Council boss, 64, is suspended from his £115,000-a-year job over allegations of ‘inappropriate texts to female Ukrainian refugees’
- Nick Dawe, 64, is the chief operating officer at Epping Forest District Council
- He has been accused of sending a string of inappropriate messages to women
- These allegedly include invitations for them to stay at second home in Liverpool
A council boss has been suspended from his £115,000-a-year job over allegations he sent intimate messages to female Ukrainian refugees.
Nick Dawe, 64, is accused of sending overly familiar text messages to women who his local council helped find homes in Britain after they had fled the war in Ukraine.
The chief operating officer at Epping Forest District Council has been championed publicly for his work in helping to relocate Ukrainian women in Essex.
Nick Dawe, 64, chief operating officer at Epping Forest District Council, has been accused of sending overly familiar text messages to Ukrainian refugees who have relocated to Essex
He even drove a van to Ukraine in April with ‘humanitarian aid’.
But he has now been accused of sending a string of inappropriate messages to women, including invitations for them to stay at his second home in Liverpool.
Mr Dawe is said to have also sent texts commenting on one glamorous Ukrainian woman’s ‘beautiful eyes’ and repeatedly sent hugs and kisses in his messages.
Council bosses were alerted to the allegations by one female refugee’s host British family before it is understood others made similar accusations over the summer.
One Ukrainian woman told The Mail on Sunday: ‘[The messages] were like kiss, kisses, not like friends. Like hug, kiss. For me, hug and kiss is not about friends. I just remember he invite me and mum to Liverpool, he has house in Liverpool. He sent picture of garden in Liverpool, that I remember.
‘I understand that he talks to me like a man, not like friend. And I text him sorry, we can just be like friends in the hub [community event], and that’s all, not like a man and woman, don’t text me, that’s all.
‘I text: sorry, don’t text me, don’t invite me somewhere, because I understand if it will continue it will be like you know, because I am not 20, I know how men think.’
Epping Forest District Council is understood to have launched its investigation into Mr Dawe about six weeks ago. Pictured: The civic offices in Epping Forest
The council is understood to have launched its investigation into Mr Dawe about six weeks ago.
A source with knowledge of the investigation said: ‘The bosses are very worried because there are multiple women – it’s therefore taking a long time to resolve.’
Mr Dawe lives in a £700,000 detached home in Kent and has married twice.
A friend close to the council boss said: ‘I don’t think he’s done anything wrong. I think he’s been used as a scapegoat for various things. All he has done from day one is help. He has driven to Ukraine, for God’s sake.’
There are now 135,900 Ukrainians being hosted by British families in the Government’s sponsorship scheme.
Most are women and children because men between 18 and 60 are banned from leaving Ukraine.
Mr Dawe said: ‘I cannot comment as a process has yet to start. No allegations have been made by any Ukrainians. There may be a story in about a month’s time but it may well be different.’
A council spokesman said: ‘It would be essential to follow proper HR protocols and procedures in order to prevent prejudice to any investigation.
‘We are therefore sorry we are unable to comment in more detail.’