A week ago I published a blog article about TDCs interim Chief Executive Colin Carmichael, in which I made serious allegations about him concerning an incident in which he was said to be involved in when he was employed by Camden Council in 1994.
This incident was to become a central issue in a high profile Industrial Tribunal hearing which took place in 1998, after Mr Carmichael had left the employment of Camden Council.
I was privy to some of the internal e-mails relating to the incident whilst I was employed by Camden Council and the articles I have published about Mr Carmichael were based upon my memory of these emails.
At the time of my writing the articles it was my honestly held belief, based upon my memory of the emails, that Mr Carmichael had been alleged to have been responsible for a sexual assault upon a female member of Camden staff.
Without any complaint from Mr Carmichael about the accuracy of my articles, I spent yesterday consulting contemporary records and discovered that my recollection of e-mails and events between 1994-1998 was wrong. Mr Carmichael did not sexually assault anyone nor is there any suggestion that he did.
I now publicly apologise to Mr Carmichael for the distress I have caused as a result of my sloppy and untruthful journalism. I have now deleted one of the posts and revised the other.
I have learnt a very serious lesson and will be more rigorous in my approach, rather than relying upon memories which are almost 30 years old.
I did however discover, from the records I consulted that, Mr Carmichael is alleged to have witnessed an incident in 1994 at which two members of female staff were reported to have been sexually assaulted and/ or harassed by a drunken council officer from Mr Carmichael’s team.
The reports claim that Mr Carmichael although witnessing the incident, failed to act to stop it.
Further, that despite complaints to him by at least one of the victims he apparently did not believe that the sexual assault and harassment, even though it was said to have included molestation and groping, amounted to gross misconduct.
It was reported that Mr Carmichael did not take disciplinary action against the perpetrator and instead swore those involved in the incident to secrecy.
These claims were all made on oath at an Industrial Tribunal in 1994 and were covered extensively in the local press.
Although these events and allegations are almost 30 years old they are in my opinion still of relevance now.
As interim Chief Executive Mr Carmichael is also TDCs Head of Paid Service which requires him to become involved in dealing with Human Resources issues, which include the disciplining of senior officers who report to him.
As I have written before, it is said that Corporate Director Gavin Waite is facing allegations of gross misconduct which involve matters of sexual discrimination and harassment.
Although my original article contained what I now know to be untrue allegations about Mr Carmichael, for which I have apologised, questions must be asked about his involvement in the forthcoming Gavin Waite case.
Personally I feel it would be wrong for someone who has been alleged to have covered up an incident of sexual assault and harassment, to have any managerial involvement in a disciplinary process which relates to sexual assault and harassment. Even though this claimed cover up took place almost 30 years ago.
The council is in the early stages of recovery from several years of leadership by an alleged workplace bully and her said to be workplace bully boyfriend, who is also reported to be facing charges of sexual harassment and discrimination.
What the council needs in these difficult circumstances is a Chief Executive with zero tolerance to any abuses of the TDCs Dignity at Work Policy.
I reiterate my apology to Mr Carmichael.