THE COMPANY which runs the Pyramids Leisure Centre spent £200 on a night at a lap-dancing club.
Southsea Community Leisure took the organisers of a boxing event at the Southsea sea-front centre to Elegance, a sexual entertainment venue, and charged the evening to its company credit card.
The decision caused outrage among Portsmouth City Councillors, as the authority is currently paying to keep the firm afloat.
Since December, the council has handed Southsea Community Leisure £512,000, cash the firm said it needed because it can’t make a profit.
Tory Cllr Jim Fleming has made official complaints about the firm’s behaviour, and the council’s failure to stop it, to the Local Government Ombudsman and the Audit Commission.
He said: ‘I can’t believe the firm would do this. They are effectively insolvent at the moment. This is taxpayers’ money and yet it’s being spent at a lapdancing club.’
But the firm’s managing director, Gary Milne, said the claims were inaccurate.
He said: ‘This was something we did before the deal with the council was in place. It wasn’t done on taxpayers’ money. We offered to talk to the councillors directly about this but we heard nothing from them.’
Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This is not the way I would expect a company associated with the council to behave. But they are a private firm, and what they do with their own money is their decision. We are in a contract with them, and this does not break that contract, so we wouldn’t pull out of it for that reason.’