Charity Trustees Face Enquiry after £15 Million Property Profit

A local solicitor has issued a warning to charity trustees that they should be mindful of their obligations in dealing with the assets they control, following recent comments from the Charity Commission.

The trustees of a charity that sold a building for £6 million are to face an enquiry from the Commission after it was discovered that the property (sold to company registered in the British Virgin Islands) was sold for £21 million by its new owners.

The Commission is understandably concerned that the property may have been sold for significantly less than its true market value and has ordered an investigation to find out whether there has been mismanagement or misconduct on the part of the trustees.

Robert Kerr, a Partner at Winchester law firm Shentons , commented ‘Although this probe is at an early stage, the fact that the Commission has issued a press release to highlight that it is taking place should act as a reminder to charity trustees of their obligations. Such press releases are issued when the Commission considers that it is in the public interest to do so. Shentons act as advisors to a number of local charities and would be happy to advise any trustees who are unsure as to the extent of their obligations.’