EXCLUSIVE: GANGSTER Paul Ferris has been sensationally linked to a drop-in centre at the heart of the Steven Purcell drugs and corruption probe.
3 JUL 2010 updated 27 NOV 2012
GANGSTER Paul Ferris has been sensationally linked to a drop-in centre at the heart of the Steven Purcell drugs and corruption probe.
Ferris has been a regular visitor to The Castro gay and lesbian centre.
Police and council chiefs are investigating claims that cocaine shame city leader Purcell helped a politician pal get £50,000 of public cash to run The Castro venue in Glasgow.
Ferris was there twice in recent weeks, speaking to his pal Jeanie McDougall and her girlfriend councillor Ruth Black, the boss of the centre – which is now the focus of a probe into alleged financial irregularities.
Black and McDougall, both 45, were good friends with Purcell and socialised with him in the months before he stood down citing stress.
The former Labour high-flier later admitted he had taken cocaine.
It also emerged he was the target of an underworld drugs blackmail plot.
Today, we can reveal the astonishing gangland links of Paisley-born McDougall, who is known to police and has spent several spells on remand.
As well as being a friend of convicted gun-runner Ferris, McDougall is the step-sister of Glasgow drug baron Stewart “Specky” Boyd, who was killed in a car crash in Spain seven years ago.
Black and McDougall, who live together, are being probed as part of a wide-ranging police investigation into Purcell, 37.
Black has already been quizzed by cops over claims that she sold “speed” – amphetamine – at Glasgow City Chambers but strenuously denies the allegations. It is not known if McDougall has been questioned.
Both police and the council – who are carrying out parallel inquiries – have been alerted to Ferris visiting The Castro, in the Merchant City area of Glasgow.
A source said: “To say there are concerns about Ferris wandering in and out of a publicly-funded organisation is an understatement.”
An insider at The Castro said: “Ferris passed me on the stairs one day wearing a hat and I thought to myself he looked right dodgy.
“The last time I saw him he came in and then Jeanie and Ruth disappeared with him into the office.”
Yesterday, Black insisted Ferris was at The Castro to speak to McDougall about setting up a charity scheme.
She said: “Jeanie has been discussing setting up a project with Paul to prevent reoffending. It’s something they both have a passion for.
“They go back a long way – about 20 years. His visits have been to do with an organisation down south called Unlock, who Paul Ferris has spoken to.”
McDougall did not return calls from the Record yesterday but Black, speaking on her behalf, confirmed her links with Boyd’s family.
She said: “He’s her step-brother. Jeanie’s dad moved in with Stewart’s mum after her parents spl it up. They are not blood relations. End of. And Stewart’s dead now.”
The police probe into Purcell is looking into allegations about both drugs and cronyism.
These include claims that Purcell used undue influence to help Black win the right to run The Castro over a rival bidder.
A council spokesman warned that, despite only opening in spring, the centre could be closed within days because of a series of “financial irregularities” flagged up by whistleblowers.
Yesterday, Black said: “I think it will take a week but I am confident I am completely in the clear.”
Ferris, now an author who claims his criminal days are behind him, was not available for comment.
Strathclyde Police said their inquiry was ongoing.
EX-gangster Paul Ferris has denied leading a bid to blackmail former council chief Steven Purcell.
Shamed Purcell, 37, quit weeks after the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency warned him of the cocaine-use plot.
And convicted gun-runner Ferris spoke out after being linked at the weekend to a another politician caught up with former Glasgow City Council leader Purcell in an alleged corruption probe.
Ferris said: “I was not involved in a plot to blackmail Steven Purcell over his drug taking. Once again the gossips have put two and two together — and come up with five.
“I do not know Steven Purcell. I have never even met Steven Purcell — I have no links whatsoever to this man.”
Ferris, 46, from Ayrshire, was caught up in the storm after visiting old pal Jeanie McDougall at the Castro gay and lesbian centre in Glasgow.
McDougall is the step-sister of drug baron Stewart “Specky” Boyd, who was killed in a car smash in Spain in 2003. She is also the partner of councillor Ruth Black.
Purcell is being investigated over claims he used undue influence to help Black win the right to run the Castro.
Black has also been quizzed over claims she sold amphetamine at Glasgow City Chambers, which she denies.
Ferris added: “I have known Jeanie for years and decided to pay her a visit. Her partner, Ruth, happens to have links with Purcell.”
A CORRUPTION-probe councillor pal of shamed former civic leader Stephen Purcell last night accused a colleague of sexually assaulting her.
Ruth Black, 45 — also at the centre of drugs allegations — said a Labour comrade put his hands between her legs in Glasgow City Chambers.
But she denied her decision to report the alleged grope to police TWO YEARS after it happened was “revenge” against the party for suspending her over claims of serious financial irregularities at a gay and lesbian centre she runs.
Recalling the incident with the other councillor in July 2008, the lesbian politician said: “He was always very suggestive, saying things like ‘You’re gay because you’ve not had a real man’.
“One day I was standing in the corridor when he said, ‘You look like you need a cuddle.’ I turned my back and he came at me and touched me sexually. He put his hand between my legs.
“I said to him, ‘If you ever do that again, I’ll rip your face off.’
“He replied ‘Don’t be stupid. I only patted your a*** — most women would be flattered’. Two councillors overheard that.” She said Purcell was “supporting” her in her complaint — and added: “This may come across as sour grapes but it’s not like that.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed they had received a complaint and were probing “an alleged indecency”.
A council spokeswoman said: “This is a police matter.”
Earlier this year Ms Black faced allegations that former Glasgow Council chief Purcell helped her win a £50,000 contract to run the Castro Centre in the city. It now faces closure.
She has also been quizzed by cops over drug claims — which she again denies.
“Gay rights groups in Glasgow have spoken out against the controversial decision to hand over the running of the Glasgow LGBT centre to one of its senior councillors.
Councillor Ruth Black who heads up ‘Castro’, will be responsible for running the recently bankrupt Glasgow LGBT Centre, a one-stop shop for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
“The now-defunct Glasgow LGBT Centre had an Ian Dunn Memorial Room, where gay rights campaigners met. As the ‘Castro Centre’, it was headed by then Labour councillor Ruth Black, who was also involved with Pride Scotia.
The old Centre included a cafe/bar, four offices which were rented to LGBT-friendly businesses, and two meeting rooms called the Jackie Forster Memorial Room and the Ian Dunn Memorial Room. It was regularly used by many LGBT community groups for meetings and events.
In 2008, the Centre took the controversial step of banning ScotsGay magazine from its premises on the grounds that its adult content is incompatible with the Centre’s status as a family-friendly venue.
(That is the second time that i have found Glasgow LGBT trying to distance themselves from John Hein’s “business”. Good for them. That’s exactly what they should have done. Can read more via scribd link at bottom of page)
In 2008, the Centre moved to new premises in Bell Street, Glasgow.
Donaldson was a conman and gay – a bad combination since his crimes got him into jail where he was confronted with would-be gay-bashers.
In Shotts Prison, he was getting a hell of a time before fellow inmate Paul Ferris, former lieutenant of Glasgow Godfather Arthur Thompson, stepped in to stop the bullies.
Now, out of the blue in 1992, Donaldson contacted Ferris. He needed advice about some files.
He told Ferris: ‘I just brought some of the stuff, Paul. I think I’m in big trouble.’
Ferris scanned the material file by file. There were intimate details about a range of judges who sat in courts in and around Edinburgh.
It seemed some of these judges were gay and had been followed by cops when they went to gay parties.
P.I.E member no 194 – JOHN HEIN – Scotia Pride, ScotsGay, Ian Campbell Dunn, LGBT Youth, Magic Circle, Child Abuse & Money Laundering