Finance claims against Sheffield tenants’ rep dismissed

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AN APOLOGY has finally been issued to a former leader of a Sheffield tenants’ organisation – almost a decade after claims of financial mismanagement led to the closure of her organisation.

Jean Gleadall, former chairman of the organisation Sheffield Tenants and Residents Together, has received a letter from Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole saying sorry on the council’s behalf.

In 2003, the organisation was accused of ‘misappropriating’ £266,000 in council funding which Mrs Gleadall said it had never received. The figure in fact referred to rent which had not been charged by the council for premises used by the organisation in the city centre.

Allegations of financial mismanagement were found to be untrue.

Mrs Gleadall claimed that then Sheffield Council housing director Peter Morton, now chief executive of Sheffield Homes, and cabinet member for housing, Coun Chris Weldon, had conducted a ‘smear campaign’.

In a public meeting at the time, she said she felt ‘the council had used unsubstantiated information to hatch a plot to close the organisation down’.

In his letter to Mrs Gleadall, now deputy chairman of Wisewood Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, Mr Mothersole said: “As far as I am concerned your reputation during your period with START is unblemished and I would also like to thank you on behalf of the council and congratulate you on the achievements you made for tenants in this city. I would like to apologise for any distress.”

Mrs Gleadall said: “I am relieved to put all this behind me, but was always confident the truth would come out.

“I believe the council wanted rid of START because it thought we were against the creation of Sheffield Homes.”