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The Jaguar, the children’s care charity and the mysterious contracts

07.13.2019, 苏州夜生活, by .

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As work cars go, a Jaguar is not bad.

Samantha Madigan would know: she drove a black one to work at Guardian Youth Care, the children’s care charity where she acted as payroll manager and board director.

Except the car is not registered with the charity. The luxury sedan belongs to a company that Guardian Youth Care awarded $18 million in mysterious contracts.

The NSW government alleges those contracts were unauthorised and a misappropriation of public funds. But the charity claims the payments were a legitimate part of its “integrated business model”.

As liquidators comb the accounts of Guardian Youth Care, which folded in June, Fairfax Media can reveal new details of its arrangements with former criminals.

They relate to a Pyrmont apartment purchase, the long-term use of a separate property owned by a convicted drug supplier, and a $500,000 loan to a gambler.

Run by former Wallaby Glen Ella, Guardian Youth Care received a government contract worth more than $6.4 million a year to look after traumatised teenagers in western Sydney houses.

It outsourced much of the money to companies run by Roy Bijkerk, who was jailed in the early 2000s for conspiracy to import cocaine.

Administrators going through Guardian Youth Care’s books found Mr Bijkerk was effectively a “shadow director”, given his influence over the charity he helped found.

In May 2013, Mr Bijkerk joined a Guardian Youth Care board member, accountant Paul Clarke, in a new company Sunergos Support Services.

Mr Bijkerk joined the same day as his business partner Ned Bikic, a former standover man convicted of murder.

By July, Sunergos Support Services was earning $30,000 a month from Guardian Youth Care to provide plant, property and equipment services and to help with accreditation costs.

Nine months later, Sunergos bought a Pyrmont apartment for $600,000, with a $480,000 mortgage.

Ms Madigan, Guardian Youth Care’s “executive administrator”, was appointed as a Sunergos director in January 2017.

Her Jaguar, however, belongs to Alpha Support Services, a contractor controlled by Mr Bijkerk, which has also received millions of dollars from the charity.

Records show Alpha received an unrepaid $686,000 loan from the charity, which Alpha denied while refusing to open its books.

Another car registered to Alpha is a black 2016 Mercedes Benz e400 series.

Mr Bikic, the former standover man, served as a director of Alpha between 2015 and 2016 and according to a former associate he was recently seen driving a black Mercedes.

The Bikic-Bijkerk pair are in businesses with Vatche Hagopian, who was jailed in the early 2000s for his second drug supply offence.

On release, Mr Hagopian bought a Seven Hills property that would house up to five Guardian Youth Care children at a time. It is not known how much rent was paid to Mr Hagopian, who ran a company called Guardian AAA Youth Services.

The Seven Hills house was regarded by several youth workers as the worst of the western Sydney properties run by the charity: dilapidated, overcrowded and understaffed.

“Disgusting” was how two former residents described it.

Until February, Mr Hagopian was a director of Guardian Care Properties, a company that lent $500,000 to big-time punter Eddie Hayson in 2013.

Other directors included Mr Bijkerk and two accountants on the charity’s board.

Last year, Mr Bijkerk told Fairfax Media he refinanced a block of flats in Greenacre in Sydney’s west, owned by Guardian Care Properties, to pay for the loan. He was adamant that company had nothing to do with Guardian Youth Care.

Lawyer Stephen Tully said last year: “We are instructed that our client, but for the fact that it may have some common directors, has no association with the entity Guardian Youth Care, which is a not for profit organisation.”

But two former youth workers say the Greenacre property housed children around the time of the Hayson loan.

Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward did not answer questions about the adequacy of her department’s checks.

The Department said the “normal contract management process” uncovered problems with Guardian Youth Care.

Opposition spokeswoman Tania Mihailuk introduced a bill to parliament this week calling for the Auditor-General to be given more powers to inspect government contractors’ spending.

“These reports are very disturbing,” she said. “There needs to be a full forensic audit of the accounts.”

Guardian Youth Care has accused the department of withholding funding for years and allocating dangerous combinations of children to houses.

Mr Bijkerk’s son Dylan, a director of Alpha Support Services, appeared on the Sky News show of former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson in June, to represent Guardian Youth Care and defend its subcontracting.

“It’s this business model in general that has allowed us to survive the onslaught of what FACS has been continually throwing at us for years,” he said.

Roy Bijkerk, Mr Bikic, Ms Madigan, Mr Clarke and Mr Ella have consistently failed to respond to questions.

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