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Gold shop owner working on charity donation solution

The owner of a Bermuda business that was shut down before it could hand over customer donations to charity has pledged to get the funds paid.

Cayman businessman Kody Zander contacted

The Royal Gazette after this newspaper revealed the recent closure of precious metal merchant Bermuda Gold Exchange.

The company teamed up with charity New Beginnings Educational Trust last year, informing customers that cash obtained from sales of unwanted gold could be given to the organisation.

At least two customers handed in unwanted gold jewellery worth $650. But according to BGE manager James Gilbert, his Cayman business partners shut down the Bermuda operation — and blocked his access to company bank accounts — before he could transfer the funds to NBET.

But yesterday Mr Zander, who operates Cayman Gold Exchange, said he was unaware that BEG owed money to the charity before he decided to pull the plug on the loss-making Bermuda business venture.

And he said he was trying to find out what BEG owes so that creditors can be paid off.

Mr Zander said BEG was closed because it was not being properly managed, adding: “We attempted to work with James [Gilbert] multiple times to help him rectify the issues that he was experiencing but realised that although we were being assured that things were operating properly it was found to not be the case.

“I was recently in Bermuda and found the shop to be in complete disarray. It was at this point we decided to close the shop. We requested e-mails of all outstanding amounts owed in an attempt to make sure that everybody was paid what they were owed, and this is the first I have ever even heard of this agreement to make donations.

“I have still not received any e-mails from James regarding outstanding totals, but have already attempted to contact James to find out what has happened here and come up with a solution to this problem.

“As I commented I have never even heard about us donating any money to a charity there. I am trying to find out from James how much is owed, but would be interested in speaking with somebody from the charity as well.”

The Royal Gazette has forwarded on Mr Zander’s contact details to NBET founder Kerry Judd.

And charities across the Island are now being warned to “use wisdom” when partnering businesses and other organisations to hold fundraising events in their name.

Centre on Philanthropy’s Executive Director Elaine Williams described the latest incident as “most unfortunate to all involved”, adding: “We would like to take this opportunity to caution charities to use wisdom when allowing organisations or groups to use their names when fundraising.

“Charities have sought our advice on many occasions after having their names and reputations used to promote an event, to then never hear from the organisation again, albeit this does not seem to be the case in this instance.

“Our advice to charities is to operate as much as possible within best practice guidelines by entering into a written agreement detailing the conditions of the fundraising opportunity.

“It is important to remember that a fundraising opportunity is usually a mutually rewarding experience, in that the charity benefits by receiving funds and increasing its public profile and the organisation or group benefits by utilising the charity’s name and reputation to promote an event.”

Closed: The Bermuda Gold Exchange on Reid Street. Kody Zander, the Cayman-based owner of the shop, has told The Royal Gazette he is working on a solution after learning the shop failed to make donations to the charity New Beginnings Educational Trust as promised.

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Published May 08, 2013 at 10:31 am (Updated May 08, 2013 at 10:30 am)

Gold shop owner working on charity donation solution

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