Article Title:Pride delays comment & "will stay open"
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:30th March 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2269
Text:9.30pm: The Auckland Pride Centre board of trustees has asked for 24 hours grace before it comments on allegations by an employee that it has engaged in deceitful practices with its funders. Martin Van der Reit has revealed that he is the subject of Pride Centre allegations that he crippled the organisation by misappropriating money. While denying the fraud suggestions he has made allegations of his own, including that Pride provided faked information to funding providers to secure higher funding, and that some trustees have regularly misused the premises for personal purposes. While asking for 24 hours delay before publicly addressing Van der Reit's denial and accusations, which it was unaware of until contacted by, the Pride board has refuted claims in other gay media that it will be closing its doors for good. “Regardless of what gossip is going on in the community we are not closing down,” says board member John Lendrum. Last month the Centre was so broke, apparently in debt to the tune of $30,000, that gay MP Chris Carter gifted it $1,500 to cover one month's rent on its Karangahape Road premises while it reviewed its position. “Things are going to be tight financially, in the short term, certainly,” Lendrem says, but he has announced to members a fundraising strategy which includes receiving part of the profit from selling “some books” donated by Aristotle Books, a donations bucket at the Centre's front desk which last month raised $87, plus unspecified proceeds from a February fashion show. Lendrem says the board is looking at other fundraising options and in the meantime is relying on volunteer help to staff the Centre. He has appealed to the members to donate time to help keep the doors open.    
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