Greenwich Council has refused to investigate a possible conflict of interest revealed by leader Chris Roberts’ threatening voicemail, where he demands that his administration takes the decision on whether or not the Run to the Beat half-marathon goes ahead.
Roberts is the chair of Greenwich Starting Blocks, a charity founded in 2007 to distribute funds to young sporting hopefuls in the borough.
Each year, GSB receives an allocation of free places from Run to the Beat, which began in 2008 and has continued despite vehement objections from local councillors along its route because of the disruption it causes with its circular course.
This year’s race was branded “shockingly organised” by participants after runners had to pass through a narrow gate at Woolwich Barracks and end the race on an uphill stretch at Greenwich Park.
Roberts is the public face of Greenwich Starting Blocks, whose 2009 report to the Charity Commission said it benefited from “considerable sums” from runners taking part in Run to the Beat. The charity features regularly in the council’s weekly newspaper Greenwich Time, usually with a quote from Roberts.
In September, this website revealed the existence of a threatening voicemail from Roberts left on cabinet member John Fahy’s mobile phone where he insisted that the decision on 2014’s race be made by his administration before May’s election. Roberts has previously indicated he would stand down as leader in May.
The story was picked up by the News Shopper, which published the voicemail on its website.