Regulator opens inquiry into Manor Building Preservation Trust

An analysis of the accounts for the charity, which preserves and restores listed buildings, suggest trustees 'might be abusing the charity for significant private gain', says the Charity Commission

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a charity that preserves and restores listed buildings because of the possible misuse of the charity’s funds and assets.

The commission said in a statement today that an analysis of the accounts of the Manor Building Preservation Trust identified that "the trustees might be abusing the charity for significant private gain" and the charity might not be operating in the public benefit.

The commission said it was also concerned that trustees were failing to manage conflicts of interest.

The charity, which owns property in the UK and Ukraine and also owns a Grade II listed building, Goldington Hall in Bedfordshire, has had its property and funds frozen by the commission.

According to the Charity Commission’s website, the charity had an income of £3,622 and expenditure of £112,355 in the year to 30 June 2015. In comparison, in the year to 30 June 2014 it had an income of £15,968 and spent £90,271.

The most recent accounts for the charity, which were for the year to 30 June 2013, show an income of £112,641 and expenditure of £67,151. The charity had total funds of almost £2.2m, according to the 2013 accounts.

The regulator said its inquiry would examine whether the charity’s objects were being met, that it was operating in the public benefit and whether the trustees had complied with charity law.

The charity’s financial controls and its administration, governance and management will also be investigated by the commission.

The charity did not respond to requests for comment.

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