Crisis-hit charity Rehab has had to to put its €12m headquarters up for sale to ensure it can pay off mounting bank debt and so keep funding vital services.
The scale of the situation was outlined to staff at a tense meeting with new chief executive Mo Flynn yesterday, contradicting public claims the sale is about “maximising resources” for frontline care.
The disability charity was embroiled in a senior management payments scandal two years ago. In a statement yesterday morning, it confirmed it was putting its Roslyn Park headquarters up for sale as part of an ongoing restructuring plan.
The 5.5 acre site, in the Sandymount suburb of Dublin, has been owned by the group since the 1970s and backs onto a beach. It has been valued at at least €12m, with a price of up to €20m projected.
A spokesperson said the move is unrelated to a €14m debt facing the charity due to mounting bank debt.
However, the Irish Examiner understands chief executive Ms Flynn confirmed to staff yesterday morning that the sale of the substantial property is related to the debt and is seen as the best way to ensure services continue.
It is thought the senior official told staff a number of banks have recently called in loans owed by Rehab, in part because of an ongoing loss in donations and other income as a result of the 2014 payments controversy surrounding ex-chief executive Angela Kerins and others.
While not all of the debt relates to the post-2014 era, Ms Flynn is believed to have told staff the charity has come under substantial pressure to pay the money.
In an internal memo to staff yesterday morning after the meeting took place, Ms Flynn also said while the sale relates to a five-year reform strategy to ensure funds are focused on front-line needs, the charity has had to to sell the property to guarantee “a stable financial footing”.
“One of the first objectives of the change programme is to ensure we are on a sustainable financial footing allowing us to continue to invest in the services we provide. The sale of Roslyn Park will do that,” the memo read.
However, in a press statement, a spokesperson said selling the costly headquarters simply “better reflects the group’s new strategic direction”.
Rehab became engulfed in a financial scandal in 2014 after it emerged its then chief executive Angela Kerins was being paid more than €400,000 a year, The figure included a €240,000 basic salary, bonuses, and the use of an Audi company car.
She had repeatedly refused to divulge the substantial income, or deals involving companies linked to her and her relatives until the matters were raised by the Dáil’s public accounts committee against whom she has since taken legal action.
In addition to her salary, further concerns were also raised about almost €500,000 in consultancy fees paid to ex-board member and former Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery after he left.
After the controversies Rehab suffered a major slump in public donations, putting frontline services at direct threat, leading to the vast majority of senior management including Ms Kerins stepping down.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved