Property repairs: 11 in court amid fraud charges

Ex-property repairs staff have appeared in court. Picture: TSPL
Ex-property repairs staff have appeared in court. Picture: TSPL
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CONTRACTORS and former council staff have appeared in court to face a series of charges including fraud and corruption in the first case to arise from the collapse of the city’s property repair service.

Eleven defendants appeared in the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday when the list of allegations against them were revealed for the first time.

They all made no plea or declaration.

The latest charges include allegations of corruption, fraud, perverting the course of justice and profiting from crime.

It is understood five of those who appeared in court this week are former employees at the now defunct property care department. All have since retired, resigned or been dismissed from the department.

They include James Costello, 43, Charles Owenson, 60, Martin Rennie, 51, and James Black, 64, all of Edinburgh, and John Markham, 40, of Musselburgh.

All face corruption charges.

Six contractors who had won business to maintain or repair homes identified by the property care department were also in court.

Charged with alleged corruption are Kevin Thomas William Balmer, 51, and Brendan Cantwell, 43, both of Livingston, Gordon McKenzie, 50, of Lasswade, and Graham Campbell, 62, of Falkirk, who also faces a fraud charge.

Donna Anne Crawford Owenson, 47, and Lindsay Kelly Costello, 38, both of Edinburgh, have been charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court hearing took place in private and all defendants were granted bail.

Future appearance dates in court have not yet been disclosed.

The council declined to comment.