The disgraced ex-councillor caught up in Kingswells-gate in Aberdeen has managed to officially gag the councillor who turned him in. David Maitland, who used to be the Labour councillor for the Kingswell’s, has gone to court to seek a interim interdict against Liberal Democrat Councillor Matthew Duncan who wanted to release details of a secretly taped conversation. Maitland had to quit the council after he was accused of trying to influence the vote on an application for Aberdeen FC’s new stadium. However, now another councillor has backed up the accusation. Scott Cassie said that Maitland offered a deal in return for him supporting the application. Cassie says he was called by Maitland the day before the application came before the council. Cassie said: "He (Maitland) reminded me that there was a sports and leisure application coming up in my Garthdee ward and he mentioned that several of his Labour colleagues were unhappy with this application. The clear inference to me, and I was in no doubt about it, was that if I supported the stadium application he would make the objections to the Garthdee application go away." This sounds very like a scene from the Godfather!
Maitland was one of the strongest supporters of the proposals before he resigned. The official reason for quitting was stated as to protect his family from the abuse suffered over his support for the stadium. Councillor Duncan disputes the official version and suggests Maitland resigned over the tape of their conversation. Although the interim interdict prevents release of the full transcript of the tape, we have obtained some of the details. On the tape Duncan asked: "If Scott (Cassie) had supported the stadium, would he have got the sports centre?" To which Maitland is heard to reply: "Absolutely. It was cut and dried."
Unsurprisingly, Aberdeen's ruling Labour administration has distanced itself from the unfortunate Maitland. Council leader Len Ironside said: "The Labour Party recognised that he had breached the code of conduct and we took action immediately. Councillor Maitland was suspended from the Labour Party and he was encouraged to resign." Maitland has denied any wrongdoing - and a council inquiry has found that he did not act illegally.
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Planning officials and the planning committee have already given their backing for the 30,000-seat stadium. Aberdeen City Council is due to make its final decision on proposals today (Wednesday).