A FORMER Mansfield union leader accused of stealing almost £150,000 from a charity that ran a care home for sick and elderly miners has said he was entitled to an £11,750 kitchen in place of a salary.
Former president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) Neil Greatrex and the union’s ex-general secretary Mick Stevens, both 60, are accused of 14 counts of theft between June 2000 and May 2006.
Greatrex, of Shepherds Lane, Sutton, and Stevens, of Maylodge Drive, Rufford Park, were trustees of a care home in Chapel St Leonards, which provided residential and nursing care for miners and their dependents.
Today (Wednesday) Greatrex told Nottingham Crown Court that any profits made out of Phoenix Nursing and Residential Home Ltd would be ploughed back into the union to help miners and it was not for his personal profit.
He also told the court that when the Chapel St Leonards building changed its usage from a convalescence home for injured miners to a residential nursing home for disabled people, he sought advice from his solicitor and accountant, and the Charity Commission had been made aware of the change in status.
“It was changed from a convalescence home to a nursing home, we changed from being trustees to directors and the rules meant that renumerations could be paid and as a director you are entitled to renumerations,” said Greatrex.
“I did not know if this was in writing or not, there was no document, I just relied on the advice that the solicitor gave me.”
Greatrex added that the nursing home was originally a drain on resources and he did not draw a salary in its formative years and, initially, he could not afford to pay his secretary a wage.
He said that the only time he took any renumeration was to buy a kitchen for his home in Kirkby, which cost £11,750 and was fitted by Royal Cuisines.
When asked by prosecutor Martin Hurst if he had paid any tax when buying the kitchen, Greatrex said that his accountant had been aware of the purchase.
“I thought the accountant would have put it through as a renumeration of a director, I have never filled out a tax return in my life,” added Greatrex.
He also said that his accountant, his secretary and Mick Stevens were all aware that he had the kitchen built instead of taking a salary.
Mr Hurst alleged that Greatrex had disguised the invoice in the company accounts, but Greatrex denied telling an employee of Royal Cuisines to write ‘industrial kitchen’ on the invoice.
The trial continues.