Ex-mayor suspended as charity trustee

By Roddy AshworthA FORMER leader of Tendring District Council and ex-Mayor of Harwich has been suspended from his position as a trustee of a charity.

By Roddy Ashworth

A FORMER leader of Tendring District Council and ex-Mayor of Harwich has been suspended from his position as a trustee of a charity.

Bill Mixter was one of the trustees of Harwich Phab - a charity set up to help disabled people - along with Bob Scott.

The charity stopped operating last summer after it apparently ran out of money and a police investigation was subsequently launched into allegations of financial irregularities.

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A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said yesterday although its investigation was still ongoing, both Mr Mixter and Mr Scott had been temporarily suspended from their position as trustees.

She added Mr Scott was the chairman of Harwich Phab and he and Mr Mixter were the only two trustees.

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Mr Mixter had been a member of the Labour Party and a Tendring district councillor until the local government elections in May.

During his time in local politics, Mr Mixter was leader of the council and was also Mayor of Harwich.

The Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “The Commission's investigation currently remains open.

“As a temporary and protective measure, the Commission has suspended Mr Scott and Mr Mixter from their roles within the charity pending consideration of whether there are grounds for their permanent removal.

“We're in the process of considering the evidence given to us. It is Commission policy that any evidence of fraud would always be passed to the police.”

The spokeswoman added there would now be a month-long period of time in which Mr Mixter and Mr Scott could make representations.

Harwich Phab is independent from the national organisation and has its own charity number.

It ran a Government New Deal programme, helped people with disabilities fill in benefit forms, organised the town's Shopmobility scheme and ran a minibus service for people from social services care homes.

Neither Mr Scott nor Mr Mixter were available for comment last night.

But speaking last year after the police investigation was launched, Mr Scott said: “I'll take responsibility to sort it all out. I'm not taking the full responsibility to pay the debt - I was only chairman, not the board of trustees.

“Phab was a big victim of its own success. It grew so big, it needed an enormous amount of money to keep it open over the year - about £80,000 a year - and there are so many charities trying to get money out of the same pot.”


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