RSL boss Rod White stands aside over allegations of financial misconduct

RSL national president Rod White has been stood down. Photo: Jeff de PasqualeThe national president of the RSL, Rod White, has been stood down, as the scandal in the NSW branch over consultancy payments to voluntary directors deepens.
Nanjing Night Net

Acting president Robert Dick said Mr White had been asked to stand aside while allegations of financial misconduct against him and a number of fellow directors of RSL Lifecare were investigated fully.

In October, Fairfax Media revealed Mr White and three NSW colleagues had received a share in nearly $1 million in consulting fees paid by RSL Lifecare, where they were directors.

RSL Lifecare, which operates 45 nursing homes and retirement villages, is controlled by RSL NSW. Mr White and other members of the state council had appointed themselves to the board of the company.

Mr Dick said the review into the payment of fees being undertaken by advisory firm KordaMentha had rocked the RSL in its centenary year and just days before Remembrance Day.

“I can assure the community that RSL National takes a zero-tolerance approach to any unlawful practices,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate that the RSL is involved in this sort of investigation during the commemoration of the league’s centenary and in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.

“However, we must not lose sight of the incredible work the RSL has done for the past 100 years to support veterans and their families. That support is needed now more than ever.”

As revealed by Fairfax, documents lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission show that over the past three years, $980,675 was paid in “consulting fees” to up to 10 directors of RSL LifeCare.

During this period, four of those directors were also RSL NSW state councillors. The payments were made despite their roles as councillors being voluntary.

Over those three years, Mr White was either state treasurer or president. Then state councillors Don Rowe, Bill Humphreys and Bob Crosthwaite were also RSL LifeCare directors when the payments were made.

All four were appointed to the RSL LifeCare board by the state council they were sitting on at the time.

Mr White has previously said that “there is no conflict of interest” and he was “entitled to enter into a commercial agreement” with RSL LifeCare separate to his voluntary position as an RSL NSW councillor.

Concern about financial mismanagement in the NSW branch goes back to at least September, when a forensic audit of the past seven years’ spending by senior leadership was announced.

The NSW branch of the RSL has 364 sub-branches and is worth an estimated $500 million.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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