Friday, December 21, 2012

UDM Charity Ended at Home

NEIL GREATREX, gone to jail and told to pay, alas DAVID HART, gone away 
AFTER Jimmy Saville, another "idol" of the Thatcher years, and this a live one though less popular, who has crashed down. Neil Greatrex might not have been a Christmas guest at Checqers, but as leader of the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers(UDM), he served Thatcher's crusade by championing strikebreaking in the Nottinghamshire coalfield.

Instead, Greatrex became a guest of Her Majesty earlier this year when he was convicted for stealing funds that had been supposed to go to a retired miners' care home. 

This week the former UDM leader was ordered to pay back the £148,628 he stole from charity. He has been given 28 days to pay it back or face a further three years in prison.
The Charity Commission welcomed the order and sai it would serve as a warning to others.

In April, Greatrex was jailed for four years for stealing from the Nottinghamshire Miners Charity, of which he was a trustee. The charity ran a care home in Lincolnshire for sick and elderly miners.
Between 2000 and 2006 diverted £148,628 to two building companies and a joiner for work that was never done at the home. Instead it paid for items such as granite worktops and a pool for koi carp at Greatrex's own home.

Greatrex claimed in court that the diveretd funds were in lieiu of salary, though it had emerged in 2004 that he and a fellow officer were receiving salary packages worth £150,000 while leading a union with only 1,431 members.

The total amount he is now ordered to pay is £201,327.51, adjusted for inflation and including costs.
Michelle Russell, the Charity Commission's head of investigations and enforcement, said: "Stealing from a charity of money that's intended for people who really need it is a pretty awful crime.
"We are obviously really pleased that some of that money will be recouped and go back to where it was intended to be spent."

The commission said the money would either be returned to the charity or its beneficiaries or other charities. The order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Birmingham Crown Court.

It might be interesting to compare the amount of coverage this affair gets with the way the media - and not least the supposedly Labour-supporting Daily Mirror hounded Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers over phoney allegations of funds misuse during the miners' strike. (Admittedly for the Mirror this may have reflected attention away from what its then owner, Robert Maxwell was up to financially).
Perhaps now that Neil Greatrex is in serious difficulty some of the UDM's old backers could get together and have a whip round? One of the UDM's most helpful funders, if not inspirers, was the shady billionaire friend of Thatcher, David Hart, who provided not just funds but former SAS personnel to protect strikebreaking miners.

Two years after the strike Hart  formed the Campaign for a Free Britain,[1]  with backing from Rupert Murdoch, and in 1993 he was appointed an adviser to Malcolm Rifkind as Defence Minister, a post he kept when Michael Portillo replaced Rifkind. He went on to be implicated in various intrigues at home and abroad, and undertook lobbying for Boeing and BAE. A report in the Guardian in 2007 alleged Hart had received £13 million in secret payments from BAE via an anonymous company registed in the Virgin Islands. 

Unfortunately for Greatrex, the UDM's past backer, who could surely have helped pay for the ornamental fishpond and other extras, died a year ago.  But you'd think his associates in big business and the secret state would be willing to step up to the plate and help poor Greatrex out. Or maybe not. These are hard times, and the government is attaching importance to us placing our trust in charity.

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At 11:58 AM, Anonymous London John said...

Are you sure that's David Hart? He really looks like Lord Lucan.


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