GOSH may keep Presidents Club money

Hostesses and a businessman outside the controversial Presidents Club dinner where waitresses were allegedly groped and propositioned by the all-male guests

GOSH may keep Presidents Club money

GOSH had said last month, when reports first broke about the dinner, that it would return donations it had received from the charity.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) can't say whether it will actually be able to give back donations it received from the Presidents Club, which it vowed to return when the club's fundraiser found itself at the heart of a sexual harassment scandal in January.

'This is not the kind of event we would wish to be associated with and we will therefore be declining funding from it and returning all previous donations from the Presidents Club'.

The Charity Commission said it has been in contact with "a number of charities" about their donations.

The Presidents Club raised £530,000 for the hospital over three separate events.

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The decision is expected to be the focus of a meeting that GOSH executives are scheduled to hold with the Charity Commission on Thursday, according to an insider.

But in a statement on Monday, a GOSH Children's Charity spokeswoman said: 'Guiding all our thinking is our aim to maximise the support to the hospital and the families it cares for.

The hospital confirmed on Monday it is "in discussions" with the Charity Commission and will consider its position at a trustee meeting in March.

Trustees have approached the Charity Commission for advice on their options if they decide to keep the money rather than hand it back, as they had previously pledged to do.

'Following this meeting and taking into account the latest developments with the Presidents Club Charitable Trust and feedback from our supporters, we will consider our position at our March Trustee meeting'.

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They are due to take a final decision next month after coming under pressure from other donors who are anxious about the financial impact of returning such a large sum.

They were also obliged to sign non-disclosure agreements relating to the behaviour of guests attending the dinner, who included dozens of executives from the property and financial services industries.

The news comes at a torrid time for the voluntary sector, which has been rocked by a sexual abuse scandal involving former Oxfam workers who used prostitutes after the quake in Haiti in 2011. "We would never knowingly accept donations raised in this way", a spokesperson for GOSH, a major beneficiary of the charity, said at the time.

In its statement hours after the FT story was published, GOSH's charitable wing said: "We are shocked to hear of the behaviour reported at the Presidents Club Charitable Trust fundraising dinner".

"All monies raised in our name go to support vital work".

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"However, due to the wholly unacceptable nature of the event we are returning previous donations and will no longer accept gifts from The Presidents Club Charitable Trust".

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