Salvation Army is under much scrutiny after it was revealed that tickets to a Paul McCartney concert in Australia, donated with the intent to gift to homeless people, were used by an organization leader’s daughter, The Guardian reports.
Seven tickets to McCartney’s December 5 show in Melbourne were donated by Chris McDonald, a long-time Beatles fan who had, at one point in his life, been homeless himself. He purchased and donated tickets to the sold out show in hopes of bringing an otherwise impossible experience to people who had fallen on hard times.
The Age reports that it was McDonald who discovered the misuse of the donation. While attending the show, he spotted a “well-dressed couple at the AAMI Park concert in two of the seats he’d donated, and then, by searching the Salvation Army’s Facebook page, discovered who they were” – Salvation Army chief Brendan Nottle’s daughter and her partner.
Nottle was interviewed on Aussie radio station 3AW and explained that all seven tickets had been given to local homeless people, but that two were returned within hours of the show.
“At the last minute, two tickets were returned and [a manager] made the decision to give them to my daughter [Ash Nottle]. It had absolutely had nothing to do with me,” he told 3AW on Thursday. “The manager did the ring-around of other homeless people and volunteer staff and wasn’t able to move them because it was so late.”
Nottle said that his daughter accepted the tickets with the understanding that she would be there to “look out for” the five homeless concert-goers.
“The tragic thing is the daughter that’s involved is one of the most giving people I know. In this work you don’t do this stuff for the kickbacks.”
The Salvation Army has refunded the McDonald for the tickets, Nottle says, adding that it was never really an appropriate donation in the first place.
“When you’re working with homeless people, to be blunt, do homeless people need tickets to Paul McCartney or do they need a roof over their head?,” he said, then admitting, “We are not Ticketmaster, we are not concert promoters, we don’t do that stuff and we get it wrong sometimes, you know.”
McDonald told Fairfax Media he still supports the charity. “They do an awful lot of good for people and for the homeless,” he said. “I have been a recipient of their relief so I know how important the work they do is, but the golden rule is never to dip your hand into the donations – it calls the integrity of the entire organisation into dispute.”
Nottle agrees, saying that the situation could have been handled better and the organisation would “absolutely learn from this”