Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Housing chief sacked for gross misconduct

Former BME National chair alleged to have ‘brought association into disrepute’

Lara Oyedele has been sacked as chief executive of a small housing association following a four-month suspension.

The board of Odu-Dua housing association dismissed the former BME National chair for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing on 27 January, which she did not attend. Several reasons are understood to have been given, including breach of confidentiality and bringing the 289-home organisation into disrepute.

It is understood Ms Oyedele is now likely to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal. Ms Oyedele and Odu-Dua declined to comment. A hearing at Central London County Court to determine the legitimate board is expected to take place on Monday.

The dismissal, which came into effect on 6 February, is the latest chapter in a saga that began on 14 October last year when Ms Oyedele was suspended for allegedly recruiting board members without the knowledge of the board.

Ms Oyedele claimed the board was no longer legitimate following the resignation of chair John Oke on 2 October.

In November, Ms Oyedele’s supporters announced she had been re-instated following ‘a meeting of shareholders’. As a result, Ms Oyedele installed herself in her former office, putting security on the door and changing the locks.

This led to a temporary injunction banning Ms Oyedele and her supporters from entering Odu-Dua’s premises. The injunction was lifted against the nine supporters, but not against Ms Oyedele, at a court hearing on 5 December.

Cym D’Souza, interim chair of BME National, confirmed that Ms Oyedele is no longer chair of the black and minority ethnic landlord representative body. A new chair was expected to be chosen this week.

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