Monday, 9 January 2012

Mighty fine journalism


A salute to Mandrake and a call to the Charity Commission

Today, the Daily Telegraph’s “Mandrake” column renewed their coverage of the scandal surrounding Lady Meyer and her charity, Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT).

Former head of the Press Complaints Commission and ex British Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher and his wife Lady Meyer at an event organised by Matthew Steeples at Mare Moto, 562 Kings Road, London, SW6 2DZ

I myself made the mistake of becoming involved with PACT a number of years ago after being taken in by Meyer’s story of how her ex-husband abducted her children. Like many others, I gave time and money to this charity believing that it’s privileged founder, the wife of the former ambassador to Washington, did just the same.

As time progressed, though, I became suspicious of the motives of Meyer and her husband Sir Christopher, who happens rather inappropriately to sit on the board of PACT, and ceased to be involved in May 2010.

Exactly a year later, Richard Eden, a superbly tenacious journalist who works on the Daily Telegraph’s “Mandrake” column, published a piece that sadly revealed my misgivings to be true. Eden, simply by analysing the accounts of the charity, found that all but £9,500 of the substantial income 6-figure it received had been paid to the “Chanel-clad” Lady Meyer and one other member of staff. Here, indeed, was a charity that provided an income for an already privileged and wealthy woman who resides in the smart echelons of Cadogan Lane in Belgravia.

Over the coming weeks, Eden and others including The Independent’s Matthew Bell and Janet Street-Porter further delved into this scandal and I myself contacted the Charity Commission to make a complaint about PACT. In response, all I got was a standard letter from a lady named Shirley Banks that simply suggested I direct complaints to the trustees of the very charity I was complaining about. Here, I found, was an organisation who were not bothered by such an appalling state of affairs.

The wife of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, Cherie Booth QC

Whilst the furore may have died down in the remaining months of 2011, “Mandrake” again showed it’s investigative spirit when it revealed this morning that Cherie Blair was no longer a patron of PACT and that her name had been removed from their website. Others, however, including the novelist Barbara Taylor-Bradford remain and their endorsement of “charity beginning at home” is, to my mind, most disconcerting.

If indeed the Charity Commission wants to show itself to be something other toothless, it should take heed and review the ways that the salaries of those running charities are set.


Read Janet Street-Porter’s piece for The Independent about the “mess that is the giving sector” at: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/janet-street-porter/editoratlarge-the-giving-sector-is-a-mess-ndash-and-thats-being-charitable-2290324.html


Find out more about PACT at: http://www.pact-online.org

View the website of the Charity Commission for England and Wales at: http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk

53 comments:

Helen said...

Lady Meyer deserves to be locked up. How could she profit from innocent children?

Wuffo said...

She profited because she saw it as her entitlement as a member of the political class.

Those of us who contribute to charities are the little people that pay taxes, according to Cherie and her friends.

Mowbray Jackson said...

Steeples
 
You should get your facts straight. Blair has not stepped down from PACT. So you have raised a toast to Mrs Blair in vain - that must hurt
 
I would suggest that Walker & Eden should be worried. They have not managed to get their facts in order - which is nothing new when it comes to Mandrake. The column has become a bitchy insidious vehicle for a dubious cabal of suspect hacks; woefully inaccurate and often just wrong.
Theirs has been very shoddy work and quite rightly Walker is concerned. Sadly they are assisting in the downfall of what was once a very fine newspaper.
 
You should be careful too of accusing Lady Meyer of 'Thievery'. That is libel
 
Flattered that you will find my opinion fascinating - it hasn’t changed - at least towards PACT. It has stayed pretty much steady regarding you too.
 
Yours with contempt
 
Stooge Jackson
 
 
From: Matthew Steeples
Date: 9 January 2012 13:00:00 GMT
To: Matthew Steeples
Subject: Mrs Blair gets it right for once
 
 
 
Dear friends
 
Well done to Cherie Blair for taking a stance regarding the disgraceful actions of Lady Meyer and well done to Richard Eden for continuing to expose the sham that is PACT.
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9000854/Cherie-Blair-steps-down-as-a-patron-of-Lady-Meyers-charity.html
 
It’d be fascinating to hear what the likes of the stooges Mowbray Jackson and Antonia Tingey – who have so staunchly stood up for this thievery – have to say now.
 
I never thought I’d say it, but I do indeed raise a toast to Mrs Blair!
 
Best wishes
 
Matthew

Matthew Steeples said...

1. You were never sent this email so you no right to publish it. However you came across it, I don't know and nor do I care.

