Trustees of a Brentford charity have been accused of 'misconduct and mismanagement' by a member of Hounslow Council who has called for an official probe into the charity's activities.
A council investigation into the Brentford Community Boat Trust prompted by concerns raised by residents found it 'clearly failed' to achieve its aims after receiving more than £50,000 in donations, including £40,000 from the BAA Communities Trust, to build a barge for local youngsters.
A committee of local councillors has now lodged a formal complaint with the Charity Commission urging the watchdog to investigate and 'ascertain what has happened to the money that has already been spent and secure the remaining assets for the benefit of the community in the hope that the project may eventually be delivered'.
The trust was formed in 1996 to build a community barge to educate young people about the importance of Brentford's waterways and boats.
However, the council report found the project was soon beset by problems and disagreements, with trustee and marine engineer James Mason declared bankrupt soon after the project began and the boatyard where he was building the barge repossessed.
Mr Mason, 67, of Layton Road, found a new site and started work on the boat, despite the opposition of some trustees, but the hull has been lying derelict on an unauthorised mooring in the Thames at Watermans Park since 1998.
The last set of accounts submitted to Companies House in June 2005 shows assets of £51,238, including around £10,000 in cash assets.
Syon councillor Cllr Jon Hardy said last week a copy of the report has been sent to the remaining trustees but they have so far refused to meet with councillors to discuss the matter and Mr Mason insists the report is 'riddled with inaccuracies' and the committee's investigation is 'politically motivated'. He was unavailable for comment this week.