Northampton

Northampton South MP's election bid funded by 'missing millions' firm

David Mackintosh, the Conservative MP for Northampton South Image copyright PA
Image caption David Mackintosh became the Conservative MP for Northampton South in May 2015

A Tory MP's general election bid got donations from a firm at the centre of an inquiry into the disappearance of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money.

A total of £30,000 was sent to David Mackintosh's Northampton South Fighting Fund from 1st Land Ltd.

It received council loan money intended to rebuild the town's football ground.

Mr Mackintosh, who signed off the loan when he was Northampton Borough Council leader, told the BBC he welcomed all the investigations currently under way.

He said he looked forward to their conclusions, saying "nobody wants to know this more than me."

Mr Mackintosh's election agent said he would inform Conservative Party headquarters of the BBC's latest revelations.

Bank statements analysed

The police are looking into "alleged financial irregularities" surrounding the £10.25m earmarked for the project.

Three donations of £10,000 each, in April and May 2014, were made into Mr Mackintosh's Fighting Fund by individuals linked to developer Howard Grossman, who owned 1st Land Ltd.

Along with another company, it received £8.75m of the council's money to facilitate the project at Sixfields, which was halted after contractors were not paid.

The BBC has seen analysis of bank statements indicating payments made by 1st Land Ltd to a company and two individuals who went on to make donations to Northampton South Conservatives.

The individuals and company were declared as being donors to the Electoral Commission:

  • Apple Consultants received £10,000 from 1st Land Ltd on 3 April 2014. The same sum was then paid by them to Northampton South Conservatives the following day. A director of this company is Gary Robert Platt, a business associate of Howard Grossman
  • Leonard Western received £10,000 from 1st Land Ltd on 25 April 2014. £10,000 was then donated on 7 May. Mr Western's son Keith is a former employee of Howard Grossman
  • Al Mayfield received £11,000 from 1st Land Ltd on 9 May 2014 and £10,000 was transferred by him to the Conservatives three days later. Mr Mayfield is a family friend of Mr Grossman

When the BBC approached Leonard Western, he denied any knowledge of the payment and stated he was a Labour Party supporter.

Keith Western would neither confirm or deny the payment was made.

There is no definitive evidence the council's loan money found its way into the election campaign, as 1st Land Ltd received a fraction of its financing from another source.

In a statement, Mr Grossman said it would not be appropriate to comment "while official investigations are taking place".

Allegations 'outrageous'

Neither Gary Robert Platt or Al Mayfield could be reached for comment.

In February, the BBC revealed claims made in court documents in an action between the football club and Howard Grossman and others, that millions of pounds of the loan money had been misappropriated.

The claim was settled out of court and the parties signed a non-disclosure agreement.

The BBC later revealed how some of the money appeared to have been diverted to finance a string of unconnected planning applications by Mr Grossman and his associates.

At the time Mr Grossman said there was no evidence of misappropriation, describing the allegations as "outrageous and false".

In relation to the source of the donations Suresh Patel, Mr Mackintosh's election agent, said: "I will have to ask David if he knew about this.

"David is an MP and I will pass this on to the central office".

In a statement, Mr Mackintosh said "as I have said continuously, I welcome the investigations under way into allegations relating to Sixfields Stadium and look forward to them concluding so everyone can understand what happened".

A spokesman for Northampton South Conservative Association, said: "The donations were received from the named donors and properly declared. This has been verified on our paperwork and declared to the Electoral Commission."

Apart from the police investigation, two separate inquiries are looking into the way the borough council made the loan to Northampton Town FC.

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