Former Leicestershire council leader David Parsons to be asked to pay back cash for Europe trips
Former Leicestershire County Council leader David Parsons is to be asked to pay back cash claimed during a further 39 trips he made to Europe.
The Tory politician quit as leader in July after he was censured by Leicestershire County Council's standards committee over travel expenses he claimed but then failed to promptly reimburse to the authority.
Coun Parsons has since apologised and paid back more then £2,300 he claimed for trips to Europe for his former role on the Committee of Regions (CoR), which comments on EU policy and legislation.
However, County Hall auditors said they had new information from the CoR that councillor Parsons owes more money, related to journeys between January 2006 and October 2011.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
They said the council paid for him to be chauffeured to and from regional airports or railway stations and that he claimed the cost back from the CoR and should then have reimbursed the authority.
However, they said he held on to the money – and that he was now set to be invoiced for the outstanding sum, understood to be about £2,000.
Coun Parsons told the Leicester Mercury a mistake had been made and he had not received the payments from the CoR that County Hall was now seeking to recover.
A report detailing the issue will be discussed by the council's corporate governance committee on Monday.
The report said Coun Parsons received flat-rate travel and meeting allowances from the CoR.
It said: "For the majority of the 39 meetings attended, Mr Parsons was transported to and from the point of departure to Europe at the expense of the county council.
"An exercise in calculating the cost to the county council of providing the transport will be undertaken, with a view to Mr Parsons being invoiced."
Coun Parsons said: "It's not true. There has been an error."
He said there had been one occasion where a small amount was paid into his bank account by mistake in October 2006 by the CoR but after that he "did not get anything".
"Most of the trips were from East Midlands Airport," he said. "I would be driven from Kirby Muxloe to the airport, then picked up when I returned.
"I would then fill out the form at the CoR to say I had done the trip so the money could be paid back to the county council.
"I would say 'I have made these journeys – pay the county council'.
"I would never get money for it. The money goes from the CoR to the county council.
Asked what he would do if or when he was sent an invoice, Coun Parsons said: "I will go in and explain there has been an error."
The Mercury contacted County Hall and a spokesman said: "The CoR has confirmed to Leicestershire County Council that all money claimed by Mr Parsons in relation to CoR business, including travel allowances, was paid directly into his bank accounts, as requested by Mr Parsons, and not to the county council.
"The information authorised by Mr Parsons to be provided by CoR to Leicestershire County Council's head of internal audit recently confirms these payments."
The original investigation into Coun Parsons expenses was launched after a whistleblower brought the matter to light.
The standards committee said he had "disregarded four key principles – honesty, integrity, accountability and leadership".
He temporarily held on to money he was paid for trips to Europe on council business which he should have promptly refunded to the authority. At one stage, more than £5,000 had built up that should have been repaid.