I was intrigued to read about the 4 Winds Trust in the minutes for the September meeting of Lochgelly Community Council.
One community councillor addressed the mismanagement of the Trust for the past three years, which trustee Mr Murray attempts to dismiss by claiming that the main issue was that the Trust was acting while inquorate.
Mr Murray must have a short-term memory problem. When the charity regulator OSCR investigated the Trust, it not only found that it had been acting while inquorate, but also that it had not kept any minutes, that it had never held the required annual members’ meetings, and that it had failed to submit accounts within the legal timescales.
When accounts were finally submitted, OSCR found them to be woefully lacking and incomplete. OSCR determined that the charity trustees had not adhered to the terms of their constitution, and upheld all the points of complaint against the Trust.
The Lochgelly Community Council minutes continue, with Mr Murray claiming: “Despite this being of significant concern to the author of the article, their own group had requested and had been granted financial support which they accepted.”
The “article” is in fact a letter from James Glen, published in the Central Fife Times, in which he highlighted the breaches of charity law committed by the Trust as well as its continuing failure to be properly open and accountable about its financial operations. Although Mr Glen was clearly writing in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of Loch of Shining Waters, Mr Murray attacks him by slurring our group.
Loch of Shining Waters has always been completely open about the fact that it applied for a grant from the 4 Winds Trust, as was its right as a bona fide community group in the area. We were awarded a grant before we discovered through a Freedom of Information request that the Trust was breaking charitable law.
Is Mr Murray really suggesting that accepting a grant from a local charity obliges a community group to keep mum and turn a blind eye to three years of illegal operations by that charity?
The 4 Winds Trust was not set up to be a brown envelope distribution network. Mr Murray’s unfortunate choice of words reflects poorly on his fellow trustees, particularly since having been found wanting by OSCR, they have promised to do better. Once again, Mr Murray’s conduct calls into question his fitness to run the 4 Winds Trust. If community councils are unable to remove him as a trustee, then it’s time for Kennedy Renewables to act before he does any further damage to the Trust’s reputation.
In recent weeks, Loch of Shining Waters has been publicly attacked over its use of Freedom of Information legislation by Councillor Mark Hood and the Lochgelly Community Council. Our FOIs have revealed information which the public is entitled to, but which certain individuals would prefer to conceal because it raises questions about their conduct as public servants. Rather than come clean and answer the questions on a whole raft of issues from gift-taking from Mossmorran to the management of the Public Park project, these individuals have instead tried to blacken our name, and the names of some of our volunteers, in the hope that we will be silenced.
Loch of Shining Waters is proud of its record in publishing material which increases the transparency and accountability of our local representatives. The fact that they don’t like it shows we must be doing something right.
Loch of Shining Waters