Jun 182017


If you haven’t yet read ‘Baywatch’, my earlier post on this subject, then I suggest you do.

In that first post we established that Mark Vincent James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, is in partnership with Stephen James Corner and Warwick Estates Property Management Ltd, (said to be Corner by another name), in three companies, Century Wharf (One) RTM Company LtdCentury Wharf (Two) RTM Company Ltd and Century Wharf (Three) RTM Company Ltd.

Century Wharf

RTM means ‘Right to Manage’, a vehicle by which those owning or leasing apartments in a block may exercise some control over the running of that block. An RTM is a company limited by guarantee having no share capital and with each member usually being liable to a nominal sum such as £1 in the event of it all going belly-up.

That there are three Century Wharf RTMs suggests that each represents a different block on Century Wharf, which covers a considerable area on the east bank of the River Taff, to the north of Clarence Road, the A4119.

It’s worth considering the timeline for these three companies. All were Incorporated 18 October 2012, with Steven James Corner as a founding director, but he resigned from all three on 21 December 2012. He re-joined all three on 27 November 2014, as did Stephen John Kass. James also joined (One) and (Three) on that day, but for some reason he’d joined (Two) five months earlier, on 27 June 2015.

Despite being involved with all three RTMs I have only found one lease in Century Wharf held by James, this being 186 Hansen Court. Which makes it reasonable to conclude that either he has other properties in Century Wharf that we don’t yet know about, or that he’s involved with the RTMs in a ‘professional’ capacity, a possibility I’ll discuss later.

In addition, we know that James owns the leases on two properties near to where the A4232 lands on the west side of the Bay. These are 6 Davaar House and 9 Davaar House. As we learn from White Pages (see below), Patrycja (D) Nowak, the young Polish woman I wrote about in Baywatch, has lived at both 9 Davaar House and 186 Hansen Court.

Ms Nowak living in two different properties leased by Mark Vincent James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, was obviously a perfectly proper landlord-tenant relationship, and this blog will not stoop to suggest otherwise.

Ms Nowak, you may recall, is said to be the woman who fell from a seventh-floor flat at Century Wharf. Knowing that Ms Nowak has lived at two addresses leased by Mark Vincent James it’s not unreasonable to assume that her fall might have occurred at another property owned or leased by him.

It’s worth adding that the relationship between James and Corner seems to be strengthening. For in March they formed a company, Building and Estate Solutions Today Ltd, the only other director being a Mark Philip Carter, who seems to be based in Brighton.


Quite obviously, Mark Vincent James doesn’t live in any of the properties he leases in the Bay; he lives, with his devoted and pious wife, in Carmarthen. Which means that the properties in Cardiff Bay are investments, intended to swell the James family fortune beyond even that which Carmarthenshire Council Council and assorted lawyers have thus far achieved.

Which takes us to the heart of the issue, and why so many of James’s neighbours in Cardiff Bay are unhappy with his behaviour, and the company he keeps. It’s because many of those living in the buildings we’ve discussed are permanent residents, and they bought their properties in order to live in them. A number of these permanent residents are retired and elderly.

While on the other hand, we have those, like Mark Vincent James, who own or lease properties in the Bay as investments. And because they’re investments, it follows that their owners wish to maximise the return on those investments.

Some two-bed flats on Century Wharf and elsewhere in the Bay are currently advertised for rent for as little as £650 pcm, which will cover the mortgage and provide a regular income for the holder of the lease. However, much more can be made by renting out flats for short stays.

Because the real money is to be made from holidaymakers, weekend visitors, business visitors, those attending conferences, sporting events, and others in Cardiff for short periods who prefer self-catering accommodation to hotels. Equally clearly, and especially when these short-stay visitors are stag and hen parties, there will be disruption for the permanent residents.

As we read in ‘Baywatch’, one of the companies involved in the rental business in Cardiff Bay is Squarefoot Estate Agents, a company owned by Michael James Corner through another of his companies, Imaginative Property Group Ltd. Squarefoot (or Square Foot, as it’s known to Companies House), also sells properties in Cardiff Bay.

Another company involved in the Cardiff Bay letting business is A Space In The City, and Companies House tells us that Corner is again a director. In fact, this new company, Incorporated as recently as 1 December 2016, is now wholly owned by Corner’s Imaginative Property Group Ltd.

And as we’ve seen, Corner is also the man running the three Century Wharf RTMs. This is achieved by him controlling, by various means, the leases, or the votes of leaseholders, for 80 – 90 properties on Century Wharf. So with anything between 80 and 140 attending the AGM it’s clear that his block vote will trump the individual leaseholders unless there’s a very good turnout and they’re united.

This is further helped by Mark Vincent James serving as chairman at these AGMs, and refusing to allow questions that might embarrass him or his partner(s), while also ensuring that ‘troublemakers’ are not allowed to participate. If this sounds familiar, then of course it’s how James has run Carmarthenshire County Council for too long.

