Former knight and business tycoon Ronald Alfred Brierley has left the Brierley Cricket Foundation with a million-dollar conundrum. What do that with that amount in its coffers after the philanthropist's plunge from grace?
Aside from the abject misery and abuse his depravity aided and abetted, he has left charities with the question of what to do with donations and grants he doled out, perhaps in attempts to assuage his conscience.
Brierley, 83, had poured a small fortune into his former school, Wellington College. There was a generous annual donation, the Brierley Theatre, which opened in 1988, and the Brierley Turf on the sports fields, reflecting his love of cricket.
After decades dominating New Zealand and Australian business, Brierley was arrested at Sydney Kingsford-Smith airport in December 2019, where he was preparing to board a flight to Fiji.
Australian Border Force officers seized his laptop and other electronic devices, finding more than 600,000 images, video and text files in those and other devices located at Brierley's multimillion dollar Sydney mansion. He was charged with possessing child sex abuse material involving children ranging in age from 2 years through to 15 years. Last month, he pleaded guilty to three of the charges.
Wellington College was told by Brierley in an email to "take whatever action you consider appropriate" over his name on signs around the school noting his support. Despite Brierley's urging, Wellington College waited until the guilty plea before stripping Brierley's visible legacy from the school, with the signs removed that afternoon.
Some victims of his corporate asset-stripping deals may already feel his profits were the proceeds of misery.
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But money doesn't care what transactions it has previously been engaged in. Just as we have no way of knowing where and why the $20 bill in our purse has already changed hands.
Yes, his name should be removed from any situation which may lead a casual observer to consider Brierley an admirable person.
Said Brierley to the college in his mea culpa: "ironically, of course, I'm exactly the same person as I have always been". So too, the money. All that has changed should be a greater desire to do some good with it.