Street Swag Founder In Civil Action Over Charity Fund
29 June 2016 at 4:22 pm
The highly-awarded founder of Queensland charity Street Swags – which provides lightweight and waterproof sleeping bags for the homeless – has resigned and is facing civil court action over her alleged handling of the charity’s funds.
A media report by the Daily Telegraph said Street Swags founder Jean Madden was alleged to have given her partner a half-a-million dollar contract and spent $170,000 of the charity’s money.
The media report said: “Documents tendered to the court allege the Brisbane woman gave her partner a $528,000-a-year contract for transportable shelters and charged the charity thousands to host lunches, make purchases on her Apple account and put down a loan on a $60,000 Toyota Landcruiser.”
Madden, who was awarded Queensland Young Australian of the Year in 2010, the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award in Queensland, as well as an Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur award in 2014, was due in court on Wednesday.
She addressed the accusations in a Facebook video saying she was “devastated” to lose her life’s work.
“I started the charity Street Swags back in 2005. During this time I’ve had an impeccable career which has been outstanding with many awards and accolations [sic],” Madden said.
“As of 19 May I am no longer the managing director of Street Swags. I have also resigned as a director of the board.
“I have devoted my life to Street Swags, inventing the swag itself and then going on to build a substantial charity over the past 11 years.
“I am devastated to lose my life’s work and look forward to resolving matters with the current management of Street Swags, and its board of directors, so the organisation can move forward and continue to support Australia’s homeless.”
She also posted that police had assured her that they were not investigating any forensic financial report from the charity.
According to the charity’s website: “The Street Swags are made by Australian prisoners who gain qualifications and skills, improving their chances of employment after incarceration, and helping to break the cycle of poverty, crime and homelessness. The swags are then rolled and packed by school children who learn about giving back to the community.”