Nick Kavanagh breaks silence and fires at council after dismissal

Nick Kavanagh has broken his silence and hit back at Liverpool City Council after it was confirmed he has been dismissed from his role as the authority's Director of Regeneration.

The ECHO revealed last night that the council's Chief Executive Tony Reeves confirmed in an email to councillors that Mr Kavanagh's employment with the council had ceased with immediate effect.

The decision came after a council panel had sat for several days last week deliberating and deciding about the future employment of the regeneration chief.

Mr Kavanagh was arrested by Merseyside Police in December 2019 as part of Merseyside Police's Operation Aloft, an investigation into building and development contracts in Liverpool that would see Mayor Joe Anderson arrested a year later.

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Neither man has been charged.

Mr Anderson has protested his innocence and called the police case against him 'bizarre.'

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Until now, Mr Kavanagh has not commented on the situation.

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But following confirmation that he has been removed from his £145,000 a year council job, he released a statement in which he said he will 'fight to defend his innocence' and took direct aim at the council and its chief executive.

He said: "The decision of the panel is not a surprise. From the beginning, it has been clear to me that no matter what factual evidence I provided it would make no difference.

"I have stayed silent since my suspension in December 2019 because as a public servant it is not my place to comment on matters without the authorisation of my employer. I have kept a dignified silence throughout this process.

"I am no longer an employee of the council and intend to clear my name at an appeal or Tribunal.

"If it goes to a tribunal that will be independent unlike this investigation and the government review which has followed the narrative of the city council chief executive.

"At that public Tribunal, I will be more than happy to share my factual evidence and the collusion that has taken place in order to create an impression of wrongdoing and then pin it on one person."

He added: "I have always worked within the rules and regulations set out by the council constitution. I have never been inappropriately influenced in my decision-making.

"I am proud of the £8bn of investment I brought to the city in my time as Regeneration Director. I will fight to defend my innocence in achieving this."

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In his email to councillors confirming the news about Mr Kavanagh, Mr Reevs wrote: "As you know, in recent weeks there has been an ongoing Best Value inspection of planning, highways, regeneration and property management functions by Max Caller CBE, on behalf of the government.

"We are expecting to receive the report into the inspection over the coming days.

"It’s likely to make for difficult reading for staff in regeneration, and indeed the wider council, as well as for residents, stakeholders and investors.

"We must remain resilient and continue on the improvement journey that we have embarked upon."