OPLC Launch Investigation in OS Bidding Process Amid Allegations
July 6, 2011
It was confirmed yesterday, July 5, that the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) had launched an independent investigation into its “internal stadium procedures” following the suspension of its director of services, Dionne Knight.
Knight received sanctions after it emerged that she had carried out consultancy work on behalf of West Ham United – the club that won the bid to take over the Olympic stadium after next year’s London games over then Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
In February, the OPLC board voted uinanimously in favour of West Ham’s bid (14-0) to move into the Stratford site to the detriment of their rival bidders Tottenham, who later launched a judicial review against the decision making process.
In what has become a bitter public row between the two London clubs, West Ham has confirmed that Knight carried out consultancy work for them but vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
However, it has since been revealed that Knight is in a relationship with West Ham director Ian Tompkins, who spearheaded the club’s bid to move to the Stratford ground.
An OPLC statement said: “The Olympic Park Legacy Company has launched an independent investigation into its internal stadium procedures as a result of the allegations made concerning employee Dionne Knight.
“The auditors Moore Stephens have been appointed to carry out this investigation into our procedures.
“They have put together a team led by their specialist forensic unit.
“We are also investigating the nature of the consultancy work that Dionne Knight undertook without our knowledge or permission.
“An independent barrister will be instructed to conduct the employment elements of this investigation.
“We will communicate the outcome of both investigations when the work is complete.
“We remain confident that the integrity of our processes has not been compromised.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, one of those who ratified the OPLCs decision to award West Ham preferred bidder status, insists there was “no reason” why the case should be re-examined.
“The woman concerned made her relationship known to the OPLC and was immediately excluded from having anything to do with the bid process,” he said.
“Obviously they took steps, quite rightly, to exclude her of any involvement with the bid process and it now transpires there was a financial relationship – that is a matter that is currently under investigation.
“I have no reason to believe that this in any way will blow the decision off course.”