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Article from: (see http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,,25419295-5001021,00.html)
By Jennifer Sexton
May 03, 2009 12:00am
FOOTBALLER Luke Priddis has been interviewed by government investigators as part of a comprehensive audit of compliance and accountability at his charitable foundation.
The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing is auditing all facets of the Luke Priddis Foundation, which has raised more than $540,000 in the past three years, but distributed only $46,000 to needy children.
The charity says it is holding $350,000 in funds, but has not shown The Sunday Telegraph bank statements despite being asked repeatedly.
Priddis was interviewed for the audit last week, after an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph in March revealed the foundation had spent one-third of the money donated on administration and running events such as dinners, lunches and golf days.
Asked to comment on the audit on Friday, Priddis, a former Penrith and now St George hooker, said he was "not really interested, to be honest"; nor did they respond to emailed questions. He and wife Holly set up the foundation three years ago to help children with autism, after their son Cooper was diagnosed with the condition.
The OLGR administers charities and this is the most comprehensive type of audit it conducts. Just 20 to 30 charities of the 5000 registered in NSW are subject to such audits each year.
The length of the audit will depend on the degree of professionalism and record-keeping at the foundation, an OLGR spokesman said.
"This comprehensive audit will examine all facets of the charity's operation and management to assess compliance with the Charitable Fundraising Act and best practice standards," OLGR spokesman Mark Nolan said. "It will include an on-site visit, interviewing charity representatives, and examining books and records including bank statements.
"The audit will examine all fundraising appeals and events including funds raised, expenses, and banking, record keeping and accountability practices."
The Sunday Telegraph's investigation revealed in March just $41,000 had been given to children with autism.
Following the investigation, the foundation held its fourth ladies' lunch, on March 27, and immediately donated the $5000 raised to Lapstone Preschool, to help hire two support workers.
The couple then said they had $350,000 in a Westpac bank account to go toward building the foundation's own centre for children with autism and special needs.
They denied allegations that at the end of the foundation's first gala dinner on November 29, 2006, Mr Priddis took a calico bag of cash raised from raffles and left with his wife in a hired limousine.
Financial reports of the foundation revealed the foundation's expenses in the two years to June 2008 were $185,300, including $10,400 spent on Lapstone Preschool. The remainder was largely spent on functions and events; such as dinners, ladies lunches and golf days; and included function costs of $115,000 and event management fees of $12,700 in the first two years of operation.