The other night, I was stunned to see someone tweet a reference to 'The McCann Charity' and actually attempt to argue his point. It's hard to believe that people are still under the impression that the fund is a registered charity. It isn't... I think this point really should be laid to rest, it's so old it's growing a beard.
It all started after Madeleine's disappearance in May 2007. With an apparent flood of donations, the decision was made to channel the money in a way that could benefit the McCanns and the search for Madeleine. I believe that the money donated by the general public was intended to help find Madeleine... I know my donation was.
Plans were set in motion and a meeting with the Charity Commission was arranged to enquire if the fund could achieve charitable status. After this meeting, it was widely reported in the British media that the fund was refused charitable status because the money raised did not "represent the good of all" and was not for "the wider public good".
The Charity Commission were compelled to issue a statement in response to these reports in the media, claiming they had been "misreported" and a spokeswoman was quoted in the Charity News Alert as saying...
"We were first approached for our advice about the possibility of a fund to assist the parents’ search on Monday 14 May. We held discussions with the family’s lawyers and in the end they decided not to pursue that route."
So, not only were they not refused charitable status, it appears they actually decided not to take that route themselves.
And so on 15th May 2007, Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited was born.
Registered at Companies House, this is the McCanns' very own private limited company. Not a charity, but a private company at which both Mr and Mrs McCann sit at the helm as directors, along with other family and friends. All making decisions and regulating just what happens with all that dollar.
They say the majority of the fund money has and will be used on investigative work to help find Madeleine. Additionally the money continues to be spent on the wider "Awareness Campaign". What else has the fund money been used for? It's difficult to tell from the not so transparent accounts as several pages were hidden. What about the payments on the mortgage of the McCanns' family home, their extortionate legal fees for several failed court battles and the upcoming Portuguese libel trial amongst other things?
Unfortunately for the unsuspecting people aiming to help find Madeleine, all these additional costs can be justified by slotting them under the wide umbrella that is point 3 of the fund objectives. Yes, even those M&S strawberries...
Back in 2007, as the public personally pushed cash donations into his pockets, Brian Kennedy, an uncle of Kate McCann was in no doubt that the fund money would be mainly for legal expenditure...
"Tell us about the Fighting Fund..."
"This is not an appeal, the family haven't made an appeal. We've just set up a mechanism for people who said they wanted to do something and contribute, so that the money can be used for all sorts of reasons but probably mainly for legal expenditure."
17th May 2007
Unless they are prepared to delve a little deeper into this case, the gullible public can hardly be blamed for believing that they are donating to a charity. Especially when they are being led by the British media which, to this day, regularly misprints news of charitable funds being donated to the Madeleine charity. Absolutely misleading, if the media are prepared to print such lies, then they must be prepared to assume some of the responsibility for blatantly misleading the public.
When questioned about her book sales, Kate McCann said "Every penny will go on the search for Madeleine." However, this was swiftly amended to "All royalties donated to Madeleine's fund" with the addition of a sticker to the front of the book.
To the unsuspecting naive eye, nothing has changed. Unless you look again at the objectives of Madeleine's fund and the shrewdly disguised part 3 and realise that perhaps not every single penny will go on the search for Madeleine, but simply be added to the fund. Which of course is 'to provide support, including financial assistance, to Madeleine's family. And boy, is it a big family with what appears to be a lot of 'legal expenditure'. Is Uncle Brian psychic? Uncle Brian's Dreams (Limited)... now that has a certain ring to it...
The McCanns are legally doing nothing wrong in spending this money. However, the morality of it all comes into question when donations were made by children, pensioners and genuine people giving their last to help find their daughter. All under the guise of the search for a missing child with misreporting in the media encouraging people to believe they are donating to a charity.
Morally wrong, misreported with no attempt to make any amendments.
The fund is not a charity. It never was and by the looks of things, it never will be.