Jamie Oliver in Pisasale court mix
FALLEN Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale's purported meeting with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in Melbourne has formed part of allegations levelled against the politician.
Pisasale, citing sickness, resigned in a hospital gown last year after 13 years as a wildly popular mayor. He is also accused of misusing money from a Japanese developer who donated to a mayoral community fund.
The former mayor is battling multiple charges including corruption and fraud brought by the Crime and Corruption Commission. A court is to hear matters on Monday morning.
Sources with knowledge of the investigation say one charge relates to a fateful Melbourne trip in May last year.
During the trip, Pisasale posted on his online Instagram account a picture of Mr Oliver receiving a thankyou plaque for the chef's work in Ipswich, and the politician then wrote an article detailing how it was "amazing to hear" Mr Oliver giving recognition to Ipswich.
But, as The Courier-Mail revealed last year, he never actually met Mr Oliver. A Ministry of Food spokeswoman said an Ipswich representative attended the Melbourne event but it was not Mr Pisasale, who had earlier declined an invitation.
Right to Information searches from The Courier-Mail about the trip, including council payments, were subsequently blocked on grounds it was part of a CCC investigation.
That Melbourne trip was also where Pisasale was stopped at the airport carrying $50,000. Barrister Sam Di Carlo said he had asked Pisasale, his friend, to carry the money for settlement from a Chinese client who was in Melbourne.
Another charge relates to funding from Sekisui House, a major Japanese developer behind a 4000-home venture in Ipswich's Ripley Valley.
It is alleged Pisasale used Sekisui funds which had been donated to a mayoral fund for community purposes.
He is alleged to have used the funds to buy personal items.
As earlier reported, the latest corruption charge against Pisasale and Di Carlo relates to a project proposed by a Melbourne developer whom Pisasale met during the Melbourne trip in May 2017.
Pisasale has indicated he will fight charges against him.