December 15, 2020 5.20 pm This story is over 35 months old

North East Lincolnshire names new deputy after fraudster scandal

Turmoil for Grimsby’s first Conservative administation

North East Lincolnshire Council has appointed a new deputy leader in the same week that his predecessor stepped down after business links with a convicted fraudster were revealed.

Conservative Councillor John Fenty had set up a business with Alex May, who was previously convicted and jailed for six years for his part in a multi-million scam.

Mr Fenty said the pair were no longer business partners and on December 14 he stepped down from his role with the council.

The dealing with Mr May was further complicated by his attempt to acquire £1,000,000 of shares in Grimsby Town FC, of which Mr Fenty is one of the majority shareholders.

The club on Monday night announced it had rejected the bid by Mr May, which would have been used as a contribution towards the cost of a new training facility for the club and local community.

They denied the application was a bid to acquire the club itself or a controlling interest in it.

Humberston and New Waltham councillor Stan Shreeve has since been appointed as his replacement as the new deputy leader of the council. Councillor Shreeve will retain his cabinet role in charge of finance and resources.

Councillor Shreeve said: “I share the leader’s passion about making North East Lincolnshire a more prosperous, pleasant and safer place for all our residents, businesses and visitors and it’s a huge honour to be invited to be deputy leader.

“In that role, as well as my responsibilities for finance and resources, I’ll be looking to continue to support the leader and cabinet colleagues in taking the borough forward into 2021.”

North East Lincolnshire Council leader Councillor Philip Jackson and now former deputy leader Councillor John Fenty. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Council Leader Phillip Jackson will take on the portfolio for regeneration, skills and housing previously held by Mr Fenty.

This includes economic strategy, inward investment and business support, regeneration, assets (corporate, commercial, community) and estate management, all aspects of housing, skills and employability.

Councillor Jackson said: “Stan’s skills and experience will help us maintain the huge progress we’ve made in the last 18 months and his finance background will also be a big asset in not only making the most of the exciting opportunities the area has, but also in tackling the challenges we know we face going forward.

“Our focus will remain firmly on what our residents want to see delivered and building on what we’ve achieved in such a short time.”

Councillor John Fenty, former deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, skills and housing at North East Lincolnshire Council. | Photo: North East Lincolnshire Council

Meanwhile, opposition councillors have called for an investigation into Councillor Fenty’s business dealings with Mr May and whether there was any impact on the authority.