Glasgow gay and lesbian centre: eviction begins

Christopher Brocklebank August 13, 2010
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A gay and lesbian centre in Glasgow run on public money is to be evicted from its premises after a series of financial irregularities has come to light.

According to the Herald Scotland, the Castro Centre, which is run by councillor Ruth Black, may have a week at best before being finally and forcibly closed down.

Following an investigation by Glasgow City Council’s auditors, a report was passed to Strathclyde police who are now investigating matters pertaining to the Castro’s finances.

The centre had previously received a core funding grant of £50,000, now withdrawn, and Ms Black has been suspended from her position in the Labour party.

However, it is believed that the matter will not be complete with the eviction of Ms Black and her long-term partner Jeannie McDougall. Ms Black has been linked to the allegations of drugs and cronyism surrounding disgraced gay former council chief, Steven Purcell, and Ms McDougall recently described herself as the “enforcer” for her late stepbrother, an underworld figure killed in Spain several years back.

The city council said that a number of questions put to Ms Black remained unanswered and that those questions have now been sent to the police.

The questions are believed to centre around a series of issues regarding the Castro Centre’s financial management, including alleged non-payment of tax and National Insurance for staff, despite deductions made from wages, the employment Ms Black’s son (employing relatives runs contrary to council grant rules) and operating with no public or employee liability insurance.

There are also questions about huge phone bills, irregularities over payments to and from gaming machines, and the use of the grant to pay for a car.

Ms Black said that the Castro would continue trading without official premises. However, with its debts standing at £44, 000 and their grant withdrawn, it would be doing so insolvently.

A council spokesman said to Herald Scotland: “The process for eviction has begun.”

More: Glasgow, Scotland, Scotland

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