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Significant concerns about my GAA club's finances

  • 09-05-2018 7:50pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    Hi,

    I hope this is the right thread. I'm playing with a GAA club for the past 20 years or so, since i was 6 years old. I'm extremely concerned about the mismanagement of finances at my GAA club and things are getting worse.

    Obviously I do not want to give away the identity of the club on a public forum. However, for as long as I've known, there is only one person in charge of the finances of the club (a very large club at that). In recent years, a number of other people in the club have been put forward at the Annual General Meetings in the position of vice treasurer of the club, to assist the treasurer with the financial management of the club. There have been at least 3 people over the last 10 years go in as vice-treasurer. The longest any of them lasted is 1 month, citing an inability to work with the treasurer, primarily due to the lack of transparency.

    There is absolutely no accountability with the club's finances. Membership money goes missing, bank accounts being shut down without informing club members, club is not signed up to the Willis Towers Watson GAA insurance scheme (without members knowing this), insurance payouts to injured are from a commercial business account (following significant delays) and the club falsely inflates the damage costings when submitting insurance claims after a storm or flooding "damage".

    No club member will question the treasurer or other hierarchy. There have been a lot more issues in the past 5 - 6 years but I don't want to go into too much detail.

    Has anyone had experience of financial mismanagement of their club's finances? I know a few years back the ex-treasurer of a GAA club in Limerick was charged with stealing almost €100k from the club over a number of years. I'm wondering if the Revenue were involved or was a complaint made to An Garda Siochana!

    One person solely looking after the finances of a GAA club of a few hundred members is quite worrying if I'm being honest. While the finances are signed-off before the AGM each year, I've significant concerns about the misappropriation of funds at my GAA club. Is this something that Croke Park or Revenue would look into?
    Tagged:


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,053 ✭✭✭✭ _Brian


    Not GAA bit when we finally ousted the ling term treasurer there were no records for 10 years.
    Gave the same report at AGM, “€3k to hand amd finances steady”

    Became quickly obvious that there were inconsistencies in the story and the cash at hand soared immediately by ~€12k a year.

    Estimated that maybe €100-€120k missing over 10 years.

    But no way of proving it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,057 ✭✭✭✭ Water John


    Madness having only one Treasurer in a club, of any description.
    Know of 2 GAA clubs in my area alone with financial irregularities, in the last 6 months.
    So many clubs, of different types over many years, with the same problem. Its temptation and the only cure is to put in processes that minimise it. Really causes community havoc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 991 ✭✭✭ Gorgeousgeorge


    My own gaa club got a significant grant off the lotto scheme and a loan for re devlopment. They built on 2 new dressing rooms and a meeting room. Grand total was just over 330k.

    Long story short the chairman and tresuars drinking buddy did the building work which after an enquiry by club members was valued at 150k.

    But all the money was gone. Split by the 3 mentioned above. Its a rural club in kildare. Best thing that ever happened was the influx of the dubs into the area and because of this the eventual ousting of the long serving commitee


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    My own gaa club got a significant grant off the lotto scheme and a loan for re devlopment. They built on 2 new dressing rooms and a meeting room. Grand total was just over 330k.

    Long story short the chairman and tresuars drinking buddy did the building work which after an enquiry by club members was valued at 150k.

    But all the money was gone. Split by the 3 mentioned above. Its a rural club in kildare. Best thing that ever happened was the influx of the dubs into the area and because of this the eventual ousting of the long serving commitee

    What happened in the end? Surely there should be prosecutions here for fraud? I'd say it's happening all over the country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 982 ✭✭✭ Birdsong


    In my own club, not GAA, a motion was proposed at AGM that officer's only served 3 years. This meant that there is a turn over of committee so no one has long term control. Also easier to persuade people to take up a role of they know they're not going to end up doing it forever


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,538 ✭✭✭ howiya


    Is this something that Croke Park or Revenue would look into?

    The secretary of your county board and the secretary of your provincial council should be trustees of the club. If you're having no luck at club level I would raise it with these.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    Clubs accounts must now be audited


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 9,275 Mod ✭✭✭✭ seligehgit


    Dear all

    Can we please ensure this case is treated as a hypothetical situation and no attempt is made by anyone to identify the particular club.The purpose of the thread is to let the original poster know what options are open to them to raise the potential issue of wrongdoing and who to raise it with.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,035 ✭✭✭ Wabbit Ears


    Birdsong wrote:
    In my own club, not GAA, a motion was proposed at AGM that officer's only served 3 years. This meant that there is a turn over of committee so no one has long term control. Also easier to persuade people to take up a role of they know they're not going to end up doing it forever

    This.

