An excellent piece by Claire Ellicott in yesterday’s Daily Mail (link below). It’s a shocking story of mismanagement and the scandalous use of £180,000 of an animal charity’s funds on six ‘gagging orders’. Kim Hamilton was the chief executive of Blue Cross between 2008 and last month, when she resigned. She was on a salary of £120,000 p.a.
From the article:
In 2012 Miss Hamilton, a 53-year-old former City trader, started a relationship with Melanie Brown, 27, an administrative assistant at the charity’s HQ in Burford, Oxfordshire. Six months later, bisexual Miss Brown ended the relationship and started seeing the charity’s head of fundraising, Mike Crossley, 52. He was later sacked from his £80,000-a-year job and was paid £60,000 to sign a gagging clause to stop him discussing the reasons.
A source said at the time: ‘Kim told Mike he was in a relationship with a vulnerable person at work, and that it was inappropriate so he had to go. His departure was a direct result of his relationship with Mel. It was an entirely personal thing. But how could it be inappropriate if Kim had also had a relationship with Mel?’
Later in the article:
The situation prompted Blue Cross employees and volunteers to write to the board of directors to warn that the charity had ‘lost its way’. In their email they said they were writing anonymously because otherwise they feared dismissal due to the ‘culture of mistrust, blame and fear’ at the charity.
They wrote: ‘We feel compelled to write to you out of deep concern for the charity, given the damage that has been done since Kim Hamilton took over as CEO in 2008. It feels as if Kim Hamilton brought the morally corrupt ethics of the banking sector with her when she joined Blue Cross.
What is most concerning to us is that the charity has lost its way – rather than putting animal welfare first, resources are wasted on ever increasing salaries and head office refurbishments.’…
Zair Berry, chairman of Blue Cross, said that any decision to ask staff to leave under a confidential compromise agreement ‘is not taken lightly and only considered when it is in the best interests of Blue Cross. As a charity, we do everything we can to ensure that Blue Cross funds are focused on helping pets.’
The patron of the charity is the Duke of Westminster, and eight of the nine trustees (including Zair Berry) are men:
Why did they allow this mismanagement to continue for the time it did, and why did they think spending £180,000 on gagging orders was an appropriate response to the situation? This story will surely have an impact on donations to the charity.