The Mill digs in on Sacha Lord story

Sacha Lord

Independent Manchester publisher The Mill is sticking by its story that questioned whether a company controlled by music events promoter Sacha Lord was entitled to receive a £400,000 Arts Council of England grant.

Mill editor Joshi Herrmann has said he will apologise and take the story down today (21 May 2024) if the founder of Parklife and the Warehouse Project provides evidence the claims made are wrong.

He says lawyers for Sacha Lord have insisted that the company that made the grant application, Primary Events was, in fact, “involved in providing event management including bar staff, events supervisors, event managers, marketing, artist liaison and ticketing” when the Arts Council application went in.

Joshi Herrmann

In an unusual move Herrmann threw a challenge to the Mill’s readers – or Millers, as he calls them – to go through the documents and provide further scrutiny of the evidence he based the story on.

“So here’s how I suggest we resolve this. Lord’s lawyers have demanded we take down the story by 4pm tomorrow and issue an apology. So far, they have provided no evidence that disproves the story. But if they produce that evidence, I will take the story down. Not only that, I will make a big deal of it, and I will apologise publicly for getting it wrong.” 

For his part Sacha Lord has strongly denied the story and lawyers acting for the music promoter and clubbing entrepreneur have given the disruptive online publisher until 4pm on Tuesday to remove the story and apologise.

Lord, who appeared at an event with earlier this month, has confirmed to us that he has taken legal action against The Mill over the article ‘Exclusive: Did Sacha Lord cheat his way to £400,000 of public money during the pandemic?’ published by The Mill, a publication owned by The Millers Publishing Company Limited, on Thursday 16 May 2024.

A spokesperson for him said: “I can confirm Mr Sacha Lord has instructed solicitors and a specialist defamation KC and has started legal proceedings against The Millers Publishing Company Limited and its publication The Mill Manchester in response to a defamatory and factually incorrect article published Thursday, 16 May 2024.

“We vehemently disagree with the article and strongly dispute the accuracy, reliability and transparency of its sources.

“Furthermore, the latest review by Arts Council England (dated December 2022) and in reference to the grant provided to Primary Event Solutions Limited, concluded that Arts Council England was satisfied with the evidence provided by Primary Event Solutions Limited and that no misuse of public money had been found. This outcome was explicitly provided to The Mill ahead of publication. 

“Since 2020, The Mill Manchester has published nine separate articles critical of Mr Lord, and as such we are saddened but not surprised by these latest additions to their campaign of negativity against him.

“The Mill and its founder, Joshi Herrmann, advocate for truthful, transparent and quality journalism and we are disappointed that these values and journalistic standards have not been upheld by their own publication.

“No further comment will be provided at this time.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has stonewalled any attempt to make the story about Lord’s role as Night Time Economy Adviser to Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester.

We asked if the GMCA was content that the Mill story is either incorrect, or contains insufficient detail to warrant The Mayor taking steps to remove him from his position as his high profile night time economy adviser, or if they had any additional information. 

A Greater Manchester Combined Authority spokesperson said: “Sacha Lord is an unpaid adviser to the Mayor of Greater Manchester and his businesses are completely independent of Greater Manchester Combined Authority. As such, Greater Manchester Combined Authority had no involvement in the writing or submission of this application to Arts Council England. Any questions related to the content of the application should be directed to the applicants and any on the awarding process to Arts Council England.”

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