LONDON: Control of the London Olympic stadium is being taken over by Mayor Sadiq Khan after a corruscating report into the mishandling of the legacy conversion of the venue.
He laid into mayoral predecessor Boris Johnson after an independent review revealed “a catalogue of errors” prompting massively increased conversion costs after the 2012 Games.
Khan said: “I ordered the review into the finances of the stadium to understand how key decisions were made about its transformation and why costs were allowed to spiral out of control.
“What has been presented is simply staggering. Not for the first time, it reveals a bungled decision-making process that has the previous mayor’s [Boris Johnson’s] fingerprints all over it.”
Khan ordered the investigation from forensic accountants Moore Stephens in March 2017 after it had been revealed that the bill to taxpayers for converting the centrepiece of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games into a multi-purpose venue had climbed to £323m.
The London Legacy Development Corporation, the body which operates the stadium for the Greater London Authority, claimed with the venue’s retractable seating were the biggest cause of the rise in costs.
West Ham, who have a 99-year lease on the 60,000-seat stadium, made a one-off contribution of £15m to the conversion costs and pay £2.5m a year in rent. The total price tag for the stadium, which also has a new roof, is estimated to be £752m.
The club responded to the report by saying the Premier League club had “entered a fair and competitive tender process” to become anchor tenant.
The Premier League club view the concession agreement signed in 2013 as “a watertight, legally-binding contract” and remain “absolutely committed to its terms for the entire 99-year duration”.