Tower of London governor 'behaved like child'

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The Independent Online

The former governor of the Tower of London acted like a "petulant child" when he was informed that a Beefeater he had sacked was to be offered an apology and a financial payout, an employment tribunal has heard.

Michael Day, the chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), which runs the Tower, said he knew Major General Keith Cima was "unhappy and disappointed" about the decision, but the way he behaved "was not appropriate for a person occupying his level of post".

Maj Gen Cima is alleged to have said the organisation "prostituted itself" by making the payment to Mark Sanders-Cook, who was dismissed in 2009 for allegedly bullying and harassing the first female Yeoman Warder Moira Cameron.

A few months after the apology was issued by the organisation, Maj Gen Cima was dismissed from the most senior position at the Tower of London for allegedly making inappropriate comments about his workplace and colleagues.

Maj Gen Cima is challenging his dismissal and seeking reinstatement at an employment tribunal in central London.

After the settlement with Mr Sanders-Cook was agreed, Mr Day went to see Maj Gen Cima to tell him about the conclusion of the litigation, he told the hearing.

Mr Day said in a witness statement: "Graham Josephs (HR director at HRP) and I went to brief Keith as the senior person within HRP at the Tower.

"However, Keith behaved like a petulant child, did not make eye contact and shrugged his shoulders.

"I knew he was upset but it was not an appropriate response for a person occupying this level of post."

Mr Sanders-Crook was dismissed following a series of claims made about his behaviour towards Miss Cameron, including that he swore more frequently in her company and avoided her presence.

He subsequently launched employment tribunal proceedings against HRP, but a settlement was reached instead.

Miss Cameron, from Argyll, Scotland, became the first female Yeoman Warder in the Tower's 1,000-year history in 2007.

Today, Maj Gen Cima's employment tribunal heard that Miss Cameron was "devastated" when she learned about the apology.

In a statement given to the hearing, Miss Cameron said that Maj Gen Cima told her about the conclusion of the case before a press statement was released.

She said: "I felt like giving such a statement, it would be interpreted that I had been lying about the allegations.

"I felt that my credibility and integrity was being questioned.

"When Mr Cima told me about the press release, I could tell he wasn't happy about it but I wouldn't describe him as furious. He was sympathetic to my situation.

"I recollect Mr Cima saying something similar to HRP had prostituted itself in giving the apology."

Maj Gen Cima took over the role at the Tower of London in October 2006 after a 32-year career in the British Army.

Mr Day said Maj Gen Cima "felt as though his position was undermined" after the decision was made, but should have followed the corporate line.

He added that the relationship between HRP and Maj Gen Cima was "damaged" after the incident.

After the apology, Maj Gen Cima is alleged to have made a series of critical comments about the organisation.

Mr Day added that there had been a number of problems throughout Maj Gen Cima's employment, including his general demeanour at executive board meetings and that he had made "derogatory" remarks about the Yeoman body.

Mr Day described how he called him "good Keith-bad Keith", adding: "Some of what we obtained from Keith was extremely good but there were also some real problems."

"It became apparent quite quickly that he was often prickly, unnecessarily challenging and confrontational," continued Mr Day.

"Colleagues did not find him easy to work with in a collegiate way and he did not work in the way that HRP worked."

He claimed that Maj Gen Cima had tried to "lie" throughout the disciplinary process and that he could not envisage him being reinstated in his role.

Later this week, Maj Gen Cima will give evidence to the tribunal.

He is expected to make claims that he was sacked after he blew the whistle on malpractice at the Tower of London and for taking on a culture of bullying.

HRP runs five royal palaces including Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.