There is something fishy going on with Madeleine's Fund, nothing new of course, but I feel Madeleine's Fund doesn't really get the attention it should, because it has of course played a major part in keeping the Madeleine story in the global news.
The Fund, for example, stirred up a (barmy) army of McCann followers, who blindly believed that money would find Madeleine. Gullible folk who could not believe bad of two church going doctors. Appealing to the religious was a master stroke of PR btw. On the gullible front, they were halfway there.
But let's cut to the chase. WTF was the Fund all about? How did finding a missing child turn into a quest for cash? Even Gerry himself, said (very, very early on), that he didn't see the need for money. That however changed rapidly, into 'let's make this the biggest Fund - ever'.
On the Director front, the biggest wobble came when Esther McVie announced the Fund wouldn't be used for legal purposes. Ie. It would not be used to defend the McCanns who had just become Arguidos. 'That's crazy', said Gerry, 'we have this massive fund and aren't allowed to use it'.
Esther McVie went on to quit as a director of course, and from then the Fund was much less transparent. No-one, not even the wonderful Enid O'Dowd would now be able to distinguish between search fund and legal costs.
All that remains of the millions that poured into Madeleine's Fund is £750,000, but it may be £500,000, who knows, confusion is good. That lump sum is currently being moved between accounts, and in some tabloids being claimed as the McCanns' own money.
The McCanns are of course facing a major dilemma. They presently owe hundreds of thousands of pounds, possibly millions, in legal fees in Portugal, and it has been owing since April this year. Will the Fund be held liable? or the McCanns, as the claimants, personally? Or are their assets now so entwined with The Fund that they can't separated? Their appeal to the ECHR doesn't put their debt off. It is still payable now.
To be fair, I haven't glanced at the Madeleine Fund or it's accounts for quite some time, but, as pointed out, by a poster on my previous blog, if the abduction is faked, the Fund is fraudulent.
For genuinely grieving parents, all the money in the world will not cure their grief, or give back to them the precious child they have lost. The last thing on their minds would be fundraising, they trust the police, they don't run their own their own parallel investigation. And they don't need to convince us of their innocence and the police incompetence. The mothers of Sara Payne and April Jones, didn't need to tell us they did nothing wrong, we never thought for one moment they did. And they didn't need to hire spokesmen, lawyers and a media monitoring team. Their reluctant, pain filled TV appearances reached our hearts directly, no PR necessary.
But back to the Fund, arguably, the MAIN reason, this case has dragged on for over a decade. All we 'libtards'* have always known that money can keep people out of prison. One brief glance at prison statistics and the ratio of blue to white collar crimes, confirms that. This case however, has a twist. Gerry and Kate were nouveau riche, bedazzled by the sudden accumulation of millions, their misery was bumping up the cashometer. And it was all going so well, until they were made arguidos.
I would say it was at this point that the donations to the Fund dried up. The Vatican removed 'The Charity' from their website, and the battle between the McCanns and Goncalo Amaral began. In their 'we can do anything because the world loves us' mind set, GA was to blame for the minor blip in their masterplan, but if they destroyed him, it would be happy days again. That was Plan A, but I think we are now approaching Plan Z.
Of course, if the abduction was fake, then it would therefore follow that the Fund to Find Madeleine was fraudulent and all those directors and administrators may find themselves being investigated. So too all those on the payroll. What were they raising funds for? where was it going? Has even one penny of it, been used to help another child? A victim of Grenfell, a displaced refugee orphan? A child in need of a prosthetic limb?
No, of course it hasn't. Because the Fund (not a Charity) has always been for one child, and her extended family. It's written into the Company's objectives, legally above board because the lawyers used were specialists in their field. The Fund can and has been, used for whatever Gerry and Kate wanted. An extended holiday in the Algarve for family, friends, vicars and bridesmaids. Runs on the beach, cocktails and tennis, while police, locals, holiday makers and volunteers, trekked through brambles, hedges and wastelands, searching for their daughter. But let's not leave out Clarence here, who also had a 3 month vacation in Portugal, as a 'government spokesman'. Meanwhile, Warners resort, was dotted with collection boxes, for all those journalists and members of the public who had flooded to PDL, to watch the circus.
We can only guess at how many millions have passed through the Madeleine Fund, the promised transparency ended years ago. In 2007, the Find Madeleine website received over 50million hits, and that may even have been daily. The cashometer on the site was spinning out of control and taken off the site when it went over £1million. The huge waves of public sympathy became manifest in the way of hard cash. To such an extent, the money grasping Clarence suggested people simply put cash in brown envelopes and mail to the Gerry and Kate in Rothley.
