lbdnews24: Deposed mayor Lutfur Rahman has been declared bankrupt ahead of next week’s High Court hearing into his assets following legal costs which haven’t been paid since he was barred from office seven months ago.
The former executive mayor of Tower Hamlets in London’s East End, who was disqualified in April for election malpractice and corruption, is due to return to the Court for a three-day hearing opening next Tuesday.
This follows the six-week Election trail earlier this year when judges banished him for five years following his discredited reelection in 2014.
Costs were originally set at £250,000, but have since risen after two more court hearings, to cover legal fees of the four election petitioners led by anti-corruption campaigner Andy Erlam and Brick Lane restaurant entrepreneur Azmal Hussain who paid for the initial legal challenge.
But now the bankruptcy throws doubt on whether they will see a penny of it. The 12-month bankruptcy order was made on November 18, the Insolvency Service confirmed.
Rahman, a lawyer by profession, is listed as “currently unemployed” and living in Old Montague Street in Whitechapel.
He was first elected to Tower Hamlets Council for Spitalfields and rose in influence when the Labour group voted him council Leader in 2009.
But he stepped down a year later to run for the powerful post of a newly-created executive mayor to run the local authority’s £1.2 billion yearly budget.
He then hit a storm of controversy in 2010 as Labour’s candidate for mayor, which was challenged in a power struggle with new council leader Helal Abbas who took over as candidate after the party’s national executive deselecting Rahman and later expelling him.
Rahman hit back by running for mayor as an independent against Abbas, with backing from Ken Livingstone, and storming home in 2010 to become Tower Hamlets’ first directly-elected mayor.
But his town hall administration came under fire over land deals and grants to community groups.
It was the discredited 2014 polls for his re-election, however, that brought him down, with complaints of malpractice, voter intimidation and intercepted ballot papers by his supporters. The court judgement against him also criticised lack of police action overt the allegations.
Next week’s High Court hearing looks into his personal assets, three properties in Whitechapel and Bow that were listed when declaring financial interests as a councillor.
One property was in Deal Street, less than a quarter-of-a-mile from his town house in Old Montague Street where he is registered to vote and which was used on his election nomination papers. The other two were in Grace Street in Bow that were bought from an east London social housing association and rented out.