    Motions should be raised to include the following in the club constitution. This should be sent to the secretary of the club when as soon as notice of the AGM is sent to the membership.

    Management Committee members can only hold a position for a term of 3 years after which the position must be voted on at an AGM or EGM

    A management committee member can only serve a maximum of 2 consecutive terms in any position.

    A mangaement committee member may return to a position after 2 terms have passed if voted in at an AGM or EGM.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,724 ✭✭✭ nice_guy80


    This.

    Motions should be raised to include the following in the club constitution. This should be sent to the secretary of the club when as soon as notice of the AGM is sent to the membership.

    Management Committee members can only hold a position for a term of 3 years after which the position must be voted on at an AGM or EGM

    A management committee member can only serve a maximum of 2 consecutive terms in any position.

    A mangaement committee member may return to a position after 2 terms have passed if voted in at an AGM or EGM.
    our club would probably stop running

    its the same few people doing the work for past 10 years as nobody else wants to take on work


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,240 ✭✭✭ Jimbob1977


    Many clubs now have Finance Committees to assist the Treasurer. Typically it's a few club members who are also business savvy.

    It works very well:

    o Takes all the workload off an overstretched and honest Treasurer

    o If the Treasurer is dishonest and you have suspicions, he or she will soon exit quietly.

    o Great new ideas can be bounced around for fundraisers and capital projects.

    Volunteerism is a huge problem. Why sign up for a role that might drag you away from your family for 2/3 nights per week? Better if the load is shared. It's the same for soccer, scouts and other sports.

    To the original question, what should be done if misappropriation is suspected?

    The Chairman and Trustees should step in and inspect the bank statements. It's their right, without accusing anyone. If there is a very thorough or forensic person in the club, get them to review the lodgements and payments.

    When malfeasance is proven, I'd expect your next port of call should be the County Board or Croke Park for guidance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,061 ✭✭✭ Boom__Boom


    I would say get in touch with the county board asap, especially as it seems like the club hierarchy don't seem to be willing to deal with it (the fact that 3 vice-treasurers have all quit within a month is a massive massive red flag)

    Odds are high they will escalate it to Croke Park (I'm nearly certain there is a person/group in Croke Park who has a responsibility in dealing with matters like this)

    From what you have said it sounds like there are definitely issues to be investigated but people have been willing to turn a blind eye for fear of making things awkward.

    I know it can't be easy but far better to ask the awkward questions as soon as possible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,336 ✭✭✭ tonc76


    While the finances are signed-off before the AGM each year, I've significant concerns about the misappropriation of funds at my GAA club.

    Surely questions from the floor relating to the balance sheet and income and expenditure are allowed prior to the treasurers report being proposed, seconded and adopted at the AGM? This is how it operated when I was treasurer for my club some years ago anyway


  • Registered Users Posts: 991 ✭✭✭ Gorgeousgeorge


    What happened in the end? Surely there should be prosecutions here for fraud? I'd say it's happening all over the country.

    Noting at all. A lot of us left for pastures new


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,044 ✭✭✭ The_Honeybadger


    Something not right there OP. Nobody should have that much control with no oversight. Ideally there would be a rotational policy in relation to the treasurer position and a finance committee as suggested above. All clubs should have robust procedures in place to track income and expenditure and accounts should be available to members annually. It sounds like the treasurer is a Bull Mccabe type figure that everyone is afraid of, would that be right? Is your concern shared by others? If there is enough support it may be best to try to sort it out locally, but if that can’t be done it’s a case of going to your county board with your concerns.

    A few years back I got involved with a somewhat naive club committee (non GAA) that was generating a nice income from its activities, mostly cash. The treasurer was seemingly not accountable to anyone and gave minimal information at the AGM, kept all ledgers (if there were any) private, would not share bank statements etc. The club couldn’t pay bills and was struggling badly and I repeatedly pointed out to the chair (a relative of mine) that something wasn’t right. We called an EGM which escalated into a huge row over finances and ultimately the resignation of the treasurer, who took exception to being asked for records. She blanked any attempts to contact her or requested records thereafter. It was a very uncomfortable meeting but the outcome was a huge relief to everyone and the finances improved beyond recognition immediately. It’s not hard to figure out where the money went but with no records whatsoever nothing could be proven.