Through A Space in the City, Squarefoot Estate Agents, Warwick Estates and other companies Stephen James Corner controls the leases of many properties in Cardiff Bay. These properties are run to maximise profit and by so doing make life miserable for others, including many retired people. His front man now appears to be Mark Vincent James.

The irony, or tragedy, here is that the three RTMs were set up originally by residents in order to free themselves from one exploitive agent in the form of Peverel OM, the company mentioned in this Guardian article. Instead, they eventually fell into the clutches of Corner, Kass and James. Talk about frying pan and fire!

The deeper problem might be that too many flats have been built in Cardiff Bay. If not too many, then no attempt made to separate those wanting a quiet life and those prepared to rent out their investments to stag parties. When rules and agreements do exist to limit the uses to which these flats can be put, Corner and others like him seem able to waltz around them.


Mark Vincent James is in business with a man, Steven James Corner, who set up a company, Imaginative Property Group Ltd, with a woman, Barbara Kahan, who is accused by the The Sunday Times and others of allowing her name to be used in setting up UK companies that are used by criminals to launder money.

The address now given for the Imaginative Property Group is 98 Davaar House, a building where Mark Vincent James leases two flats. Given Corner’s link with Kahan, and James’s business links with Corner, we’re entitled to ask:

Is Mark Vincent James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, the man who wants to make a blogger homeless, Private Eye Shit of the Year 2016, now linked with property companies that might be laundering money for criminals?

click to enlarge

What we know for certain is that Mark Vincent James is involved with companies riding roughshod over residents in certain blocks of flats in Cardiff Bay. Various permissions and lease conditions are breached for the personal benefit of Steven James Corner, Mark Vincent James and Stephen John Kass. These three now control the Right to Manage companies that were set up to defend permanent residents from people like them.

I think the time has come for Mark Vincent James to make a clean breast of his activities in Cardiff Bay. How many properties does he own or lease? Before becoming a director, and then chair, of the RTMs, did James declare to other leaseholders – as he was required to – his pecuniary interest (of which others only became aware when they realised his relationship with Corner and Kass)?

Should the public be concerned that a man embroiled in a shady and little known sector of the property jungle is also the chief executive of a Welsh local authority? Has he declared his property dealings in Cardiff Bay to his employer, Carmarthenshire County Council? (Though seeing as he is chief executive, and controls everything on the council, to whom would he declare it?)

And what is the ‘Welsh’ Government’s view of Mark Vincent James’s dealings in the Cardiff Bay property market, and the disreputable company he keeps? Shouldn’t this be a matter for concern?

The ‘Welsh’ Government might also care to question whether any dealings it has had with Mark Vincent James, or any advice it might have accepted from him, could have profited James and those he is involved with in the Cardiff Bay property racket.


In an attempt to establish the propriety of Mark Vincent James’s excursion into one of the more opaque areas of the property business I have written to the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales. The current holder of that post is Nick Bennett, a former CEO of Community Housing Cymru, and an ‘insider’ to the tips of his shapely and well-manicured fingertips.

I don’t expect Bennett to tell me that James has done anything wrong (even if he has), because one thing that has become clear in recent years is that in the eyes of the ‘Welsh’ Government and others Mark Vincent James is a man without fault. Telling me that either he has his own flock of guardian angels or else he knows where a lot of bodies are buried.

But anyway, I’ll go through the motions. Here’s a copy of my letter to Bennett.

♦ end ♦

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51 Comments on "Baywatch 2"

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Big Gee

Hmmm – the plot thickens! Make sure that the right people get to read this blog Jac.

Jacqui Thompson (@caebrwyn)

Interesting that the key players in this have also refused to provide other RTM Board members or leaseholders with detailed breakdown of expenditure, and that Messrs Corner and James have had board meetings comprising just the two of them. When challenged on this they claimed that it was all above board as they were not discussing Century Wharf….There appears to be a reluctance to provide information, documents and legal advice and anyone that challenges their actions, or asks for documentation, is accused of questioning their integrity. All sounds very familiar…
As for declarations/conflicts of interest by Mr James as chief executive of the council, and as the WAO pointed out, he failed to do this, or even withdraw from the meeting when being personally, and unlawfully bankrolled for the libel indemnity at an Executive Board meeting.


Jac Very interesting. Please keep us informed of the response from Mr Nick Bennett PSOW.

Tessa Finch

Wow! This is really astonishing! I echo your comment/query – how the fuck DOES Vinnie get away with all this?

Rob Morgan

Do you have the previous article on Owen Smith?


Poor old Mark James, being “investigated” when his only “crime” is to behave within the long established “norms” of Welsh and U.K public life. He has probably gone further than most but that is utterly consistent with a man who always strives to be the best at what he does. The sense of entitlement to fill his boots by any means overrides any other consideration such as duty, integrity, honesty etc.