2. You forgot to include the contact details you put on the email you sent to me so I've added them for you:

"
Mowbray Jackson
The Iconoclast
Nine Elms Pier
Tideway Walk
London
SW8 5PZ

Cell : +44 7762 176741
Twitter: @mowbrayjackson
Skype: mowbray jackson"

3. Keep digging.

4. I raise a glass of London's finest to you.

Henry said...

This Mowbray person is the thickest idiot in the village if he believes that Meyer didn't get the money. The accounts don't lie.

Angela G said...

I see his address is linked to a charity as well. Does charity begin at home for him too?

William said...

Who is Mowbray Jackson? Is he the one who is often to be spotted with Antonia Tingey? Birds of a feather!!!!!!!!!!

Rick Lander said...

You could call Mowbray a 'piece of work' but he hasn't done a day in years. Go in Brinkleys on Hollywood Rd. & you'll find him hovering around Hugh Grant like a rogue fly on shit.

Michael Ezra said...

Matthew, 

Thank you for this post. I have written my own blog post on the matter that can be seen here

Naturally, I have "hat tipped" you for bringing the update of this sordid tale to my attention. 

There are plenty of charities far more worthy of Cherie Blair's patronage.

Matthew Steeples said...

Thank you so much Michael for your excellent piece.

Cherie Blair is, whatever Mowbray Jackson may say, no longer on the website of PACT. Speaks huge volumes about her faith in that "charity," whatever he may spout.

You are spot on in your comments.

Charlotte said...

matthew you have every right to say what you will about the meyer's and their cohorts. the facts of the matter are undeniable and the accounts are there to prove it. keep up the pressure and the good work. these people must be brought to book for their clearly uncharitable behaviour

P Hancock said...

Where do you find them Matty boy? Mowbray just makes a jackass of himself in his remarks.

Matthew Steeples said...

Thank you Charlotte. Your ongoing support in this regard proves you for the wholeheartedly decent and wonderful person that you are. M x

Matthew Steeples said...

Perhaps he doesn't understand simple accounting. The accounts, as you say, don't lie.

Matthew Steeples said...

I have no idea what goes on at his address. I'd rather not know actually but you may have a point.

Matthew Steeples said...

It is truly shocking. The accounts don't lie.

Matthew Steeples said...

The word "entitlement" about says it all. A good point, well made.

Ougaouga said...

I think everyone has lost the plot...Caroline Flake 31 with a 17 year old boy...Amanda Sheep 29 with a 66 year old man....black guys raping white girls at afterparties..... MowbrayJackass wanking on blogs...Lady Whatever stealing from kiddos....black American President....WHATEVER NEXT????

Chantelle DJ said...

What a dirty fucker.

Alexandra said...

Thank goodness for people like you Matthew exposing these so called charitable trustees as nothing but money grabbing undesirables. Lady Meyer and her husband are living the life of luxury whilst the rest of us decent people donate to a cause: just for them to profit from it. The fact that Cherie Blair decided to leave PACT says it all – she didn’t want to be associated with these scammers and neither do we.   Surely money from a charity should be going directly to those in need not money grabbing privileged people.  Keep up the good work Matthew!  It brings a whole new meaning to the word “charity” we should all be vigilant now.

Steve Tang said...

"Stealing from the donation box "...

Guest said...

Whilst applauding your stance on the PACT Charity, I feel you lose some moral ground by issuing comments on how Lady Meyer chooses to dress and by entering into a tit-for-tat debate with Mr Jackson and Ms Tingey.  It can read as if it is a rather personal argument with these people rather than a professional opinion of PACT. I for one am getting bored with reading about them rather than about PACT's "charitable" status although I fully understand your dislike of Lady Meyer.  Just a thought.

Jacqueline said...

Hey Mowbray - Jackie here. When you fall out with someone, treat them as dead meat and don't continue to talk to them. Leave Matthew be.

Hey Matthew - You should have the sense to ignore Mowbray too.

Stop behaving like a pair of school kids and get on with your lives.

Peace and happiness.

Jacqueline said...

Hey Ougaouga - There's no place for racism. It's as bad as stealing money meant for abducted kids.

Jacqueline said...

Hey Michael - Jackie here. Your blog post is succinct and accurate. I was impressed.

Jacqueline said...

Hey Charlotte - Jackie here. It's tantamount to child abuse what this Meyer woman has been doing. She should be put in the stocks and be pelted with rotten veg.

Jacqueline said...

Hey Chantelle and Rick - There's no place for bad language. Play like good children.

Jacqueline said...

