A TORY city councillor found guilty of harassing an ex-business partner will not step down as a member of Chester City Council.
Cllr Max Drury, who represents Curzon and Westminster, has resigned as a Conservative Party member following pressure from council leader Margaret Parker, but will continue to serve his constituents as an independent.
He also plans to take up his position as a councillor on the new Cheshire West and Chester Council from next April, to which he was elected in May.
Chester magistrates heard Cllr Drury, 61, fell out with former business partner James Meadows of Longfield Avenue, Upton, who admitted taking money from the business saying it was an advance on his dividend but which the councillor regarded as embezzlement.
He was criticised by District Judge Nicholas Sanders for relying on his status as a councillor when caught making threats against Mr Meadows and his wife Joanne through email, telephone calls and calling at their home.
Cllr Drury, who had pleaded not guilty, told The Chronicle: “I resigned (from the Conservative Party) because that’s what you must do but I will still attend everything. I spent years trying to become a councillor. It must be nine or ten years.”
“I’m happy to be an independent. I was elected by the people and I serve the people.”
Cllr Drury added: “I took my eye off the ball. I suppose I shot myself in the foot. Because I care fervently you sometimes forget to separate from your heart and you just do things.”
A joint statement issued issued on Friday by the City of Chester Conservative Association and Chester City Council leader Cllr Margaret Parker and Cheshire West and Chester leader Cllr Mike Jones explained that the whip had been withdrawn from Cllr Drury on both authorities.
Association chairman Cllr Brian Crowe said: “Chester Conservatives quite rightly expects its elected members to act and perform to a very high standard. It is clear from the judge’s comments and the evidence heard in court that Cllr Drury fell far short of what is expected.”
The court heard Cllr Drury posted a printed email through the Meadows’ letter box, which said Mr Meadows was incompetent through drink, was suicidal and had “robbed” his company. On another occasion Drury he told James Meadows: “You are going to be dead by the weekend.”
He also turned up at the Meadows’ home to demand the company car, keys and a mobile phone and was alleged to have shouted at Mr Meadows: “My brothers from Wrexham are going to come down and kill you.”
An harassment order was served on Mr Drury but he refused to read or to sign it. PC Mark Hughes said: “He said that as a councillor he should be treated differently to everybody else and that he was above suspicion.”
Drury was fined £350, with costs of £600, ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and made subject to a two year restraining order which means he cannot have any contact with the Meadows.