Regulator investigates housing charity over ‘luxury’ spending

The Charity Commission has opened a probe into a housing and homelessness charity, The Ashley Foundation, citing serious financial concerns

The regulator has been alerted to concerns about purchases of luxury goods on the former CEO’s personal credit card, which were reimbursed by the charity. The Ashley Foundation operates in the Blackpool area and reported an income of £2m for the financial year ending 31 May 2018.

These purchases do not appear to be linked to the charity’s day to day activities, and so investigators will examine whether the transactions were reasonable and in the charity’s best interests.

The Commission is also aware that charity properties were sold to a third party and then re-sold on the same day for a significantly higher value. The properties are now being managed by the charity under a management agreement with a third party, the terms of which raise potential concerns.

Due to its serious concern that there may have been mismanagement and/or misconduct within the charity, the regulator has opened a statutory inquiry which will examine the administration, governance and management of the charity.

The issues under investigation include the charity’s financial management and controls; the trustees’ decision-making with regard to the disposal of properties and agreements entered into with a third party; trustees’ management of conflicts of interest; any unauthorised trustee private benefit; and any potential financial loss to the charity.

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were.

By Pat Sweet

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