RICKY Nixon has denied any knowledge of how funds went missing from a bank account set up for Bendigo teenage stroke victim, Dakota Duke.
However he admits being paid $1500 for petrol for six trips to Bendigo and that costs were taken out for other expenses.
Nixon has released a 23-point statement to the Bendigo Advertiser, in an effort to distance himself from a police investigation into why funds raised at a charity golf day and lunch in June were not all passed on to the Duke family.
The day was organised by Ricky Nixon and his then assistant, Tania Drummond.
Mr Nixon claims Ms Drummond was never employed by him, however email correspondence to the Bendigo Advertiser during the fund-raiser came from firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dakota Fund was held in Ms Drummond’s former married name, Tania Hooper, and she was the only signatory to the account.
Ms Drummond has admitted to withdrawing money from the account.
Dakota was injured in August last year while playing for the North Bendigo youth girls’ football team. The teenager suffered a stroke, causing brain damage, after receiving a blow to the neck.
Her story attracted the attention of Mr Nixon, who rallied the support of nine Victorian-based AFL clubs, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, football identity Sam Newman and Herald Sun football writer Mark Robinson.
TAB Sportsbet also placed $10,000 on Black Caviar to win at Royal Ascot in London, to support the fund-raiser.
However, half of the money raised disappeared in the weeks after the June event.
The first withdrawal was made as early as May 29, and the final withdrawal of $100 exhausted the account on September 12. Some funds have been returned but at least 60 per cent of the missing money has not.
The investigation has been handed over to a Melbourne-based criminal investigation unit and a police spokesman said all parties who had been spoken to had so far co-operated.
The Duke family yesterday declined to comment because of the police investigation, but said they had supplied and/or offered all relevant bank details to authorities.