The ALSO Foundation is likely to be wound down following last night’s special general meeting where members voted against allowing a $500,000 loan from ALSO Care to the Foundation.

After a three-hour meeting the resolution failed to get up, with 52 opposed and 37 in favour.

During the meeting, members raised concerns that Care didn’t have $500k to give — with only around $350,000 in its reserves — and therefore the resolution could not be acted upon, even if passed.

In a dramatic start to the meeting, members were also informed current president Jarrod Hassell had resigned earlier in the week, the last few months taking their toll on the newcomer who spent a night in hospital over the weekend. Doctors advised him to quit his position for his health.

Treasurer Gerard Brody — who acted as the chairman for the meeting — admitted that funds from the members’ resolution fund had been accessed without members’ approval and past financial mistakes had been made.

“It has now come to bear that funds from the members’ resolution have been accessed, which we have disclosed,” he said.

“I don’t want to forensically go into every transaction at this meeting, but suffice to say that practices were not robust enough in the past.

“It has become clear that there have been significant problems in our financial reporting and accounting practices that the board and committee did not fully understand.”

During the meeting, ALSO CEO Crusader Hillis admitted errors had been made and he had struggled to get his head around the organisation’s finances and had built a new chart of accounts to try and get finances in order.

However, he called for the community to come together and vote ‘yes’ to save the organisation, saying there was still much work to do.
“I’ve made some mistakes. One is not moving on our financial people in quicker than we should have,” he said.

“What I want from the community … I want less divisiveness and less sniping … and more unity that both organisations have been vital to our health.”

During debate, longtime ALSO member Jamie Gardiner led the ‘yes’ vote, saying voting down the resolution would “trash the heritage and contribution” of people who established the organisation 30 years ago.

JOY president and former ALSO board member David McCarthy urged members to vote ‘no’, saying a ‘yes’ vote would exonerate the board for “years of reckless spending”.

During the meeting, ALSO marketing manager Alex Schoeffel announced he had resigned from the organisation.

Longtime ALSO member Geoff Richards, who led the push for a ‘no’ vote, told the Star Observer he was satisfied with the result.

“I’m gratified really, that [the ALSO Care committee] has taken a cold hard shower and I now hope that committee will get on with the job.”

During the meeting, Brody said if the vote was turned down the committee should appoint a voluntary administrator immediately.

The Star Observer understands a group of 10 members is being established to propose funds from ALSO Care be released to pay Care’s liabilities to ensure its long-term survival.

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