Robert Bourne, together with wife Sally Greene, gave £100,000 to the Labour Party in 1999-2000, in three instalments of £33,000. The final payment was made in November 2000, just when Bourne's Legacy company was made preferred bidder for the Dome (this bid has now failed). He is a close friend of Chris Smith, the former Culture Secretary, and has given more than £6,000 to Chris Smith's local Labour Party branch since 1997. He had been a Tory supporter up until the 1997 election, giving the Tories more than £40,000 and is a friend of advertising boss Charles Saatchi (they play tennis together every week). He is also a friend of Lord Tim Bell, one of Thatcher's closest advisers. Lord Bell advised Legacy on its Dome bid.
He is a millionare property developer and Chairman of Clubhaus (he was paid £125,000 in 1998 and 1999), a golf club and health club business with 21 clubs in the UK, Germany and Spain. He is also a Director of several property companies: Highaid Ltd, Kentplot Ltd, Markrich Ltd, Lightgrade Ltd, Baronport Ltd and Tunplan Ltd.
He headed a consortium that tried to buy the Dome, Legacy, offering £125 million to buy the site - one of the partners in the consortium was the Teesland Group, Chaired by a business associate of Robert Bourne, John Burnley. He wanted to turn it into an e-Dome, "It should stand for enterprise."
Bourne was a founder of Local London, providers of serviced office space, and Joint Chief Executive of Ex-Lands, a property company listed on the stock market which went on to create Clubhaus with another company, IMG Developments (which Bourne also worked for).
Bourne and Greene live in a £3 million house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. On 23rd October 1999, they held an extravagent party ('one of the most lavish occasions anyone could remember') at their house for Peter Mandelson's 46th birthday. The party, for 30 guests, is estimated to have cost £5,000. The guests included Lord Alli, Roger Liddle, Ben Wegg-Prosser (Mandelson's former Special Adviser), Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and Sabrina Guinness (former girlfriend of Prince Charles). Mandelson is believed to have been introduced to Robert Bourne through their mutual friends Sabrina Guinness and Lady Carla Powell (wife of Thatcher's top Downing Street adviser Lord Charles Powell).
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