A charity headed by the mayor of London says the fashion charity founded by model Naomi Campbell owes him tens of thousands of pounds.
The Mayor’s Fund for London, led by current mayor Sadiq Khan, says it owes him £ 50,000 from a pop-up boutique set up by Campbell’s Fashion for Relief two years ago to raise money for the mayor’s causes.
Fashion for Relief is being investigated by the Charity Commission in connection with potential misconduct and financial mismanagement. Regulators review payments the charity has made to one of its trustees, the charity’s expense records, and a host of other regulatory concerns. The directors of Fashion for Relief deny any wrongdoing or misconduct.
The Mayor’s Fund is furious at his Fashion for Relief treatment after a series of events held to raise funds for him, including an art auction at a glamorous red carpet fashion show at the British Museum in September 2019. The Mayor’s Fund ultimately donated £ 100,000 to this event.
Two months later, in November 2019, Fashion for Relief established a pop-up store on behalf of the Mayor’s Fund, selling fashion pieces from McQueen, Gucci and Vivienne Westwood in Westfield Shopping Center in West London. At the time, Campbell said the money raised “would help improve the future of young Londoners”.
The Mayor’s Fund said it had been promised a donation of £ 50,000. Having received none of the money promised after a year, he reported a “serious incident” notification to the Charity Commission. Charities are required to report anything that harms their assets or reputation to the regulator.
The Mayor’s Fund said that although it was initially delighted to work with Fashion for Relief, the relationship grew strained when the money did not arrive: “Sadly, although we were delighted to receive £ 100,000 of this funding we are still expecting £ 50,000, ”said Kirsty McHugh, Managing Director of the Mayor’s Fund.
“We are an independent charity that supports young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds and we all raise our own income. Young Londoners have suffered enormously from the pandemic and we would be very happy to receive the remaining amount to benefit the children and young people of the capital, ”she said.
Although Khan is the current boss of the Mayor’s Fund and is featured extensively on the Fashion for Relief website in connection with the events of 2019, his office does not provide funding to the Mayor’s Fund charity. Each year the fund supports 40,000 Londoners aged 4-24 with skills and vocational training.
Regulatory concerns over Fashion for Relief include the payment of £ 77,000 in advisory fees and £ 15,942 in travel expenses in 2018-19 to one of its trustees, Bianka Hellmich. The previous year the charity spent £ 107,000 on directors’ fees and £ 23,000 on expenses.
Hellmich is a partner at QCL Associates law firm, specializing in advising high net worth private clients like Madonna. The company’s website describes her as a “dedicated philanthropist,” a director of Fashion for Relief and a supporter of the “Mayor’s Trust for London”.
Hellmich has been approached for comment. Fashion for Relief said its partnership with the Mayor’s Fund for London through the Westfield pop-up store was aimed at encouraging direct donations to the fund and raising awareness of the fund’s work, including campaigning for education and employability programs. For the young. He also sought to raise money for the fund through the sale of fashion items at the Westfield store.
He said he had hoped to ‘donate’ £ 50,000 to the Mayor’s Fund and still hoped to ‘honor the aspiration’ to do so. He adds: “We also organized school visits, encouraged volunteers to register and got the involvement of many fashion partners. We remain committed to helping the lives of young Londoners and supporting the important work of the Fund.
The commission said its investigation, which could take several months, would examine whether those controlling the charity “properly exercised their legal obligations and responsibilities under the Charities Act.”
Fashion for Relief is not staffed full time and appears to be controlled by its two directors, Hellmich and Campbell. A third administrator, Veronica Sylvia Wing Wai Au Chou, appears to have resigned and is no longer listed on the committee’s website.
The commission has the power to shut down a charity in the event of wrongdoing and can prohibit people from holding trustee positions.