Update as of 2019-04-01
Many of us recall of our misappropriated funds that happened in late 2017 through the first couple of weeks in 2018. Nowhere in all of the charitable and work-related business operations, this Chair has worked with during the past five decades; could any experience prepare one for the stress, loss of trust and emotional swings that would follow us through early to mid-2018.
And I am sure the entire Board of Directors felt the same way. From the beginning of this breach of trust; the Board felt it was very important to acknowledge these issues:
- Keep the public fully informed and we felt with our two FB video messages in January, 2018 and the written email and mailing updates since then, did a reasonable job.
- To admit that our financial policies could have been stronger (and apologize for such) but one thing we did learn was that if one individual is prepared to mis-lead us and present wrong statements and forge signatures on cheques, it would still have been difficult to prevent this situation
- And finally, the need to implement a new financial policy that would minimize a potential problem in the future.
After the countless hours of rebuilding our financial books, we were able to provide the Police sufficient data to lay charges against the past-Treasurer who subsequently pleaded guilty in his second court appearance in October, 2018. He appeared again in early March, 2019 and has once again been remanded til May, 2019. The total amount that we could prove to be misappropriated exceeded $60,000 and that was a huge amount to recover as this money was needed in 2018 for the re-shingling costs (of which the scaffold rental was a huge part of the expenditures).
But, we were determined to push ahead and very quickly, had some great plans in place and that included the Celtic evening fundraiser and of course, our most successful event ever – our June 23 Charity Dinner-Auction. In addition, we had so many other fundraising events like a Book signing by Marc Sequin or a Golf Tournament by our local chapter of the Building Inspectors for the County. We received ongoing support from our own Municipality of Brighton with a further grant of $25,000 (and they recently approved a further $10,000). Over the summer months, we even had the Friends of Presqu’ile Park sell our promotional items at the Lighthouse Interpretative Center and raised over $1,000 for the second year in a row. In late 2018, we received a $20,000 grant from the Parrott Foundation out of Belleville that was certainly needed. And again, we thank our membership for stepping forward and helping us rebuild our bank account balance.
It is also important to acknowledge the efforts of those Directors that stepped down this year and so we thank Founding Director Spencer Dennis and other Directors Peter Ware, David Brummell, Ruth Kerr, and Anne Butwell for their past services. We also welcomed new Director, Alan Hallworth.