Why did the parents of a missing child, need millions of pounds in cash? What could cash do that those physically out searching couldn't? And it should be pointed out, those actually searching were doing it voluntarily, ie. without payment. And when was enough enough? £1million, no clearly not, £4m/£5m? Again no. Having frittered £4m or £5m, the McCanns continued relentlessly with their fund raising events. For what? Did they have a target? No. Because they couldn't even explain themselves what the money was needed for. They had the attention of the world's media, raising awareness didn't ring true.
Yet the Fundraising continued. Those who have followed this case with the same obsession I have, will remember, the excruciating interviews in Autumn of 2010, when they were pleading for donations because the Fund was down to it's last half a million. At this point, I'm sure, Kerry Needham was saying 'Ye Gods', but I don't want to digress. Twenty quid will buy 100 prayer cards, a fiver, 5 minutes to man a 24/7 hotline, blah, excruciating blah. FFS Gerry, the parents of a missing child man their own 24/7 hotline, they don't need paid employees, you effing psychopath. Ok, I've had a drink, glass down, walk away.
Here's what I typed earlier.
Why the need for a Fund. The Portuguese police were undertaking the biggest missing child search in their entire history. The British police were involved, the entire public were behind them. Why the need the to plan massive fundraising events for Madeleine, the following year? A pop concert, something sports, something arts, a Madeleine Day for the whole world? This at a time when Madeleine had been missing for only a few weeks and could have been found at any time.
Why did John McCann and Clarence Mitchell, give up regular well paid jobs, to make searching for Madeleine their full time careers? Realistically, most of us know, that abducted children who aren't found within 24 hours are dead, and their bodies usually turn up. For John and Clarence, that was one hell of a chuck of the dice.
We kind of know that all those millions were not spent on searching for Madeleine. The one and only set of transparent company accounts released by the Madeleine Fund, showed only 13% of income spent directly on the search.
True, the McCanns were scammed by several firms of dodgy private detectives, but bizarre that they didn't select their private eyes as carefully as their lawyers. Bizarre too, that among the criminal activities of their former private detectives, was money laundering. At that, apparently, they were very good. Due to my overuse of the word bizarre, I will have to say it was also very strange that the normally very litigious parents didn't try to get their money back from these scammers via the Civil Courts.
But what did happen to the rest of the money? I guess if you want to 'lose' huge amount of cash, two options would be, move it to an offshore account or employ high price lawyers. Unfortunately, the latter, can prove to be highly addictive, it is the legal equivalent of being armed with a powerful weapon that can destroy all your enemies, all the while you can afford it that is. When the cash runs out, so does the protection and power to destroy others.
As a former legal secretary, I encountered many Vexatious Litigants. Usually when I was working in Libel Law. Once did a temp stint at Mischon de Reya, which was, hmm, particularly enlightening. Did I ever mention too, that I did several long stints at TFLA in Covent Garden. Just thought I'd mention that. I knew a few of the founding partners very well, and I genuinely liked them. They had some pretty sassy feminists running the show, and I was in awe!
VLs never give up. And are a gift to a lawyer aiming to up his profit margins. It is incredible how much people are prepared to pay to prove themselves right. They truly believe that a Court ruling, will note them down in history as a good egg. Happily for lawyers, hurt feelings have no upper limit on a damages scale, and for some people, the ability to be affronted and outraged has no limits. They will literally scour everywhere their name is mentioned in order to claim harassment.
Just like the eejit who died protecting his right of way. VLs are literally not happy, until they had lost absolutely everything, until they finally have nothing to mount another new libel claim. Then they turn into Bennett, and start representing themselves. When they win, it is not enough, next time they will win more. As a lifelong people watcher, I have always found them particularly fascinating, it's like watching a slow motion car crash without the blood, or sympathy. When one particular 'you will respect me' psychopath, left the office with his 5p award, declaring a win, we support staff struggled to hold back the laughter.
Gerry and Kate may be respected medical professionals, maybe even academics, but they are not very bright. Without wishing to be kind, God forbid, they are in fact, incredibly naïve. As much as they have used and exploited others, so too they have been used and exploited. Carried along with the grandiose ideas of spin doctors and lawyers who have walked away with a pretty large chunk of the Fund themselves.
Madeleine's Fund cannot be separated from Madeleine's disappearance. The public's response to Gerry and Kate's first appeals created a phenomenon the world had never seen before. For the first time we were witnessing the incredible power of the internet as the McCanns took the case global within the first few hours, away from PDL some might say. The world responded as they would to a major disaster, and the donations poured in. Within days they had raised more cash for one child, than most major charities raise in a year.
When the debates begin, and they will, some might say, that having this huge Fund, put the McCanns above the Law, and that it has prevented the police and honest investigative journalists from doing their job. And the reason why, 10+ years on, no-one has ever been charged with the disappearance of Madeleine.
* I should dislike this word lol, but strangely, I don't lol.