The first instalment of the ‘Vince McBean files’, a new series looking at Clapton chief executive’s track record working in football and the charity sector.
Clapton FC chief executive Vince McBean paid himself a salary of £9,050 per WEEK in cash while he was director of a charity for the homeless in the early 2000s, an astonishing official report reveals.
The extraordinary sum, equivalent to £767,000 per year in today’s money, is revealed in the Charity Commission report, published in 2005, into Knights Millenium Foyer Limited (KMF) and Knights Institute of Sport (KIS).
The two charities, which collapsed in early 2004, were indelibly linked, with the same trustees and with Mr McBean as director of each.
KMF had been given over £2million of lottery money from the Millennium Commission in December 2000 to buy and refurbish a disused police training building, Ranulph Bacon House in Upper Norwood, Croydon, to provide temporary accommodation for vulnerable homeless people under the age of 25.
Meanwhile KIS was given over £200,000 to lease Orchards Playing Fields in nearby Anerley and provide sports training for young people who were socially or economically disadvantaged.
That £9,050 was paid weekly from KMF’s funds to a private company, Knights Corporation Ltd (KC), of which Mr McBean was the only director, beginning in December 2000. There was no record of the trustees ever agreeing to pay him such an astronomical amount, the report found.
In addition, the Charity Commission report found that in excess of £345,000 was taken out in cheques made payable to cash, from the bank accounts of KMF and KIS. Mr McBean’s was the only signature on those cheques, the report said.
The trustees claimed that the money was spent on decoration, food and clothing. The whole £345,000 had been paid out in cash, they said, but they had no documentation such as receipts or invoices.
As well as the £470,500 salary he took, Mr McBean also lived rent-free in a detached house at the site, again with no paperwork for the arrangement.
But did Mr McBean at least run the charities well in return?
Unfortunately not. The Charity Commission report notes that Mr McBean’s KC ‘was fulfilling only a fraction of its duties to KMF under the terms.’
KMF had run up debts approaching £2million when it collapsed, owed to Croydon Council, South London Family Housing Association and other unspecified creditors.
The report adds that many residents were over 25, some had lived in the ‘short-term’ accommodation for three years or more, and some “did not appear to be in charitable need.”
Ranulph Bacon House was taken over by the YMCA charity in 2004 and its director Bob Brown described the building’s condition as “ghastly”.
Mr Brown told the Croydon Advertiser: “The accommodation is not suited to its current use and has very poor facilities. As such it’s unfit for purpose.”
This was despite Mr McBean’s charity being given £2,017,712 to purchase and upgrade those very facilities just four years earlier.
The report adds that KIS failed to make use of the sports field and the council did not renew the licence.
Mr McBean resigned from KC in June 2003 and KMF in August 2003, before the charity’s collapse in early 2004, and therefore faced no action when the Charity Commission released their damning report.
Four of his long-time associates, however. including three who helped him take control of Clapton in 2000, were subsequently disqualified from acting as charity trustees.
Read the full Charity Commission report here. Please note that Mr McBean is not referred to by name, just called ‘chief executive’. However, the accounts prepared by YMCA do name him.
We approached Mr McBean via Clapton FC for comment but did not receive a reply. The club announced a policy not to speak to us in November last year.
If you are concerned about Mr McBean’s handling of London’s oldest senior football ground, the Old Spotted Dog, sign the petition calling on authorities to safeguard it here.