WALTHAM FOREST: Details of charity's financial meltdown emerge (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Details of charity's financial meltdown emerge
THE EXTENT of the financial meltdown at a community development charity with close ties to Waltham Forest Council has been revealed.
A report by an administrator, brought in to rescue O-Regen in May, said bailiffs regularly turned up at the charity’s offices and suppliers refused to deal with the organisation.
Trustees at the charity, which has been running at a loss for a number of years, called in a forensic accountant in April this year after becoming concerned about unspecified “ongoing issues”.
The accountant said there were virtually no useful account files at the charity’s offices and found staff had not used a system to monitor expenditure.
No files detailing grassroots grants to local projects could be found, with £60,000 earmarked for 2011/12 described as ‘not available’.
The review said there were significant delays in financial reporting to the board, which was chaired by Conservative group leader Matt Davis and also featured Labour members Khevyn Limbajee and Terry Wheeler.
This left little time to take action on expenditure in the financial year.
The accountant concluded there was virtually no financial management at the organisation, with no system to monitor or control budgets.
Trustees suspended the three most senior member of staff following the publication of the accountant’s report.
Police also launched an investigation into the charity’s affairs are concerns were raised by Hackney Council.
The Guardian is awaiting an update.
The administrator said it is unlikely that a new management team will be found and predicts the charity will be forced into liquidation.
The charity owns the Paradox Centre in Chingford, the Epicentre in Leytonstone and parts of the Score centre in Leyton.
The administrator’s report said the charity is owed ‘considerable rent’ from one of its tenants at the Paradox, which include the police and charity Africa Stone Foundation.
O-Regen also owns The Click Centre in High Road, Leytonstone, and the Bell Centre in Holloway Road, Leytonstone, which is fully leased to Redwood pre-school for just £50 a month.
But the administrator reveals it also owns 12 ‘leasehold investment properties’, which provide rental income of £120,000 a year.
Waltham Forest Council paid the charity in advance for the provision of education at the O-Regen College at Webbs Industrial Estate in Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, until the end of this month.
The administrator estimates this cost at £20,000 a week.
The report also states that the charity was due to receive ‘substantial sums’ from the council for joint projects.
The administrator decided to keep services going at the site to prevent the charity being sued by the authority.
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