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Carmen "disappointed" by fundraiser shortfall

Sun 18 Oct 2009 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

6.30PM: Trans-Tasman tranny legend Carmen is "disappointed" with the outcome of her trip to Wellington for a fundraising birthday party, saying she had counted on the money raised to replace her broken down mobility scooter. 'Disappointed': Carmen Rupe Allegations and counter-allegations are swirling around the young promoter of the party, Jevan Goulter, painting a picture of a mishandled event and unrealistic expectations which led to Carmen receiving only $495 for her trouble. Although 245 or more people attended the $20 a head event A Night of Glamour, it now appears that few who passed through the door were on pre-paid tickets or had paid for admission. Additionally, confusion is mounting over what goods and services were donated or provided to the event under sponsorship arrangements and what were paid for in cash either by Goulter himself or out of the door take. Speaking from her inner-Sydney home, where she is unwell with limited mobility due to age and the effects of two knee operations and getting by on a small pension, Carmen says she was led by Goulter to understand that she would receive the total admission cost paid by everyone attending. This claim is backed up by her long-time friend Jacquie Grant who says Goulter told her the same thing. It has been suggested to GayNZ.com by other of Carmen's friends that in the planning stages Goulter also gave assurances that there would be no, or very few, complimentary admissions given out. Goulter believes there were between 200 and 250 people at the event: "The official count was 242, but not everyone paid." He admits many complimentary tickets were given out, and says he was given $755 from the door sales on the night which, added to the pre-sold ticket takings, left him with "just over a grand" raised. Bar proceeds were kept, by prior agreement, by the venue. Carmen confirms that her flights to and from Sydney, a hotel room for four days and all her expenses were paid by Goulter, so she is not out of pocket. "But my electric motor scooter is broken... it will cost around $3,000 to $4,000 to replace, so I was hoping the trip would fund that." She says she doesn't drink, "so that may have kept the costs down... he may have paid my expenses, but that wouldn’t be $4,000 for four days." Goulter has acknowledged that there were "far from enough tickets pre-sold" but claims the evening was plagued by expense overruns and poor financial oversight on the night. He also says the event was substantially taken out of his hands in the days before it was staged. "I was having very little say and nobody was listening to me." Yet, "when the evening did not make enough money then it's back to being my fault." He describes the criticisms and calls for accountability as "really unfair." "No one helped me to organise the night. I tried to get people like Jacquie Grant to help but she said 'no'." Grant says her only contact with Goulter was when he phoned her just ten days before the event asking how to get in touch with Carmen's old friends. "I told him I felt that his organisational skills were lacking, that he had a reputation for trading on the good names of people like Carmen and that I didn't want to be involved with him," says Grant. "Carmen has always been too trusting," says Grant, who has known the high-profile entertainer, hostess and one-time Wellington mayoral candidate since the 1950s. "Too many people have taken advantage of her over the years." "I know what my record's like around town," says Goulter, "but Carmen was looked after very well. She didn't have to pay for anything, and she dined out every night. I would never con her. If I was out to con her I would have taken off without giving her any money at all." Goulter, who is understood to now be in Hamilton, advised on Friday night that "to ensure transparency" he would make a financial report on the event available through GayNZ.com this weekend.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 18th October 2009 - 5:43pm

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