September 15 2014 Latest news:
by Kate Scotter
Thursday, July 24, 2014
A court ruling has laid out how hundreds of charities and good causes will receive the funds they are owed after a Bawdeswell-based charity was shut down.
More than 1,810 charitable causes are owed £1.68m after the Charity Commission shut down the Dove Trust in July last year amid concerns about its management.
An interim manager was appointed to the trust and its trustees, including former Norwich City goalkeeper Bryan Gunn and Donna Naghshineh, were excluded from its control.
The charity’s fundraising page charitygiving.co.uk was suspended and its bank accounts restricted, as was the £1m Bryan Gunn Appeal because it is a charitable activity of the Dove Trust, sharing the same charity number.
A sum of £709,000 has been recovered, and a High Court judge this week ruled that the available funds should be distributed amongst the beneficiaries in proportion to the amounts owed.
Mr Justice Sir Launcelot Henderson said there should not be any distinction in treatment between those who contributed before the appointment of the interim manager and those who contributed afterwards, an approach known as “pari passu”.
Sir Launcelot said he felt this was the “best method of achieving fairness between all the donors and beneficiaries in the circumstances”.
The news has been welcomed by the Charity Commission.
Kenneth Dibble, chief legal adviser at the charity watchdog, said: “We appreciate the patience of the charities and good causes who are still waiting for the money they are owed by the Dove Trust and we are pleased that this clear ruling by the court means that the interim manager can now proceed with a lawful distribution.
“We recognise that charities, good causes and generous donors may still be disappointed that their donations will not be paid in full and we are looking into all available options for recovery of further funds which are owed by the charity.
“Ultimately it is the trustees who are responsible for the management and administration of the charity to account for any shortfall of funds.”
The Charity Commission investigation into the Dove Trust is ongoing.
Keith Colman, Dove Trust founder, said: “I am pleased that the court has reached a conclusion on the basis of distribution which will allow an interim payment to be made to the many charities and good causes who have been awaiting payments.
“It is likely that there will be significant further recoveries, for example gift aid payments and the realisation of other assets, and these ought to be used to make further distributions.”