Article Title:Counter-claim of fraud at Pride Centre
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com News Staff
Published on:30th March 2004 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:2268
Text:5.00pm: A former Auckland Pride Centre employee has denied he perpetrated fraud against the Centre and has counterpunched with allegations that the Centre's trustees have been operating deceitfully and have purposely misled funders. Martin van der Reit has publicly revealed that he is the person accused of fraud by the Centre's trustees, who say that the Centre is out of pocket by approximately $30,000 because he allegedly misappropriated money. Their allegations and documentation are being scrutinised by the Auckland Police fraud squad which has yet to decide if charges can be laid. Additionally Van der Reit has accused trustees of deceitful behaviour, saying they intentionally fabricated information provided to funding bodies, inflating estimates of the number of people who benefit by the Pride Centre's existence. "I was told that the number of people benefiting from the Centre, which I gathered from factual statistics collected throughout the year, was too little. These figures were then doubled, and in some cases tripled, to 'make it look better' and improve the Centre's chances of being successful in the application round," he says. He also alleges that the Centre and its facilities were frequently misused by some trustees for their own personal purposes. And Van der Reit argues that the real reason the Centre ran out of money is that it became irrelevant to the community and therefore could no longer attract funding. "We have to be rational and accept that the Centre has served its purpose in the past, and that it is evident that there is no real need for the Centre's existence anymore," he says. Van der Reit, who has not worked at the Centre for several weeks and is now engaged by a real estate firm, says that if the Centre cannot employ him then he will be claiming the ten weeks severance pay he believes his contract entitles him to. "Realising the damage the board is trying to inflict on me, I wish to claim this 10 week's salary as per contract," he says. Reaction from the Pride Centre's trustees will be carried on GayNZ.com as soon as they can be contacted.    
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