    People can and do take advantage of lax oversight and controls and when this happens it needs to be tackled head on. There is no nice way to do it if the incumbent is there a long time and is used to minimal / no accountability. Of course, your own treasurer may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing, but that doesn’t mean that there needn’t be transparency.


  • Registered Users Posts: 115 ✭✭ JimFin


    I'm not sure OP that you have the full story on this, I have some concerns on your situation. Firstly on the insurance issue, participation in the GAA Liability & Property Scheme is compulsory on all GAA units, so your club is a member by default of the scheme administered through Willis who are the appointed GAA Insurance Brokers. Any concerns about insurance fraud can be reported to the insurance body http://www.insuranceconfidential.ie

    There is no insurance scheme for injured players - only GAA Injury Benefit Fund. The Injury Fund does not seek to fully compensate but to
    supplement other covers such as Private Health Insurance, National Health Insurance, Personal Accident Cover, Employment benefit covers, Income Payment protection covers. The Fund only provides cover for otherwise unrecoverable losses up to the benefit limits. Any player who submits a claim will be out of pocket on their overall costs and as such would/should never tolerate the club holding money for their own benefit. If any player is under doubt about how much the club was paid for them they should contact their County Insurance officer in the first instance or issue a Data Protection request to Croke Park in relation to their insurance claim if that fails.

    I find it difficult to imagine that nobody in the club will question the treasurer at an AGM. As a club member you have a right to see full accounts at the AGM and question where either income or expenditure went. Others involved in fundraising will have a general idea about how much each event raised and expenditure should be requested monthly at meetings. Query the larger issues such as physio, travel, development and ensure they are genuine. This can always be done on the guise that you are seeking to reduce the costs by examining where savings can be made. Officer rotation on a 3-5 year basis is essential in any club as other posters have said.

    Of course there are always people that can manipulate any situation and if you have concerns about this I recommend you assemble whatever information you have and submit your concerns to the Finance Dept in Croke Park. Otherwise challenge the treasurer/chairman/secretary for their post directly at AGM where hopefully you would get the club support.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    nice_guy80 wrote: »
    Clubs accounts must now be audited
    A local accountant signs off on the accounts every year, but I've significant reservations, since the same account has been used for as long as I've known. As far as I know, Revenue or Croke Park do not audit (unless prompted i guess).


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    Jimbob1977 wrote: »

    The Chairman and Trustees should step in and inspect the bank statements. It's their right, without accusing anyone. If there is a very thorough or forensic person in the club, get them to review the lodgements and payments.

    When malfeasance is proven, I'd expect your next port of call should be the County Board or Croke Park for guidance.
    Unfortunately the hierarchy (including the aforementioned treasurer) of the club are related and I can guarantee you that no one will question the hierarchy. It's a complete dictatorship and perhaps the County Board, or Croke Park, are the next port of call.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    tonc76 wrote: »
    While the finances are signed-off before the AGM each year, I've significant concerns about the misappropriation of funds at my GAA club.

    Surely questions from the floor relating to the balance sheet and income and expenditure are allowed prior to the treasurers report being proposed, seconded and adopted at the AGM? This is how it operated when I was treasurer for my club some years ago anyway
    I haven't been at an AGM in a few years due to work commitments. At previous AGMs, yes this is what happened. I can tell you, there are many things which do not appear on the balance statement. Insurance payouts to the club for 'storm' damage are not disclosed for example. A lot of things are swept under the carpet in a 'hush-hush' environment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    mickeyk wrote: »
    Something not right there OP. Nobody should have that much control with no oversight. Ideally there would be a rotational policy in relation to the treasurer position and a finance committee as suggested above. All clubs should have robust procedures in place to track income and expenditure and accounts should be available to members annually. It sounds like the treasurer is a Bull Mccabe type figure that everyone is afraid of, would that be right? Is your concern shared by others?

