Former Barnet Council Leader Alan Williams has denied there are any further "skeletons in the closet" following the sale of the freehold of Underhill to Barnet FC.

Victor Lyon, the leader of Barnet Council, has instructed council chief executive Leo Boland to conduct a thorough investigation into what Tories claim was the "secret" sale of Barnet FC's existing stadium before the local government elections in May.

The deal to sell the freehold of Underhill was not discussed in any public meeting or during the election campaign and was completed under delegated powers by council officers.

A council insider told the Times Group that officers have been given a two-week amnesty to reveal details of any similar sales.

Mr Williams denies there was anything wrong in the council's handling of the affair. He said: "There are no skeletons in the closet full-stop. The Barnet Underhill sale was not a skeleton.

"It was a properly conducted piece of business that was properly publicised."

But Mr Lyon said he was fearful the Underhill saga was not a one-off.

"It is obviously a concern where there appears to be something that should have been done that has not been done. One's mind immediately runs 'was this an isolated incident or has it happened anywhere else'?

"The initial investigation which I personally did, showed to my mind that the delegated action which had been taken had not been reported anywhere and I wanted to know why," Mr Lyon said.

Mr Williams responded: "The Tories failed to read their papers or to do anything about it eight months ago when it was publicised but that does not mean there was anything wrong with it."

June 21, 2002 13:00