Mums unleash fury on charity chief after 'Miss Muddy' folds
He’s a lifesaving hero to many but to almost 20,000 furious mums he's in debt almost a million dollars.
The reputation of Zaidee Rainbow Foundation chief executive officer Allan Turner has been torn to shreds by thousands of mums desperate for revenge.
Mums on one Facebook group have even posted photos of a man leaving the prestigious Qantas Lounge, claiming it is Mr Turner when it isn’t.
Mr Turner has spent more than a decade advocating for organ donations through the charity he founded in the name of his daughter, an organ donor who died in 2004 aged seven.
The charity is regularly endorsed by Australia’s most-loved sporting stars, including the Australian cricket team and National Basketball League players.
But this year his life has taken another dramatic turn for the worse when he purchased the hugely popular obstacle course business Miss Muddy.
Mr Turner and the Zaidee Rainbow Foundation’s board elected to place Miss Muddy into liquidation after struggling for months to raise the funds to hold the event, leaving almost 20,000 women about $1 million out of pocket.
“We have the most cleanest charity of all charities out there,” Mr Turner said.
“I’m a broken man after this, my wife is just in pieces 'cause it’s associating the good name of the charity we’ve set up, to an organisation that had success and we were hoping that success would continue, but it just didn’t.
“We never woke up the day we bought Miss Muddy saying, ‘OK, 90 days; we’re going to get people’s money, liquidate, hide'.”
Mr Turner said Miss Muddy was doomed to fail when it was handed over to his charity and, despite paying tens of thousands to lawyers in their due diligence, it hadn’t checked the business’s books comprehensively.
“This deal just wasn’t good at all, we made bad decisions, we knew what we were getting into but never thought it would end up being this bad,” he said.
But Miss Muddy’s former director, Adam McDonald, insisted he spend five gruelling years building a successful business that came crashing down in the 90 days after he handed it over to the charity in July.
“He was actually taking over a golden opportunity and the chance to get it for really no money down because we gave him everything he needed to sell the tickets to run the events that he just cancelled,” Mr McDonald said.
But amid all the mud-slinging, A Current Affair has spoken to mums who just want to know where the missing million dollars has gone.
“I want to know who benefited this, from this money, I want to know where the money went and at the end of the day, I want my money back,” one mum, Jennifer Clarke, said.
“It’s not just $75, that’s an entire week's shopping in my house or an entire week's fuel, that’s a lot of money, for some people.”
There had been 14,500 tickets sold when Mr Turner took over – worth almost $1 million.
Mr Turner's deal with the prior business stipulated that they kept that money in return for giving Mr Turner the rights and physical assets.
Mr Turner claimed that since he took over, only 2600 tickets had sold, most at the higher late release price - worth about $200,000.
He said it had been spent running the event, employing people, buying the products needed to service the event, hiring venues and in "so many other areas".
"So we felt if we kept going we wouldn't have enough money to put on the events, we had no option," he said.