The Glenn Family Trust

Simon Collins reports at NZ Herald:

Philanthropist Sir has been forced to freeze grants to projects aimed at ending family violence, apparently because of a dispute in his own family trust over how his fortune should be spent.

Sir Owen vowed last July to give one-tenth of his $800 million fortune to fighting child abuse here.

But the Weekend Herald has learned the money has not arrived. It is understood that the foundation has been told the overseas-based trustees believed it was no longer appropriate to distribute philanthropy in NZ.

Sir Owen, who built up his fortune in a global logistics firm, flew suddenly this week to the United States, where his sons live.

Former Auckland University Business School dean Dr Barry Spicer has resigned as chief executive of the Auckland-based Glenn Family Foundation, and one of its two other staff also left suddenly this week.

In a brief statement, Sir Owen said he had taken over as the foundation’s chief executive and was “in discussions with the trustees” of his family trust, which is separate from the foundation, about the “timing” of the release of funds to the foundation.

This is somewhat intriguing. Normally a family trust squabble would be of no public concern, but in this instance it has impacted some publicly committed projects so naturally has hit the media.

What is intriguing is that the trustees seem to be disagreeing with the person who I assume funded the trust and presumably appoints them. Of course it all depends on how the trust deed is worded.

Regardless a shame that the dispute has disrupted the laudable intentions of Sir Owen.

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