‘I want to clear my name’ says East Lindsey district councillor

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A prominent East Lindsey district councillor has appealed to the Horncastle News to help clear his name after strenuously denying reports he was taken to court for failing to pay his Council Tax.

Coun William Gray, who lives in Horncastle and represents the Roughton ward on ELDC, was named and shamed alongside 18 other councillors in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire for not paying last year’s Council Tax on time.

According to reports - based on a FoI submitted by BBC Look North - Coun Gray was one of four councillors taken to court.

However, Coun Gray says he was ‘shocked’ when his photograph appeared in the reports.

He admits there was a delay paying his Council Tax for a property he owned with his then wife in Kirby on Bain. But, he insists he was advised not to pay, because the couple were going through a divorce.

He says as soon as the divorce was finalised, he settled the outstanding bill.

Coun Gray says ELDC was made aware of his circumstances throughout the process after receiving a letter from his solicitor

Coun Gray said: “I have never been to court in my life, except for my divorce.

“I can’t understand why these reports are saying I refused to pay and was taken to court.

“That was not the case.”

Coun Gray says the first time he was aware of the reports, he was on his way back from visiting his mother in hospital.

He added: “When I was told, I was shocked and surprised.

“I have been trying to find out where the information came from.

“It is damaging and hurtful when these things are reported.

“Until speaking to the Horncastle News, no other media outlet has spoken to me.

“I am glad of the opportunity to put my side. I want to clear my name.”

Coun Gray says during his divorce, he was advised by solicitors not to pay his Council Tax bill, claiming he would have then been responsible for all his and his then wife’s debts.

He added: “My solicitor wrote to ELDC and explained the circumstances.”

Coun Gray stressed he paid the outstanding £977 as soon as his divorce was finalised.

An ELDC spokesman refused to confirm Coun Gray wasn’t taken to court.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm that the debt has been settled.

“We expect all our residents to pay their Council Tax promptly and we will actively pursue anyone who doesn’t pay their Council Tax on time, to ensure that it is paid.”

• According to the reports, five councillors were late with payments in East Lindsey and four in Hull.

There were also three in Boston and two each in North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and West Lindsey.