The charity, which collected £1.3m in donations from miners, shared an office with the National Union of Miners in Redhill, Durham. According to the commission’s report, the charity of effectively subsidised the union, spending only 21 per cent of its income on charitable activities.
At one point, three trustees resigned from the board and were immediately employed by the charity.
The union has since repaid £267,000 and all the trustees have been barred from acting as trustees for life. The commission says the trustees have escaped court action only because there is no realistic prospect of enforcing judgement.
As a result of the investigation, a total of almost £400,000 has been recovered from the charity’s coffers and passed to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation to fund social care for miners in the north east.