Public inquiry: RSL has changed ‘for the better’, Glenn Kolomeitz says

Former NSW RSL secretary and chief executive Glenn Kolomeitz. Picture: Adam McLean
Former NSW RSL secretary and chief executive Glenn Kolomeitz. Picture: Adam McLean

The former NSW RSL boss responsible for lifting the lid on the league’s financial scandals says a public inquiry into the organisation will change it for the better. 

Gerroa’s Glenn Kolomeitz, who led the league for about 20 months before being sacked in April last year, said he was pleased with the depth of the probe led by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin SC.

Mr Kolomeitz, a lawyer and former soldier who served in East Timor and Afghanistan, ordered a forensic audit into the charity’s spending in September, 2016.

The audit spread, sparking other probes that ensnared the RSL national president Rod White – who stood aside – and former NSW president Don Rowe. 

“I was very constrained ... by a hostile board. I could only scratch the surface, but the inquiry managed to get into a lot of detail,” Mr Kolomeitz said.

“It will allow the organisation to start afresh and, of course, it already is starting afresh. The new board ... is being very proactive in changing the league for the better.”

Mr Kolomeitz said the combination of the new board and the inquiry report would be “a good thing” for the league’s future 

Justice Bergin this week recommended Mr Rowe, who admitted to using the charity’s money for his own purposes during last year’s inquiry, be investigated by police. 

In her final report, released on Monday, she recommended the state government “refer this report and all evidence relating to Mr Rowe’s expenses, his resignation and its aftermath gathered in the inquiry to NSW Police”.

Mr Kolomeitz, who is the president of the Gerringong RSL sub-branch, said the referral was a matter for the government.

“We’ll see what comes of that, but I’m more focused on the organisation, particularly how it affects sub-branches like my sub-branch,” he said. 

The state’s Better Regulation Minister, Matt Kean, later confirmed Mr Rowe’s “disgraceful behaviour” had been referred to the police.

The report also recommends 13 others be referred to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) for their role in covering up Mr Rowe’s misconduct.

It also recommended eight former directors of RSL’s aged-care branch LifeCare, including Mr Rowe, and the current chief executive, be referred to ASIC and the ACNC.

 – with AAP