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'If there's nothing to hide, publish the emails' Harrison tells BHETA

Published: 17 July 2009
BHETA member Charles Harrison yesterday demanded that the association's Board publish the confidential emails over which it has issued him with an injunction.
'If there's nothing to hide, publish the emails' Harrison tells BHETA
Harrison has written an open letter to the BHETA Board, released exclusively to our sister website HousewaresLive.net, in which he says that the association's efforts to gag him will do nothing to prevent him from standing up against the proposed formation of a "super federation".

The letter is as follows (HousewaresLive.net omitted two paragraphs for legal reasons):

Ladies and Gentlemen

You had your day in court yesterday and congratulations - you won - the court ruled that the e-mails were confidential and I can't publish them. It has cost me £10,000 already and you have put me on notice that you will be seeking to recover another £9,509, not awarded yesterday, plus further costs. If you believe this will stop me fighting to stop BHETA joining the BJGF you are very much mistaken.

In your e-mail to members on 13 July you say "It is not true to suggest that the Board have anything to hide". Well let's be quite clear. I am suggesting that the Board has something to hide. I cannot publish the e-mails but you can. You have proved your point in court, now show you respect the members of BHETA by publishing the e-mails.

Mr Crosby-Browne has gone on record on HousewaresLive.net as saying "the controversial e-mails were simple budget discussions". I challenge this description. Does he really think that members will find it credible that I would have put at risk over £20,000 just to publish "simple budget discussions"?

Throughout the debate on the merger I have tried to stick to the issues and give members information so that they can make a considered decision at the EGM on 23 July. Members will be aware that it was me and not the Board that told them about the £1,700,000 Capitation Fees and how poorly BHETA would be represented on the BJGF Board. Would the Board have ever published the Heads of Agreement if it wasn't for the campaign I and others mounted? You should explain to members why the Board had not made these facts known to members before my intervention.

You should also review the content of the e-mails, letters, press releases and EGM pack sent out by the Board and consider the number of references to me and my views - many represented inaccurately. It appears that the only way you have to defend the strategy you are putting forward is with a constant attack on me and a strategy that you would not let me put to the members. You called this EGM, so you should not insult the intelligence of the members by believing they are taken in by the constant "spin".

The choice is yours. Publish the e-mails immediately and defend your actions or accept that the members will judge your credibility and take account of your refusal to so do when they cast their votes or give their proxies.

Charles Harrison

Comments

Published prior to March 2014
By Simon Silverwood
Vote of no confidence:.. a vote showing that the majority do or do not support the policy of the governing body.

Hmmmm...
Published prior to March 2014
By Pam Plant
What on earth is going on here? I had decided to sit on the fence and watch this story unfold episode by episode. But I have to say that I now believe the BHETA board has gone too far.

How could the Board take an injunction out against one of its members? I believed for over 9 years, that I was there on that Board representing the members, and all their opinions, not just those that suited me. I believed that the Board stood for transparency and if a member asked a question about board discussions he would be given a full and honest answer. I have known Charles for many years, and I have always found him to be straightforward and absolutely honest. In fact he was invited to the last housewares committee at the end of June, just before I left, and I know that everyone present that day was impressed to such an extent he was asked to join the Committee because of his knowledge and well thought out suggestions. He had read so much and done so much research, it was agreed that he had a better grasp of what was going on than anyone else there. I would certainly be very careful before I suggested anything he said was inaccurate or misleading. That was just a couple of weeks ago, and look at the sorry state we find ourselves in today. I cannot sit by and watch a member who has raised questions (as I did myself) about this whole strategy get such poor treatment and be expected to pay at least 10,000, but possibly 20,000 for the privilege!

I know the people on the Board and those on the housewares committee, and I would think a lot of them are squirming very uncomfortably now. I would ask each and everyone of you to examine your conscience and tell the Chief Executive to call off the legal boys. But my reason for writing is to say please make sure your vote counts. If you can go on the 23rd, I will see you there and we can make sure the Board are made fully aware that their actions are totally unacceptable. If you cannot get there please please choose someone you trust to listen to the arguments fairly and then vote on your behalf as they see fit.

As I have already said, I will be there so if you would like me to be your proxy let me know immediately. I understand that all proxy votes have to be registered at Brooke House by next Tuesday, so there is no time to waste. My email is pamplant@btinternet.com and my mobile is 07774 132199.

I have loved being part of this industry and loved the individuals who make up this great sector. I am really excited about my new role as Development Director at Spring and Autumn Fair, and in this capacity I look forward to catching up with you all. But please let s keep our pride, let s stand together right now, have a proper debate and let them know we won t allow bully boy tactics to win!

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