- State Trustees Limited: Destruction of Trust
- By Matt Johnston
- Contributed by: Noel ( 5 articles in 2018 )
State Trustees chief Craig Dent at the CEO's Sleepout.
State Trustees CEO stood aside pending probe on spending
THE head of a public sector agency helping vulnerable Victorians manage their finances has been stood aside during a probe into allegations taxpayer money was misused.
State Trustees chief executive Craig Dent was suspended on full pay in February, with more than $300,000 in spending by the agency now being assessed.
This includes more than $100,000 allegedly spent on a personal website, and tens of thousands of dollars that went towards Harvard University fees.
More than a third of the money in question relates to the publication and promotion of Mr Dent's book The Creation of Trust.
That book was launched at state parliament alongside Treasurer Tim Pallas, and is billed online as being about “honour, resilience, scandal, sustainability, and the history of Australia's public trustees”.
Jenny Acton, Chair of State Trustees, said the board was notified of the allegations on February 23. “I can confirm that the CEO of State Trustees has been stood aside pending the outcome of the investigation,” she said.
“The allegations do not involve client funds.
“It would not be appropriate for us to comment further while the investigation is under way.”
Mr Dent, who is also an adjunct professor at Victoria University, has been in the role for five years, and his website provides a spiel spruiking The Creation of Trust book.
“The book talks openly about the sector's creation, its evolution, its challenges and the benefit that Public Trustees provide to the community,” it says.
“While writing the book was challenging, and there were moments of pure frustration, I enjoyed writing The Creation of Trust and putting the pieces of our history together.”
The blurb notes that profits from the sale of the book go to the State Trustees Australia Foundation, which is a charitable trust “that aims to make a difference to the community by supporting those in need”.
It is understood the money spent to publish and promote the book is being probed.
Shadow Treasurer Michael O'Brien said “any allegations suggesting that trust has been abused must be investigated”.
“Thousands of vulnerable Victorians have their financial affairs managed by State Trustees. It is a relationship requiring the highest levels of trust and probity,” he said.
Mr Dent declined to comment. But his lawyer said Mr Dent had “not been provided with any detail regarding any allegations”.
Vic public sector agency boss stands aside
Herald Sun 7 March 2018