How could anyone do this to his own, particularly to veterans.
Throw the book at him. He's lucky not to be fragged.
Former NSW RSL president Don Rowe allowed son to use Presidential Suite at Sydney hotel for 7 years - paid for by RSL
Former NSW RSL president Don Rowe stayed in the “presidential suite” of a Sydney hotel and allowed his son to use it for seven years even though the room was being paid for by the organisation, an independent inquiry into the veterans’ charity was told on Monday.
The inquiry, led by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, also heard Mr Rowe charged lavish meals, flights for family members, exorbitant supermarket bills and mortgage repayments to his corporate credit card throughout his 11-year reign.
Mr Rowe, who quit in November 2014 citing health issues, told the inquiry that staff at the NSW branch of the Returned and Services League told him a “presidential suite” at the four-star Hyde Park Inn had been made available for his use “as I saw fit”.
Mr Rowe said one of his sons stayed at the apartment over a period of seven years, and that on at least one occasion he used his RSL credit card to pay for his daughter to stay in the room when he wasn’t there.
“It didn’t mean that you could allow members of your family to use it ... did you understand that at the time?” counsel assisting Anthony Cheshire SC asked.
“No, I didn’t,” Mr Rowe replied.
The inquiry, which is investigating systemic failings within the NSW RSL branch, its aged-care arm RSL LifeCare and its Welfare Benevolent Institution, was also told that Mr Rowe received a $20,000 car allowance per annum of which he used a portion to pay off the mortgage of his Armidale home.
An auditor’s report last year found Mr Rowe used his RSL corporate credit card to pay for $38,000 worth of his family members’ phone bills and to withdraw over $200,000 in cash during his time as president.
Mr Rowe later paid back the RSL about $2500, a figure he calculated himself based on the approximate costs of the phone bills.
The inquiry heard Mr Rowe would use the credit card for everyday living expenses, including toothpaste, shirts and a $568 bill at Coles on Christmas Eve in 2013.
The inquiry also heard that Mr Rowe, a Vietnam War veteran, was receiving two pensions the entire time he was president which amounted to approximately $2000 per fortnight, but failed to declare to Centrelink the RSL funds which he was using as income.
Mr Rowe admitted that throughout his tenure as state president, numerous members of his staff raised concerns about him not keeping adequate documentation for expenses, but that he never properly addressed this.
Mr Rowe began his evidence by apologising for spending the organisation’s money on personal expenses, while insisting he hadn’t done so deliberately.
“I apologise to the RSL, LifeCare and RSL Welfare Benevolent Institution and to the members of public who have donated for my failings as state president of the RSL,” Mr Rowe said.
“The achievements during [my period as president] ... have been overshadowed by many failings including my own,” Mr Rowe said. “I accept that responsibility. I unreservedly apologise. We’ve had a big stuff-up. I don’t blame anyone else. The buck stops with me.”
I think my mum and dad sent me to a Convent School because they were pretty confident the nuns were good people who'd set a good example.
Isn't that what we want from the people into whose care we entrust our children?
The NSW Office of the Children's Guardian has taken insufficient exception to the approval by the NSW Supreme Court of a man who has failed a "working with children" check as now being a fit and proper operator of child care centres.
The individual who has avoided being named in the proceedings has the following criminal history/antecedents:
During a two-month spree in 1982, he variously:
grabbed a 23-year-old woman's crotch,
grabbed the crotch and breasts of another 29-year-old woman
exposed his penis to her
pulled up the T-shirt of a 20-year-old woman and grabbed her breast
invited her to perform fellatio
approached a 15-year-old girl and asked her to sit on his penis
entered another woman's car without her consent and ignored her requests to get out
grabbed her breasts, pushing off her bikini top in the process
His further criminal and civil offence history includes:
a drink driving offence in 1988,
a 1992 incident in which he entered a woman's bedroom and pulled down her nightdress
a 2002 episode at a hotel where he racially abused patrons
groped two policewomen
made sexually lewd remarks to an elderly woman after grabbing her bottom
a conviction for cocaine possession in 2003
damages payment after he urinated on the floor of a hotel in 2003,
was charged over an altercation on a golf course – though the charges were later withdrawn
fined for opening a childcare centre without a licence in 2004.
faced allegations of domestic violence by two former partners and
reported to the Department of Community Services in 2015 after one of his teenage sons wrote a story about his dad swearing and hitting him.
A forensic psychiatrist retained by the children's guardian considered that the man posed a low-to-moderate risk of sexual or violent behaviour, but said he could not provide a definitive opinion because the man refused to have a psychiatric assessment.
Justice Richard Button found the tribunal accepted the man had behaved "boorishly, unattractively and anti-socially" but this did not mean he posed a risk to children and it had made no error of law.