Friday 24 May 2024
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Jason Zadrozny: Council leader pleads not guilty to 22 charges at Nottingham Magistrates Court

A Nottinghamshire council leader has pleaded not guilty to 22 charges including fraud, money laundering and possession of cocaine.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), who leads Ashfield District Council, appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday (July 21).

The council leader, 43, of Sutton Road, Kirkby, is charged with 12 counts of fraud by false representation and five counts of money laundering.

A further four charges relate to the politician allegedly being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax, with the final charge of allegedly possessing a class A drug.

Cllr Zadrozny confirmed he pleads “not guilty to all charges”.

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Some of the fraud charges relate to the alleged misuse of Nottinghamshire County Council funds between February 2018 and February 2021.

These include allegedly committing fraud by falsely confirming the Ashfield Heritage Society was a “genuine organisation entitled to receive funds from Nottinghamshire County Council” before intending to make personal financial gains.

These are alleged to have taken place on February 14, 2018, with the alleged intention of making a £7,500 gain from the Society; again on August 23, 2018, for £1,600; and again on February 16, 2021, for £625.

Other fraud charges include alleged attempts to withdraw monies from the Ashfield Heritage Society bank account with the alleged intention of personal gain.

This is alleged to have happened on March 21, 2018, with £2,500 allegedly withdrawn; on March 29, 2019 for £3,000; on April 3, 2018, for £2,000; and on November 13, 2018, with £1,600 allegedly withdrawn.

The remaining fraud charges relate to alleged attempts to withdraw money from the bank account of Classic Cinema Club with the alleged intention of making a personal gain.

This is alleged to have taken place on June 4, 2019, with £400 allegedly withdrawn; on June 5, 2019, involving £40; on June 5, 2019, involving £210; and on June 6, 2019, with £500 allegedly withdrawn.

The money laundering charges were alleged to have taken place between April 2018 and June 2019.

These include transferring criminal property, namely £5,000 in cash, to Helen-Ann Smith on April 3, 2018.

Other incidents are alleged to have taken place on November 13, 2018, when £820 and then £760 were allegedly deposited into his personal bank account.

The fourth charge is alleged to have taken place on June 6, 2019, when criminal property, namely £630, was allegedly deposited into his bank account.

The income tax evasion charges relate to £9,685 in rental income not being declared for tax purposes between January 2007 and February 2022.

They relate to properties at 33 High Street, Stanton Hill; 333 Stoneyford Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield; 11 Church Hill; Kirkby-in-Ashfield; and The Flower Shop at 33 High Street, Stanton Hill.

The drug charge relates to the council leader allegedly possessing cocaine on September 10, 2021.

The council leader’s legal representatives confirmed to the court this relates to a “very small amount of cocaine” which the CPS said was allegedly found during a “part and parcel search” of a property.

Cllr Zadrozny was released on unconditional bail and will next appear at Nottingham Crown Court on August 18, 2023.

The politician, who has led Ashfield District Council since 2018, is also the joint leader of the opposition at Nottinghamshire County Council.

He remains in both positions as well as being the district councillor for Larwood and the county councillor for the Ashfields division.

Cllr Tom Hollis (Ash Ind), one of his deputies on Ashfield District Council, also appeared at the court on Friday as a co-accused with the council leader.

Cllr Hollis, 30, of Yew Tree Drive, Huthwaite, is charged with two offences under the Localism Act 2011 and his charges were separate to the council leader.

A charge sheet alleges Cllr Hollis failed to inform Ashfield District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council’s monitoring officers about his disclosable pecuniary interest in a property in Forest Road, Skegby.

This is alleged to have taken place following his election to both authorities in 2019 and 2021 respectively and is a declaration councillors must make by law.

Cllr Hollis also attended court in person on Friday and was wearing a blue chequered suit.

He did not speak except to confirm his name, age, address and to also enter a not guilty plea.

He was also released on unconditional bail and will be trialled over three days in October.

His legal representatives told the hearing the trial should not take place in Nottinghamshire because he is an elected councillor in the county.

They will put forward representations for the three-day trial to take place in an alternative court outside the area, and a decision is expected on August 24.

However, if these requests are rejected, he will stand trial at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on October 10.

Cllr Hollis, who is ward councillor for Huthwaite and Brierley on the district council, is also the authority’s executive lead member for strategic housing.

He also represents Sutton West for the Ashfield Independents on Nottinghamshire County Council.

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