Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY) has agreed to let investigators examine all expenses claims for the past six years – a period that includes the successful bid for the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart. Chief executive Sir Gary Verity resigned last month – officially for health reasons, but also amid allegations he had misclaimed expenses. The organisation’s chair, Ron McMillan, who said he did not believe the issue required police investigation, has also since stepped down.
Speaking at the time of Verity’s departure, a WTY spokesperson said: “Although not directly linked to Sir Gary’s resignation, concerns have been raised in relation to his behaviour towards staff and his expenses.”
Two separate investigations were launched, one regarding his expenses, the other into allegations of bullying made by former members of staff.
The former chief executive is reported to have paid back £40,000 after his departure, but following pressure from the councils that part-fund the tourism and inward investment agency, WTY has agreed to let investigators examine all expense claims over the past six years.
There has been no commitment to publishing the expenses but a report “outlining the key themes, findings and recommendations” will be made publicly available when investigations are completed by the end of June.
The Guardian reports that law firm Clarion will conduct the inquiry into the culture at WTY relating to the allegations of bullying.
McMillan, who was criticised for his initial response to the various allegations, said it was clear that Yorkshire local authorities were “looking for a significantly revamped board to take the business forward.”
He added: “I hope Welcome To Yorkshire will continue to be a highly commercial organisation which recognises that outputs in the form of economic growth are more important than inputs.
“In particular, I hope it will expand its range of activities on an international stage and that it will be allowed to invest in all of the things that are important to its success; business development, building relationships, getting out and about and attending events, engaging sponsors and influencers (current and prospective) and pursuing new sources of funding to name a few.”