Ally Pally rebellion
Robyn Rosen TRUSTEES at Ally Pally are rebelling against the rest of the board over accounts which were approved without the unanimous decision of the board. The three councillors, all Liberal Democrats, have challenged the board's decision and are threa
TRUSTEES at Ally Pally are rebelling against the rest of the board over accounts which were ap-proved without the unanimous decision of the board.
The three councillors, all Liberal Democrats, have challenged the board's decision and are threatening to make an official complaint to the Charity Commission.
The accounts show that a �3million shortfall obtained during the year ending March 31 2008 will be added to the debt of the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, which deals with the properties maintenance and assets.
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But critics claim that the shortfall was due to the ill-fated eight month licence with developers, Firoka, who they claim took all revenues and gave nothing back to the charity.
Cllrs Bob Hare, John Oakes and Neil Williams have refused to sign the accounts and expressed their objections to the "lack of clarity in the way in which these very large amounts were disclosed and want the accounts to report the overall costs of the failed attempt to sell the palace".
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Campaigners had been urging trustees to delay signing the accounts until a new report investigating who is responsible for the shortfall is published later this month, but the accounts were submitted to the charity commission on January 30.
Calls have been made once again for the trust board, currently made up of four Labour and three Lib Dem councillors, to be made up of independent, non-political trustees.
Cllr Hare said: "It is extremely worrying that the Labour trustees have not sought to engage with us or reach agreement and address these concerns in the interest of the palace. We have made every effort, but our concerns have been swept aside.
"This worrying step by those trustees appointed by the Labour council shows more than ever that we need an independent chair and independent trustees at the palace."
Jacob O'Callaghan, chairman of the Save Ally Pally group, said: "The majority of trustees that are refusing to sign these accounts are quite right and it's a pity that the other trustees are not safeguarding the charity's funds.
"Its more confirmation that the palace will never succeed until it is free from the council."
Labour councillor, Pat Egan, chairman of the board of trustees said: "The decision to approve the accounts was taken at the board meeting which was held on January 6.
"Officers were instructed to draft amendments to reflect the changes to the narrative that had been discussed.
"A majority of the trustees agreed with the wording of the amendments and as such the amendments were incorporated and the accounts duly signed.
"It should be emphasised that the figures were known long ago and officers distributed the accounts as a draft a month in advance of the meeting so as to allow plenty of time for questions to be raised.
"Despite trustees being reminded a number of times during that month to submit questions early so detailed written responses could be provided, some trustees raised questions on the afternoon of the board meeting and these were dealt with at the meeting.