    Yes, a rotational policy would seem the best approach. However, the issue is that relatives of the treasurer have been earmarked for the role, once the treasurer steps down, which I've no idea when that'll happen.
    My concern is definitely shared by others but while I've no hard evidence of money going into the wrong hand, too many things are very very strange ('insurance' payouts to a player out of work coming from a commercial business account as opposed to the club's bank account or the insurance company). The issue is that if it got into the public domain that the club was being audited due to financial irregularities that this would have a significant negative impact on the reputation of the club, particularly for fundraising activities in the future.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,223 ✭✭✭ AmberGold


    Revenue might be interested in talking to him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ donnachadave


    JimFin wrote: »
    I'm not sure OP that you have the full story on this, I have some concerns on your situation. Firstly on the insurance issue, participation in the GAA Liability & Property Scheme is compulsory on all GAA units, so your club is a member by default of the scheme administered through Willis who are the appointed GAA Insurance Brokers. Any concerns about insurance fraud can be reported to the insurance body http://www.insuranceconfidential.ie

    There is no insurance scheme for injured players - only GAA Injury Benefit Fund. The Injury Fund does not seek to fully compensate but to
    supplement other covers such as Private Health Insurance, National Health Insurance, Personal Accident Cover, Employment benefit covers, Income Payment protection covers. The Fund only provides cover for otherwise unrecoverable losses up to the benefit limits. Any player who submits a claim will be out of pocket on their overall costs and as such would/should never tolerate the club holding money for their own benefit. If any player is under doubt about how much the club was paid for them they should contact their County Insurance officer in the first instance or issue a Data Protection request to Croke Park in relation to their insurance claim if that fails.

    I find it difficult to imagine that nobody in the club will question the treasurer at an AGM. As a club member you have a right to see full accounts at the AGM and question where either income or expenditure went. Others involved in fundraising will have a general idea about how much each event raised and expenditure should be requested monthly at meetings. Query the larger issues such as physio, travel, development and ensure they are genuine. This can always be done on the guise that you are seeking to reduce the costs by examining where savings can be made.  Officer rotation on a 3-5 year basis is essential in any club as other posters have said.

    Of course there are always people that can manipulate any situation and if you have concerns about this I recommend you assemble whatever information you have and submit your concerns to the Finance Dept in Croke Park. Otherwise challenge the treasurer/chairman/secretary for their post directly at AGM where hopefully you would get the club support.
    Thanks for the feedback. I will make contact with the relevant authorities in due course. I don't want to give too much detail into the particular incidents in case the club are identified, even though I'd love to go into detail about the numerous incidents over the years.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,078 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Steve


    I think your first port of call is to get your hands on copies of the 'signed off' accounts. As a member you are entitled to see them.

    I don't even want to vaguely cross into the realms of legal advice as it is not allowed on boards, however there are consequences for all parties involved including the accountant if fraudulent accounting is discovered.

    If you have serious concerns over this then and believe you have evidence, I would suggest that you and other similarly concerned members of the club collective engage a solicitor to advise you further.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 72 ✭✭✭ HughCassidy


    I thought our club was the only club in the Country run by clowns I see not we have a treasurer that cant manage his own life he has been left treasurer for the last ten years cant see anything wrong, a secretary that goes off does solo runs does not talk to the committie for the last four years there has been three different chairmen .


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,797 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    nice_guy80 wrote: »
    Clubs accounts must now be audited

    That wouldn't or shouldn't give anyone any comfort. An Audit checks what has been presented to it, they won't be going digging unless something jumps out... and when you've lots of cash floating around, it's easy for it not to jump out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,797 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    Steve wrote: »
    I think your first port of call is to get your hands on copies of the 'signed off' accounts. As a member you are entitled to see them.

    I don't even want to vaguely cross into the realms of legal advice as it is not allowed on boards, however there are consequences for all parties involved including the accountant if fraudulent accounting is discovered.

    If you have serious concerns over this then and believe you have evidence, I would suggest that you and other similarly concerned members of the club collective engage a solicitor to advise you further.

    If there's anything untoward going on, there's a massive chance that it will be done prior to an audit / not visible on audited accounts.

    Flag day pockets €4,000. Treasurer pockets €400 of it before announcing that Flag Day raised €3,600. No audit will pick that up. That clubs audit could be as clean as a whistle.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,078 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Steve


    PARlance wrote: »
    If there's anything untoward going on, there's a massive chance that it will be done prior to an audit / not visible on audited accounts.

    Flag day pockets €4,000. Treasurer pockets €400 of it before announcing that Flag Day raised €3,600. No audit will pick that up. That clubs audit could be as clean as a whistle.

    I agree.

    The accounts are a statement of 'fact' when they are signed and approved. The point is not to have the audit 'pick them up' but to later have evidence that they were falsified.


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