The Illawarra army veteran who lifted the lid on the NSW RSL’s financial scandals says a state government investigation into the organisation would provide a “clearing of the decks” for a “brighter, more transparent future”.
Glenn Kolomeitz was recently sacked as the NSW RSL’s chief executive – a week after he alerted police that his signature had been fraudulently used on state council ballot papers.
The government announced on Monday that former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, SC, would head an inquiry into the RSL’s financial scandals.
The inquiry will take place under the state's Charitable Fundraising Act, which includes a number of offences relating to unlawful fundraising that carry jail terms of up to six months.
Mr Kolomeitz, who lives in Gerroa, set up a forensic audit into the RSL in September. The audit sparked other probes that have ensnared the national president Rod White and former NSW president Don Rowe.
The state league has been rocked by revelations about Mr Rowe's questionable credit card use and payments of tens of thousands of dollars a year in "consulting fees" to RSL council members by the league's aged care arm, RSL LifeCare.
Mr Kolomeitz told of a culture of entitlement that had spun out of control during an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Monday night.
“I would have to say many people on that state council would not know the difference between a balance sheet and a form guide, and for a half-a-billion-dollar organisation, that's disgraceful,” he said.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean, who is responsible for charities laws, said it was time "once and for all" to get to the bottom of the allegations.
"These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable," Mr Kean said.
Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott said he was "completely fed up".
"Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene," Mr Elliott said.
"It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation."