Allow me to introduce readers to Jim Ballantyne. As is the case with the majority of the crooks in the Rangers and Rangers Lite narrative he is a certified accountant. He worked for his father’s successful accountancy practise and lived life as large as his expanding waistband. As a kid he was never without his RFC Tammy. He probably wore it to bed. He dreamed of playing for Rangers but he wasn’t good enough. However as we have just discovered he played a key part in yet another fix in the Rangers narrative.
Ballantyne is an opportunist. Over a few beers with the boys in Heraghtys he informed them that he came home one day to find his wife in bed with another inordinately more attractive woman.
Many men would have been crestfallen at this discovery. They would have looked back and come to the conclusion that one’s wife was faking her orgasms and was seeking sexual succour in the loins of another. But not the bold Jim who evidently sees Charlie Sheen in his mirror whereas everyone else sees an obese bald platypus who is Jim Traynor’s doppelgänger.
The bold Jim asked if he could join in. The girls, caught red-handed, agreed. For the next few months Jim played sexual triangles. However a part of him still resented his wife’s betrayal. As we have seen with his sacking of an Airdrie coach after two weeks Ballantyne can be ruthless when he feels betrayed.
His consternation became clearer when he informed his cronies that he was going to divorce his wife and kick her out the family home and end their unusual arrangement. This he duly did and over 20 years later he is still with the attractive blond other lady who flirtaciously butterflies around Airdrie’s hospitality lounge in daring outfits from mini skirts to expensive ballgowns. Sadly at this stage in life she is more ‘Absolutely Fabulous‘ than fabulous. Age can be such a cruel mistress.
The other wives in their twinsets and pearls roll their eyes when they see her arrive in her latest haute couture. Catty calls of ‘where’s your lunettes‘ can be heard under their breath. The mutton dressed as lamb is wearing a tiara.
Back in the day she was the Alexandra Bastedo of Airdrie and was a regular at her beau’s club, Seventh Heaven.
The bold Jim with his third degree handshake, his lifelong Rangers support and his equity in RFC, ascended the greasy pole of the SFL with ease. He was in such a strong position that he thwarted an attempt, via a vote of no confidence, to oust Regan.
My biography of Ballantyne is incomplete. There is more to this man than a fake tan and whitened teeth. I gently chided Joe O’Rourke of the Celtic Supporters Association for not asking the salient questions during his meeting with Doncaster and McKenzie. I was wrong to do so and duly apologize. Joe was accompanied by someone (Harry Brady?) who knew precisely what questions to ask. The full report of this meeting was published yesterday in http://www.celticminded.com.
There are many takeaways from this report. The one I will present first is to my mind the most explosive:
“A discussion took place about the SFL. Both ND and RM asserted that the SFL’s record keeping was poor and would not provide much for an inquiry. When the issue of potential title stripping was discussed, it was revealed that the decision to recognise Newco’s claim to RFC’s titles was taken by the SFL board that included David Longmuir and Jim Ballantyne, when they decided to invite Newco into the SFL 3rd Division. When it was suggested to ND that Jim Ballantyne’s documented shareholding in Rangers RFC could have created a conflict of interest in this decision, ND agreed that this potentially could be looked at by an inquiry but that there would be no obligation by anyone including Jim Ballantyne to co-operate with the inquiry. He did not question our understanding that Ballantyne did have a shareholding in Rangers as documented by a Channel 4 investigation.
Given their assertion that the SFL’s record keeping was poor, their view was that it was unlikely that a record or a minute of the decision to recognise Newco’s claim to Rangers historical titles, would be available however this issue could potentially be re-examined in the future by an enquiry. The SPFL bore no responsibility for this state of affairs of the organisation they merged with. Their view on the potential lack of co-operation by figures still active in Scottish football was noted.”
Let’s look at this in more detail. The Chairman of Airdrieonians FC, who must act with the utmost respect to the SFA, is not obliged to cooperate with an SFA inquiry? I get the impression that Doncaster, who is doing his utmost to prevent a judicial review, is being disingenuous.
However the bigger question is who gave the die-hard Hun and Rangers shareholder the authority to award the titles won by Rangers to a new club? Was Regan at this meeting to award Scottish Cups? Was Doncaster at this meeting to award SPL titles? Did David Longmuir, another die-hard Hun who received a significant pay-off to walk away, award league cup titles to a new club?
Let me state this in industrial language for emphasis:
This is a Clusterfuck of a fix.
A judicial review of the actions of these bent individuals cannot come fast enough. As Sevco/TRFC is a new club, as stated by Charles Green’s counsel, this will be a slam dunk.
How convenient that the existence of a record or minute of this seminal meeting has apparently been lost or misplaced/shredded. Did Longmuir negotiate a bigger pay-off predicated on keeping his mouth shut about this fix?
When one reverts to the report, much more is revealed. The discussion on EBT’s was instructive:
“RM and ND insisted the legality of EBTs was irrelevant to the SPFL as prior to 2011 they had no specific rules on how clubs carried out their tax affairs. This excused the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission (LNS) from regarding the five cases of guilt accepted during the FTT, or the accepted liability for the Wee Tax Case. The lawfulness of tax affairs had not been considered by the football authorities as the SPFL believed Rangers simply misunderstood their tax position, not that they were illegal.”
Misunderstood my Aunt Fanny – or Agatha if you will. Hugh Adam revealed in 2002 that they knew that they were cheating. They continued to cheat for another nine years. But guess what Timmy no rules were in place until after the cheating had ended when Craig Whyte took Dickson to task. However the SFA have rules. Does anyone have any faith in Regan and his bent cronies applying these rules?
A judicial review should compel the severely compromised bastard that is Stewart Regan to apply his own association’s rules.
In the discussion apropos the changed timeline and scope of the LNS commission, Doncaster and McKenzie offered the following:
” The SPL set up an investigation from 1 July 1998; this was not the initial advertised date of the LNS Commission. McKenzie carried out the investigation but Rangers failed to provide documents asked for prior to November 2000, so he could only address the subsequent period to LNS. The administrators of Rangers said the earlier documents were held by Murray Group and that they were unable to acquire them.
McKenzie prevaricated when asked what steps he took to acquire the documents.
He asserted that the WTC was dealt with in the LNS Commission as 3 players: Ronald De Boer, Flo and Moore were all addressed in the Commission. De Boer, Flo and Moore had both DOS and EBTs. The earliest was from 2000 during the operation of the Discounted Options Scheme. No distinction was drawn between the “Big” and “Wee” tax cases as ND & RM continually asserted that LNS was not about tax. It was all about the player registration. Those 5 EBT cases where guilt was admitted, were similarly not treated differently by LNS.”
This is evidently the default position of the SPFL. However Bill Nimmo Smith went much further. He stated that there was no question of dishonesty and that EBT were a legitimate means of tax avoidance that were available to all clubs ergo no competitive advantage.
Quite a comprehensive statement by Old Bill who was charged with the narrow remit of registration. Did Stewart Regan insist on these fallacious assertions in the commission’s report?
Rod McKenzie was apparently given the run-around by Duff & Phelps and Murray International Holdings :
” Most of his (RM) information for the Commission was taken from the BBC documentary. Rangers only provided him with 29 almost identical documents, with names and other information redacted. He was given documents from another source but would not state what this was. It was only during the enquiry that Duff and Phelps confirmed the redacted documents. All initial enquiries were passed by them to MIH and their lawyers who would not forward the documents requested.
RM pointed out that they were charged by LNS for non cooperation with the enquiry For this they were merely admonished.”
So nothing to hide Mr. Nimmo Smith. No question of dishonesty? So why the fuck were the documents redacted, and withheld by MIH from the inquiry? Why were only 29 redacted documents offered when it was known that 55 players received EBT’s? Were these players the ones with no side letters/contracts?
Doncaster and McKenzie were asked whether the SPFL would work against or block a Judicial Review. Their response was as follows:
After a bit of conversation both said they wouldn’t be obstructive. When they were asked if they would be willing to have a preliminary meeting with counsel, at the same moment that Neil Doncaster said yes, McKenzie answered, “Depends on who it is”. On the subject of a Judicial Review, McKenzie was doubtful that it would get standing. Neil Doncaster said that would ultimately be a matter for the clubs to decide if the SPFL would contest the right of fans to have a review,
McKenzie suggested a Judicial Review could only look at two items:
1. The conclusion by the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission that Rangers did not play ineligible players.
2. The level of penalty arrived at by the Lord Nimmo Smith Commission was insufficient.
Point 1 goes to Sandy Bryson’s evidence. When it was stated that Sandy Bryson interpreted registration rules in a way that came as a surprise to most in Scottish Football, McKenzie commented – ‘It was an interpretation that came as a surprise to me too.’
How disgenuous of McKenzie. Both points one and two are time barred. It’s encouraging to see Sandy Bryson’s spurious assertion held up to ridicule, but it’s evident that they are lying and would fight against a Judicial Review tooth and nail. If a Judicial Review was approved the SFA would suddenly shake-off their inertia and conduct a whitewash.
The atmosphere in the room changed somewhat when Doncaster and McKenzie were challenged on when they had foresight of the impending meltdown at Ibrox. It’s well documented that Doncaster met with Whyte in London in November 2011.
“When asked when they were first made aware of the looming RFC admin RM responded, ‘the day before they filed for administration.’ (February 2012). Both Neil Doncaster and Rod McKenzie denied specifically knowing any earlier than this beyond rumours in Scottish Football. They were specifically asked about the SPL board meeting of 31st October 2011 and a reconvened board meeting in Mid/late November that year where the SPL/Fans TV deal was discussed. When it was suggested to Neil Doncaster that the exploration of an SPL TV deal was dropped due to “changed circumstances in Scottish football” he denied that this was because of meetings or contact with Rangers FC officials about their intention to enter administration. They continually denied any advance knowledge even when it was put to them that there are documents in the public domain which suggest the contrary. At one point ND asked, “Where are you going with this?”
It was suggested to them that some in Scottish Football would want to lend a helping hand to RFC to prevent them from defaulting early in the Season (and ahead of the transfer window). An example was provided of Dunfermline who were one match away from being unable to meet their fixture obligations – (v Falkirk in 2013) and defaulting on their fixtures. Their case was treated very differently
Neil Doncaster disputed this as a potential scenario, as an earlier Administration of RFC (less 3 months of PAYE/NI) would have meant HMRC not being the preferred creditor, able to block the CVA. It was commented on by those in the meeting, that he had an impressive grasp of these potential HMRC CVA blocking percentages from that period in late 2011 (prior to admin in 2012).”
It’s inconceivable that Craig Whyte did not apprise Doncaster of the meltdown at Ibrox. Doncaster’s volte face on broadcasting negotiations was evidently predicated on information that was provided by Whyte.
The report continues:
“When the prospect of SPFL board minutes being opened up to a transparent investigative enquiry were discussed, they expressed unhappiness at this given the nature of some of the sensitive (including commercial) discussions which take place. Were they to be asked for specific information they may provide it (potentially redacted) but there would be no willingness to provide general access to SPFL documents from that period. This again suggested the need to ask specific legal questions rather than provide full transparency. Those at the meeting were given the impression that the full transparency fans have asked for was in question even from the SPFL. There would potentially be no obligation of anyone to co-operate with an enquiry.”
My decision to exclusively publish minutes from an interim meeting has clearly ruffled their feathers. Just think how much more would be revealed if they were compelled to release these documents by order of The Court of Session.
When the two delegates of the CSA reverted to the same club issue, they received the following response:
“RM said they were same club because ultimately they (the SPFL) wrote the rules. They were dismissive about even debating the issues “We’d never agree” and treated it as a debating point rather than a fundamental belief of many fans. When asked for a description that could be written down and would stand up in court, they talked about it being “a feel” an “emotional attachment”. When pointed out this “feeling” would not stand up in court, RM responded – “Anyway this is not really relevant to the discussion”
The arrogance of McKenzie takes one’s breath away. Even when Charles Green’s counsel has unequivocally stated that Green created a new club from a basket of assets, and that Rangers had no legal personality, McKenzie effectively asserts that it’s his ball and his decision who plays with it.
The question of Dickson’s involvement at the SFA was discussed in the following excerpt from the report:
“Some of those still active in Scottish football, who were directly involved in the administration of Rangers FC during the EBT years, were discussed, with a view to ascertaining the view on how suitable it was for them to be still intrinsically involved in the running of the game, including on SFA committees.
They both seemed surprised that a Rangers official was on the Club Licensing Committee of the SFA in the year that Rangers were cleared to play in Europe despite their admitted tax liability in the Wee Tax Case. They were also unaware of the official’s current role at the SFA or even the workings of the SFA Committee he now serves on. RM was of the opinion that some officials were less important in the administration than others and made the point that it is the only the SFA who can rule on who is Fit and Proper. RM was also of the view that it is only Directors of a club/company who can be charged with disrepute. They accepted that there were a number of directors of Newco this could potentially apply to.
Both were also of the belief that David Murray would not be welcomed back into Scottish Football.”
The original report runs to north of 3,000 words. I omitted the narrative on how Lite paid the LNS fine and costs as I had previously revealed that it would be withheld from broadcasting payments. This was not news to me.
Ballantyne and Longmuir’s fix must be challenged. It’s outrageous that they have gotten away with it for so long.
The Diamond Dog has fleas and must be deloused by a Judicial Review