Dame Shirley Porter, Lady Porter DBE (born 29 November 1930) is a former British Conservative leader of Westminster City Council in London.
Jewish heiress of the Tesco supermarkets fortune, Dame Shirley whilst leader of Westminster City Council oversaw the "Building Stable Communities" policy, which was later judged unlawful by the House Of Lords, Britain’s Highest Court. She sold off social housing in Westminster in order, in her words "[to] deport the poor of the borough". The Westminster social housing stock was sold to the rich at an above average discount, as they were more likely to vote for her party, a process known as gerrymandering.
Britain’s highest judge Lord Hoffman described Porter's action as political corruption. The chronic shortage of social housing in Westminster with a waiting list of over 3000 homeless families living in Bed and Breakfasts and temporary accommodation has been attributed to Dame Porter's corruption. The law lords agreed that she should repay a £37 million surcharge to the Westminster Council because of the ratepayer’s money she had lost by selling council properties at substantial discounts. They said that her behavior had been "corrupt" and a "deliberate, blatant and dishonest misuse of public power".
The loss to social housing was estimated by the District Auditor to be over £37,000,000; a surcharge of £27,000,000 was levied on her in 1996. In order to escape prosecution she absconded to Israel, a country with which she has dual nationality in 1993, and lived in self-imposed exile until 2006.
When ordered by the courts to disclose her wealth in January 2002, Dame Shirley, who inherited more than £60 million, claimed that her fortune had dwindled to only £300,000. That included the value of all her jeweler, her paintings and all her cash in the bank.
In 2004 the matter was resolved out of court with the Dame agreeing to pay £12,000,000. This money will go towards the building flats for the disabled unemployed to rectify the chronic shortage in social housing in Westminster which her policies caused. The Council has issued a statement that the balance of £27,000,000 will be written off.
Even though I've been following this case for the last few years, I'm still mystified as to how big this woman's balls are. Essentially, she owed the council 27 million quid, said she only had 300,000 grand to her name. Was told that she was full of shit, subsequently agreed to pay less than half of what she conned out of tax-payers' wallets and now has the nerve to move back to this country, buying a home worth 5 times as much money as she said she actually had.
And The Law have basically said that's alright then.