Embattled Console boss hands back cars, keys and credit cards
The husband-and-wife team who headed the suicide bereavement charity Console relinquished their top-of-the-range company cars, credit cards, company records, a computer and keys yesterday after 10 days of turmoil over revelations of massive spending.
Paul Kelly, who resigned as chief executive of Console, and his wife, Patricia, who was its chairperson and director, failed to show up for the handover, which took place in Bewleys Hotel, Ballsbridge shortly before 2pm yesterday.
Instead, solicitors for the couple arranged for the 2010 Audi Q5 used by Patricia Kelly and a 2009 Mercedes CLS driven by her husband to be collected from their home in Clane, Co Kildare, yesterday morning. The cars cost the charity more than €87,000.
The high-end motors were driven to Bewleys Hotel, where David Hall, the charity's interim chief executive, took possession of them.
He also collected a number of credit cards used by Paul and Patricia Kelly, and their son Tim, a computer, files, records and cheque books.
After a week of silence, the Kellys made contact with David Hall through an intermediary on Friday night, the day after the High Court had ordered them to return Console's assets and prohibited them from interfering with the charity.
Mr Hall confirmed that the cars had been taken to auction house, where they will remain for the immediate future.
"I will be getting an inventory of what was returned and will be updating the High Court on Tuesday," he said.
The Sunday Independent has also learned that:
- A draft HSE audit internal report, seen by this newspaper, reveals how Paul Kelly made three trips to Australia at the expense of Console in 16 months. His son Tim accompanied him on two of those trips, which took in Dubai, New Zealand and Singapore
- The HSE transferred €53,000 in state funds to the charity's bank account last month, despite concerns about its governance. When asked, David Hall confirmed that the funds were received by Console on Friday, June 24, the day after RTE Investigates highlighted serious financial concerns.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs is to send auditors to London this week to examine Console's UK books. The department paid grants of €130,000 to Console UK.
A draft HSE internal audit report found that credit card bills for Paul, Patricia Kelly and Tim Kelly came close to €500,000 between 2012 and 2014. The charity received €1.3m in HSE funds in this period and a further €3.7m in public donations, fundraisers and other sources.