Baby Leo father accused of misspending donations

Baby Leo father accused of misspending donations

A New Zealand father who raised more than half a million dollars for his Down syndrome son is being accused of misspending the money.

Sam Forrest made international headlines when his Armenian wife abandoned him and their baby, Leo.

The public pitched in to help, and now questions are being raised over where the money is being spent.

More than $600,000 was raised worldwide for baby Leo.

His Kiwi father, Mr Forrest, set up a trust fund under his son's name, but there are claims not all of the money was put into it.

"I wanted to know where all the money was, and Sam explained that there were a lot of fees through the fundraising pages, but he really didn't give a good enough explanation to cover the amount of money that was missing," says second trustee, Trina McLachlan.

Ms McLachlan says around $380,000 was originally put into the trust and the balance has since dropped by a $100,000.

"There should definitely not be such a large reduction in the fund at this stage," says Ms McLachlan.

Mr Forrest has since reconciled with his Armenian wife, Ruzan, and the couple live with Leo in Auckland.

Ms McLachlan says Mr Forrest's wife has expressed concern to her about how her husband is spending the money.

"He's bought a new car, all new furnishings for a house and some travel – things like that," says Ms McLachlan.

Last month, Mr Forrest reassured those who donated that the funds would only be used for Leo.

"I no longer have any individual access to the money. As I'm not the only trustee, anything I do means I have to involve others," says Mr Forrest.

But Ms McLachlan claims that's not true.

"Sam is the only person that has 100 percent access to the money and he's the only person that is withdrawing that money."

3 News tried to get in touch with Mr Forrest today. We wanted to give him a chance to explain where the money has gone and what it's being spent on, but numerous phone calls and a visit to his house went unanswered.

3 News