A Summary of the Interim Report delivered at AGM Liverpool
by Tony Thipthorpe, the investigating Officer.
Almost all the evidence to support this report comes from documents held by Mr Doyle. Despite being ordered by the court on 17 June 2009 to deliver full documentation, or copies, to the Association Mr Doyle still defies the court by refusing to hand many of them over. Shortly, an application will be made to the court for him to comply with that order or suffer very serious consequences.
In summary, the investigation reveals that in breach of their fiduciary duty (to be of good faith) to the Association, Messrs Doyle & Hill opened secret accounts in their own names and channelled Association money through these for nearly 20 years. This they started in October, 1989 despite their request to do so being refused by the Committee in May, 1989. The purpose in so doing appears to have been to enable them to siphon off the interest estimated to average about £500 pa. You may recall that when this subterfuge started, in October, 1989, the bank rate was almost 15%. What makes the matter more serious is that, from AGM 1988 until 1993 Mr Hill was the Association's Treasurer charged with ensuring that the Association's funds were handled properly, in accordance with the Rules. A more serious breach of trust is hard to imagine.
By acting in this manner, Messrs Doyle & Hill misappropriated money from the Association amounting to about £10,000 in those years. Over £1milliion passed through their secret accounts. They also unlawfully moved Association money around the secret accounts, all unknown to the subsequent Association Treasurers and Committee, to enable them to have the benefit of the capital to enhance other ventures they may have undertaken. A good example of this is the £26,590 of Reunion money paid into an account entitled Museum and Raffle in June 2004. A further £17,467 was also paid into this account shortly afterwards. As yet these deposits have not been fully explained. They will remain a mystery until unravelled as further evidence becomes available.
In addition, Mr Doyle & Mr Hill enjoyed perquisites without the knowledge or consent of the Committee amounting to free weekends for those years. An estimate of the losses incurred comes to about £6,000. Also, there is evidence pointing to commission being paid to the Organisers (Messrs Doyle & Hill) which again has been misappropriated. A question mark remains over the proceeds of free cabin allocations. On this topic the law is quite clear. No commission or perquisites may be taken by the Reunion Organisers without the fully informed consent of the Association.
Until the whole of the documentation has been disclosed it will not be possible to calculate the full amount misappropriated in this way. But that will not be long delayed. At this stage we are looking at a round figure of between £20,000 & £25,000. In addition, just under £1,000 was transferred from the Association's account into the account renamed Shotley Old Boys, again without explanation.
Added to these financial losses, Messrs Doyle & Hill will also be liable to pay the Association damages for their breach of fiduciary duty. This duty requires that they, at all times:
1. act in the utmost good faith to their principal (the Association);
2. do not make a profit from the trust placed in them by the Association;
3. do not place themselves in a position where their own interests conflict with their duty to the Association;
4. do not act to their own advantage or the benefit of a third person without the fully informed consent of the Association.
It seems that Messrs Doyle & Hill have no understanding of this duty which they have breached for some 20 years. Certainly, if they had knowledge of their duty, they ignored it. They further aggravated their breaches with every payment of money into the secret accounts referred to above. The courts treat such breach of trust cases very seriously. We are advised that the damages for this breach, which are unlimited, are likely to be between £10,000 and £20,000 in this case. Once costs are taken into account it is difficult to see how the Defendants (Messrs Doyle & Hill) will come away from court with a joint liability of less than £50,000, plus their own costs.
By outlining these facts members will immediately see that the demands set out in the circular letter are unrealistic and based, not on evidence but upon lies, distortions and misleading statements emanating from Messrs Doyle & Hill and those around them who wish to protect them from their folly. Is that the right spirit we need within the Association?
No accusations have been made by the Committee or any Officers of the Association which are not supported by the evidence. In fact, our cautious approach has added to the delay which Messrs Doyle & Hill have created by their devious tactics in promising to do one thing but doing another. There has been no cooperation at all from them and that remains their position today. That is all about to end.
It is only right that all members of the Association are made aware of these failings by Messrs Doyle & Hill. Perhaps this will lead to the healing of the rift which has been perpetuated solely by them in refusing to hand over their papers and the continuous misinformation they spread at gatherings at Pakefield and elsewhere. The recently circulated letter is an example of this. Without a shadow of doubt, their devious and deceitful activities are now about to be revealed to the whole membership of the Association. Perhaps then, members, having the true facts before them, will be able to form an honest and accurate opinion at the way they have been duped these last three years and the Association swindled.
As was explained in the opening of this Report, every single occurrence referred to is fully supported by documentary evidence, mostly from the Defendants' own records. More is yet to be revealed and this will only exacerbate their dire financial future. Instead of encouraging members unfamiliar with the facts into making spurious requests, perhaps Messrs Doyle & Hill will come clean, admit they have been acting wrongly for nearly 20 years and put forward some proposal by which the consequences of their misdemeanours can be overcome. Then the Association can begin to come to terms with these serious misdemeanours by two long-standing former Committee Members, one being a former Treasurer.
A G Thipthorpe 1 May, 20
Note not dated [even the original] but thought to be 2010 ?
Are you [an ex Ganges Boy] really serious, as part of an Association, that you would allow such a monster as
[THIPTHORPE] to point the finger at a lesser monster, thus allowing THE POT TO CALL THE KETTLE BLACK ?
If you are, you are contemptible in the extreme and unworthy or your Shotley experience. Employing a Poacher turned
Gamekeeper is totally abhorrent.