Salford council would give money to someone with a track record like that.
 
Mike Kelly wrote
at 4:15:05 PM on Thursday, August 22, 2013
Ask the District Auditor to investigate or ask the questions again but as a Freedom of Information request. If Salford do any then answer the specific issues you can refer the matter to the Ombudsman.
 
wrote
at 4:14:20 PM on Thursday, August 22, 2013
That sounds ominous, that's a huge amount of taxpayers money being ploughed into a private company. I wonder if Jon Corner is the type to be involved in scams or tax dodges or is his work/company(s) all legal and above board? How are the figures so high? It's not my area of expertise, I don't know much about tax apart from the fact I pay it. How the hell can situations like this even happen these days? Any thoughts, anyone? Sandra Newman. I didn't know that. Are there any more parallels with the Find Madeleine Fund? Is there anywhere I can read up about it? I remember the mother's uncle saying it was for their legal fees so I never contributed. I still don't understand what legal fees they'd have as victims of abduction? I read somewhere that their web page cost something like £37,000 to develop, which seems crazy seeing as you can build them yourself (with no experience) in an hour for no cost. Seems a massive waste of funds.
 
Jane Phillips wrote
at 10:39:33 AM on Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Anyone know if Michelle Thompson is related to Jeremy Thompson?
 
Irwin R Shyster wrote
at 12:25:45 AM on Wednesday, August 21, 2013
This all looks very odd. This bit particularly. "Despite being created with public money, The Landing at Media City UK Ltd, (the company which runs the `hub') is a private limited company with directors Jon Corner, Salford Council Development Director Karen Hirst, Deputy Mayor David Lancaster and City Mayor Ian Stewart." So councillors are directors of companies that the council gives money too? I wonder if this is another case of "THOSE" councillors not voting, like with the Salford City Reds fiasco?
 
Sandra Newman wrote
at 12:24:47 AM on Wednesday, August 21, 2013
At last! Someone putting the creepy Jon Corner under the microscope. He came to fame briefly in the Madeleine McCann case (he is Madeleine's godfather), when he infamously said that he and the McCanns were 'calling in a few favours' regarding the Madeleine campaign. What could that mean? He made a film about the McCanns in August 2009, which is dicussed on this excellent site, here: http://jillhavern.forumotion.net/t5324-video-kate-mccann-interviewed-by-jon-corner-hideho
 
jane buller wrote
at 12:22:54 AM on Wednesday, August 21, 2013
bloody crooks!
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 5:51:04 AM on Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Ken, what you've asked is not a silly question - what you've got at the moment is an overbearing need for a growing council base in the light of central government cuts to their budget. We, the majority of Salford did not turn up to the referendum on having a Directly Elected Mayor (FYI - I did, and voted against) - and got a surprise when those shouting at the parapets got what they wanted - if we'd kept the old system then at least Mrs Spicer, as Chief Exec would be accountable for her actions. Now Mr Stewart is the "Head Man" we've got all the heads of dept. in council screaming for increases in wages/budgets when in reality, all they do is feather their own nests - anything changed for the better? well, the well to do areas look nice! Oh! and we've acquired more property from Peel Holdings...i'm sure when the next round of closures comes round (Probably, when a school is fit to bursting) they'll pretty up the demolition site (walk down Liverpool st or Trafford Road and you'll get a sense of what i'm talking about)
 
Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 9:48:50 AM on Monday, August 19, 2013
Is it a daft question but in cash strapped Salford with 70 persons (Councillors) 5 Mega waged FAT CAT advisors/A Super Waged Advisor (Mrs Spicer)A lord Mayor and a cast of Plenty.Then you have Heads of departments.Cleansing /Highways/Blah blah. Then they all have several underlings. Who have underlings Inspectors office staff blah blah.Now the Tax Payers have to see their money spent on another mega waged addition to the none producing Hierarchy.We need the streets cleaned/. Bins Emptied/. Grass Cut/ More Care Nurses/ Dinner ladies/ lollypop people Etc/NOT MORE FREE LOADING FAT CATS.
 
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