Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Accused Pride employee accuses Centre of deceit

Tue 30 Mar 2004 In: Community

Following revelations first carried on that Auckland's Pride Centre may have to close because of alleged fraud, the employee at the centre of the allegations, Martin van der Reit, has publicly revealed that he is the person accused of fraud by the Centre's trustees. Financial records which the trustees say show that the Centre is out of pocket by $30,000 and which they allege clearly show van der Reit misappropriated money are being scrutinised by the Auckland police fraud squad which has yet to decide of charges can or should be laid. Although he has yet to be named publicly in the media, van der Reit has come out publicly with the following statement, forwarded to UP! newspaper, a business in which he had a business interest until an acrimonious split from its publishers in December. In it he declares his innocence and charges that the Pride Centre trustees have themselves been involved in deceitful and fraudulent behaviour in the adminstration of the Centre. Van der Reit's words have been slightly edited for clarity. Martin van der Reit writes: I was employed as coordinator of the centre from July 2003. It was my responsibility to coordinate all the center's activities. It is stated that there is a suspected sum of $30,000 missing, which is a surprising revelation to me since I personally did the book keeping of the centre and did not notice any money being missing. As far as I am aware, every single cent has been accounted for. I presented all the financial documents to the centre's accountant after I was informed that the centre can no longer afford to pay my salary (beginning of March 04). [There were] unpaid bills. This is due to the fact that the centre did not have any funds to pay these bills. There were missing invoices due to the fact that, when I took up the position in July 03, we were already 4 months into the financial year and I found that there were invoices missing prior to this period which implicates the unprofessional way in which the centre was managed before I came onboard. I did work through the bank statement for that period and ensured that all expenses were recorded. I further cannot see how it can be said that "confusion with the processes within the bank with signatories" could have caused any funds to go missing. There are two signatories to sign any instructions to the bank and it can therefore not be said that any money has been drawn without at least one board member authorizing such a withdrawal IN WRITING, i.e. signing the withdrawal instruction. It seems that certain members of the Centre's board [are] now in a panic due to unsuccessful funding applications and they are trying to cover their incompetence as board members by shifting blame onto me. It is a "black on white" matter; the centre is facing closure due to a lack of funding and not due to money being "missing". I have to further point out that according to my employment contract, should the centre not be able to pay my salary any more, I will receive a pay-out equivalent to 10 week's salary... realizing the damage the board is trying to inflict on me, I wish to claim this 10 week's salary as per contract. Now I wish to make a number of statements that are a reason for concern. The Auckland Pride Centre relies on funding from various institutions for its operation. In filing these applications, funding organizations require information regarding the operation of the centre and needs to know how many people benefit from this operation. I was responsible for compiling these applications and gathering all the information required. These applications were then submitted to a board member for approval. On inspection by a senior board member, 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. Misinforming the funding institutions in order to improve chances of obtaining funding is what I would classify as deceitful. The Auckland Pride Centre Trust was dissolved at the 2003 Annual General Meeting and the operation was turned into an Incorporated Society. I am speaking under correction, but in order to form an Incorporated Society you require a minimum number of paid up members. At the above mentioned meeting, friends of the board members signed up as members to try and make up the numbers required to be a legal institution. This, once again, is what I would call deceitful. The purpose of the Pride centre is to serve the community. It is not a haven created for a small group of people who benefit from the existence of the centre due to their personal circumstances which includes unemployed board members using the centre as a place to search for employment, utilizing centre resources. The centre is also not a place to be utilized (by a prominent board member) to complete assignments for his personal gain and to conduct business from relating to another K' Road association which he is a board member of! Being involved in the Pride Centre over the past months highlighted a concerning fact: The Pride Centre does not have much of a benefit to the LGBT community of Auckland anymore. I believe that, with this becoming more and more evident, some of the board members are terrified of what they will do with their lives once the centre closes down. 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 and THIS may be the reason why funding applications were unsuccessful and why the Centre has consequently run out of money!   Martin van der Reit     Martin van der Reit - 30th March 2004

Credit: Martin van der Reit

First published: Tuesday, 30th March 2004 - 12:00pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us