Charity Commission appoints interim manager to the Park Charitable Trust

The regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the Jewish charity when its accounts brought concerns about investment losses and unauthorised benefit for trustees

Park Charitable Trust
Park Charitable Trust

An interim manager has taken over at a Jewish charity that the Charity Commission has been investigating since 2014 in relation to investment losses of more than £1m.

On 16 August, the commission appointed Ian Oakley-Smith, head of charities at the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, to replace the trustees at the Park Charitable Trust.

The regulator opened a statutory inquiry after the charity’s accounts for the year to March 2013 raised concerns about investment losses and the trustees receiving unauthorised benefit. The 2012/13 accounts showed the charity had losses of £1.1m on investment assets and gave out £217,500 in grants, while spending £2.6m of its £3m income on governance.

The trustees told the commission they planned to wind up the charity, according to a commission statement published today, which said the process would be completed by Oakley-Smith to ensure transparency.

The statement said: "This appointment is a temporary and protective measure and will be reviewed by the commission on a regular basis in line with normal procedures."

Oakley-Smith will also be tasked with examining the charity's investments, assets, liabilities and creditors.

The review will examine the charity’s governance arrangements and any conflicts of interest arising from the trustees' interests in other companies, other trusteeships and their family relationships.

The charity has three trustees – David and Martina Hammelburger and Eli Pine. Pine is a trustee of the FP Limited Charitable Trust and David Hammelburger is on the board of the Jewish education charity Project Seed

The charity, which has objects of promoting the Jewish faith and relieving poverty in the UK’s Jewish community, experienced a 77 per cent drop in income to £548,000 in the year to March 2015. It spent £860,000 that year.

Pine did not respond to Third Sector’s request for comment, and David and Martina Hammelburger could not be reached.

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