Hey William - Who is Antonia Tingey? Jackie

Jacqueline said...

Hey Alexandra - You are totally right. Mrs Blair comes out of this looking very dignified. Isn't that the oddity of this whole story? Jackie

Jacqueline said...

Hey - Not sure what your name is but I'm Jackie. I think Lady Meyer's clothing is pointed out because she flaunts it around. There was a story about her encouraging Michael Howard to drink champagne from her Chanel shoe once in the Daily Mail. It is Lady Meyer who promotes Chanel as much as she promotes Ralph Lauren. Like her being paid by a kids charity, it is illustration of her being a person who is happy to take whatever she can get for nothing without giving anything back. I'd say this is entirely relevant.

Jasmine Hilton said...

You are all donkeys if you believe this story. All Meyer has done is follow the rules and done what all former ambassador types do. Once you've lived in luxury and been driven around in a Rolls Royce, who would want to go back to the poverty and basement flat you previously dwelled in?

C W Nevius said...

Matthew Steeples: I write for the San Francisco Chronicle. I'd like to contact you to discuss a story on Maurice Kanbar and some buildings he owns. I was told you were involved with him and might know more. Please could you let me know how I can reach you? Thank you. BR, C. W. Nevius.

Tom Packer said...

PACT = Persons Attracted (to) Cash Tills.

Matthew Steeples said...

Thank you C W. I will email you the the address per the message I received via Disqus.

Matthew Steeples said...

Julia (I know it's you because of my Disqus): Thank you for your thoughts. You have a point, but I also would suggest that what Jacqueline (below) says makes their involvement relevant.

Matthew Steeples said...

Alex: Thank you for your comment and support. My point is a general one: charity needs to be better regulated and rich, privileged people should know better than to take salaries from them.

Matthew Steeples said...

Eugene: You bring "Sex Pestering" into everything. Am I surprised?

Matthew Steeples said...

He was someone I was unfortunately introduced to. When you meet many people, as I do, you meet some dregs sadly. More happily, most people I encounter are a delight to spend time with.

Matthew Steeples said...

Rick: Brinkley's is not a place I frequent. I have to say, on the occasions I have visited I have not liked what I've seen.

Matthew Steeples said...

I am glad to report that I have no association with either of them anymore. It was bad judgement on my part that I ever spent time with this pair and for that I've already apologised to all concerned.

Mowbray Jackson said...

Mandrake and you (as per) leapt to an erroneous conclusion because a couple of Patrons had disappeared from the Pact website. The site www.pact-online.org was undergoing some reconstruction. You should have waited before you and that bizarre group of hacks at the DT got your knickers twisted.
Why dont you check out the new website? You might learn something;

http://www.pact-online.org/About-Us/about-us-directors-a-patrons-pact-parents-and-abducted-children-together-parental-abduction-missing-children-associate-of-icmec.html

Anonymous said...

I have taken a look at the new website and Cherie Blair is no longer a patron.

I volunteered to help with a PACT fundraising event in 2010. I reached out to my friends and contacts for gifts to auction. I thought that I was helping a worthy cause. I worked hard to get prizes which ultimately generated thousands of pounds in proceeds. Now it appears I was helping to line someone else's pockets. I feel really ashamed to have got myself and my friends involved.

Michael Ezra said...

Thank you very much Jacqueline. 

Matthew Steeples said...

For the information of readers: Mowbray Jackson, voted a "Troll of the Year" in The Tweet Awards 2011 is now banned from commenting on this blog.

Michael Ezra said...

Thank you Matthew. To be fair, I know about this whole case due to you. You really have done a splendid job in making people aware of what did occur with funds to this charity. 


I hope it does not put people off donating to other worthy causes. There are plenty of them, for example, my  own pet project, my retire in Barbados fund. If you would like to make a donation, it should be gratefully received.  Given the cost of beach front properties, works of art to suitably furnish the place and magnums of vintage Krug for the endless parties I will need to throw, can I put you down for £25 million?

Maria@maria.com said...

Mowbray - who came up with that as a name for their kid?

Anonymous said...

mowbray, reminds me of pork pies and we all know what the rhyming slang for that is. hopefully giving to charity should become a bit more transparent with well published accounts for all to see. great blog cheers
LR

Adam Peterson said...

Sickening conduct.

Adam Peterson said...

I agree.

Adam Peterson said...

Right on Charlotte. I'm with you on this.

Adam Peterson said...

Is this a real comment?

Adam Peterson said...

They just sounds like a bunch of bullies.

Adam Peterson said...

It's an amazing tale. But equally utterly disgusting.