by Angus Macdonald JOHN Nightingale, the former secretary of the Converts' Aid Society who was sacked last year after exposing abuses and mismanagement in the now-defunct organisation. has accepted an undisclosed sum to drop his action for unfair dismissal.
His sacking last year was widely seen as retribution for "blowing the whistle" about extravagance, misuse of funds and illegal payments to trustees at the 97-yearold Catholic charity.
In a terse statement issued this week through its solicitors, the Converts' Aid Society (CAS) still in existence, but now defunct said it recognised "the contribution Mr Nightingale made to the well-being of the society whilst he was its secretary" and admitted that "his integrity and abilities are not in doubt".
The statement went on: "The society has agreed, without any admission of liability on its part, to make a termination payment to Mr Nightingale and also a contribution towards legal costs".
Mr Nightingale was first suspended and then later dismissed for refusing to send out an explanatory letter to members about an earlier inquiry into the society's affairs. He claimed that the letter reporting the findings of an independent inquiry into his own allegations of mismanagement and financial irregularity contained "major distortions and untruths".
Mr Nightingale said this week that he was pleased his name had been cleared. "That was why I brought the proceedings it wasn't for the money," he said.
CAS member Major Henry Haydon said the payment "completely vindicated" Mr Nightingale. "I'm glad that there has been a satisfactory settlement, but it would indicate that many of the practices he highlighted were incorrect to say the least," he said.
The Converts' Aid Society aimed to provide financial assistance to hard-up convert clergymen, and was one of the wealthiest Catholic charities, with a net value approaching £4.5 million, enjoying the patronage of Cardinal Basil Hume.
The society was effectively shut down last year after an independent inquiry prompted by Mr Nightingale's allegations found evidence of "mismanagement". , Most of its assets were transferred to the new St Bamabas Society, which is to continue the work of the CAS.