Carmarthen will probably build a statue for him in his own lifetime with a punch line a la Sinatra – “I did it my way” .


Jac and Dafis – I know nothing about Mark James but in terms of ‘how the fuck does he get away with everything’, I am reminded of Peter Higson, the Chair of the Betsi Board, and Martin Jones, the Director of Workforce of the Betsi, as well as Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Chair of CAIS. I’m talking criminal activity here of which I have documentary evidence. As for going to Mark Drakeford – don’t even waste your time. Drakeford’s idea of dealing with the crooks at the Betsi was to get around the table and talk to the unions. Furthermore I informed Drakeford of a major research fraud carried out by psychologists at Bangor University. He did not reply to me but a few weeks later took part in a press release promoting the intervention that was the centre of the fraud. He is a complete wanker who put patients in danger. Tawel Fan exploded in his face and it was only then that he placed that bunch of charlatans in special measures. No-one has been disciplined or prosecuted over the abuse in Tawel Fan ward, but the nurse who blew the whistle on it all was suspended, received death threats and now works in England. No action was taken over the criminal activity that I gained evidence of, although there was enough there to justify prison sentences. I took a leaf out of your book Jac and started blogging about at all, naming those responsible. It is it seems all that we can do.


Question 1 to WLGA (Maybe send same to M Drakeford at same time, or a courtesy copy with a view to refering to him later should WLGA prove “unhelpful” )

Question – Please define the scope for undertaking additional roles and securing additional earnings that is specified or implied in the form of contact used to underpin the employment relationship that exists between a County Council and its CEO and and the Heads of Service/Function such as Education, Highways and Engineering/ Infrastructure, or Social Services, that report to that CEO.

Is this formally documented with express inclusions and express exclusions ? Thank you for your assistance in this matter and in anticipation of a detailed reply.
Yours sincerely, grovelling pleb with uppity tendencies.


In the event of the above failing could a resident of Sir Gar ( must have a few of those on here !) write to his/her M.P indicating that all attempts thus far to shed light into a few dark corners have failed. Jonathan Edwards sits for the East constituency while the West is covered by a Tory M.P, and Llanelli by a Labour M.P.

Indeed the responses of all three might be of interest. Do they refer the writer to Cynulliad’s Minister or do they undertake to raise the matter and pursue it ?

Tessa Finch

I was told of something a Nigerian national observed of the UK – he said that there is just as much corruption here as in his own country, it’s just that here it is rather better hidden.

Andrew Redman (@andrewredman11)

Cardiff Bay is NOT interested at all. “It is up to the councils. We do not have the finance or the manpower to police what councils do” That sums it up . Whatever CCC do regardless of law/protocol or procedure they are answerable to nobody .It is a situation that has been allowed to operate for far too long .The majority of the councillors lack ANY backbone to call to account and the VERY few that do are threatened with legal proceedings. No doubt funded by the folks of Carmarthen. There seems to be a long standing culture that having an executive led council is the way it should be. NOT very democratic.Keep up the good work Jac. No doubt James would dearly like to silence you as he has tried in such a vindictive way and continues to do with Jacqui Thompson.


Not entirely surprised by your disclosure though it irritates the hell out of me. I had occasion to attend a social event in Carmarthen and remarked to an old acquaintance, a rebel in his time, that the 2 guys in deep conversation nearby were a right pair of dodgy fuckers. To which he replied, “they are not all that bad they bring money into the area and can be very helpful when you need a council decision quickly” ! The 2 with their heads almost touching were your Mr James and the esteemed Vice P of TrinityStDavids Global Universities Inc (or whatever name it goes by today ! )


Sounds like the Secret Handshake Society at work. Wonder who is scratching his back…

JE Lloyd

Sorry, Jac, I know it’s not relevant to this article, but I thought it would be interesting to exchange views on how the current Tory/DUP impasse could be worked to Wales’s advantage.

Here would be my price for offering the Tories support on a “confidence and supply” basis (a combination of nation-building and bread & butter):-

1. Get rid of the offensive “Henry VIII Clause” from the Wales Act. Why should Westminster reserve the power to overrule Welsh legislation (especially as they didn’t impose this on the Scots).

2. Establish a Welsh jurisdiction. Welsh courts to interpret and adjudicate on disputes regarding Welsh laws.

3. Devolve policing. Welsh law enforcement system answerable to the Welsh parliament for Welsh laws.

4. Fair funding for Wales based on Holtham’s recommendations.

These would be big wins for Wales even if Plaid took a short-term electoral hammering …

John Young

With Swansea nominated to be the Judicial Capital of Wales with all the associated kudos that would bring.

CJ and his cronies would have a coronary. Another reason for doing it.