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Chair Anne Speir resigns from Hero trust

Thu 31 Oct 2002 In: New Zealand Daily News

Hero Trust chair Anne speir has announced her intention to resign from the embattled Trust to leave the organisation free to regroup for the future. Speir does not go willingly form the Auckland gay and lesbian organisation, and had hoped to remain on the Trust long enough to see debts incurred in recent years paid off and a stable future assured for Hero “I leave with the major regret that I won't be there to see the money paid back, but I helped see the new brand managers put in place and I strongly support their work on Hero,” she says. Speir says she was asked to resign as chair and trustee to clear the way for a rebirth of Hero. “I've become symbolic of Hero's problems in recent years and some incredibly nasty people have taken every opportunity to vilify me for the past 18 months,” she says. She is critical of some elements of the gay media which she feels have given unrestrained voice to her detractors “regardless of the facts or requirements of journalistic balance.” During that 18 months all trustees except Speir and Vaughn Arronjohn resigned, leaving Speir in particular to become the public spokesperson. Hero's troubles stem from its 2001 festival which was thrown into financial ruin by irregular financial reporting by its then CEO Sean Lofts. Lofts fled to Australia and has since resisted all efforts to come forward and clarify his involvement in Hero's financial collapse. Rumours continue to surface of substantial money missing from Hero coffers but Speir says she is legally unable to publicly comment as Hero has never been able to afford a full audit of the situation. Sources close to several ex-Trust members say that money did go missing but that no member of the Trust was involved. "Regardless of the facts of the situation I was the chair and so I had to stand up and disclose as much as I could to the community. I've been the one left standing, the one to be attacked again and again, sometimes incredibly personally,” she says. Speir says that although she leaves with regrets, she acknowledges she has become a focus for anti-Hero sentiment and hopes that with her resignation Hero will be free to regroup. "I've put a lot of time and energy into Hero over the years... and the last 18 months have been especially hard... I need time to heal," she commented". A number of senior community members have offered to join the Trust, which must legally have at least two members, at least in an interim basis. They are understood to be currently working through the processes of disclosure of the Trust's financial and legal position before joining.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 31st October 2002 - 12:00pm

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