December 31, 2007

BAG nearly deflated by alleged embezzlement of funds

Without the German and world piping and drumming communities coming to its rescue, the New Year might not have happened at all for the Bagpipe Association of Germany (BAG), which was hit with a sudden debt of as much as €30,000 that threatened to shut down the organization completely.

The loss is due to the alleged embezzlement by the association’s former Treasurer, who has reportedly admitted to taking the money over a period of time.

According to documents acquired by pipes|drums, an executive member of BAG said that the association was in danger of being shut down completely, and that legal and civil measures are being pursued. The source said that it is too early to know how much, if any, of the funds can ever be restored.

“The members of the BAG were informed of the treasurer admitting to having embezzled all financial assets of the BAG as well as leaving a significant debt to the BAG, leaving the organization in danger of being shut down insolvent,” the organization said in a formal release.

BAG held an emergency meeting on December 8, 2007, to determine its future prospects. The organization asked existing and future members for funds through extended or lifetime memberships, donations and interest-free loans.

The organization has apparently raised €23,000 through those efforts. The first order of business will be the repayment of a debt to the proprietors of Breuberg Castles, where its annual summer school is held. The German Youth Hostels Association, which owns the castle, has agreed to extend credit until the end of the year.

“The whole affair is of course a catastrophe and we will not comment on the sad personal circumstances leading to the current state of affairs,” the release went on to state. “Nevertheless it has served to show the tremendous support the BAG enjoys and the unity of its members. Expectations are that the BAG will emerge from this strengthened and with an even stronger purpose towards supporting piping and drumming in Germany.”

Any pipes|drums readers wishing to join or help the Bagpipe Association of Germany are invited to contact them by e-mail, or visit its website.

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  1. A sad state of affairs and here’s hoping they come through it okay. It just makes me even more convinced though that pipe bands and in particular, pipe band associations, regardless of whether they’re voluntary, must run in the same manner as a ‘business’ would. This isn’t the first instance of this I’ve heard of in the pipe band world (far from it in fact) and unless organisations start applying appropriate governance, particularly of financial affairs, then I doubt if it will be the last.



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