BIG READ: Council dismissal, how we got here

THE past year has been dramatic for Ipswich City Council and its ratepayers.

From corruption and criminal allegations to a Supreme Court challenge and now the looming dismissal of all elected officials, the coming months could be equally as eventful as the accused face their day in court.

If all goes according to Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe's plan, by the end of August the axe will have fallen on the remaining 10 Ipswich councillors.

As the drawn out situation that seemingly began with the city's beloved mayor Paul Pisasale sensationally announcing his resignation comes to a close, the QT takes a look back at how we got here.

OPERATION BELCARRA

The 2016 elections sparked a flurry of complaints about the conduct of some candidates across several southeast councils.

Ipswich City Council was among them with four councillors called to give evidence at public hearings conducted between April and June 2017. The hearings lasted nine days.

The councillors who gave evidence were former mayor Paul Pisasale, Division 3 councillor Kerry Silver, Division 2 councillor Paul Tully and Division 4 councillor Kylie Stoneman.

Federal MP for Blair - which covers most of Ipswich - Shayne Neumann and prominent Ipswich businessman Bob Sharpless were also called to give evidence.

Operation Belcarra's aim was to determine whether candidates committed offences under the Local Government Electoral Act that could constitute corrupt conduct and to examine practices that gave rise to actual or perceived corruption, or that undermined public confidence in the integrity of local government.

The CCC found widespread non-compliance with legislative obligations relating to local government elections and political donations.

A report was produced at the end of the hearings with 31 recommendations put forward to strengthen equity, transparency, integrity and accountability in local governments throughout Queensland.

The investigation of some allegations that arose during Operation Belcarra is still being finalised.

 

>>Tully's actions 'clearly inconsistent' with rules: CCC

After the Belcarra hearings, the CCC said it has enough evidence to refer Cr Tully to another agency for investigation, but wouldn't pursue a case against the veteran Ipswich councillor.

>>I have been cleared by the CCC: Neumann

LABOR stalwart and Ipswich Federal MP Shayne Neumann was among six Ipswich personalities called to give evidence at the Operation Belcarra hearings where he was questioned on donations made to some candidates.

 

Crime and Corruption Commission chair Alan MacSporran speaks about Operation Belcarra.
Crime and Corruption Commission chair Alan MacSporran speaks about Operation Belcarra. DARREN ENGLAND

THE $50,000 IN CASH

Mid-May 2017

Paul Pisasale was stopped by Federal Police at Melbourne airport carrying $50,000 in cash.   

A variety of explanations were offered to explain why Mr Pisasale was carrying it.

 

>>$50,000 seized from Pisasale allegedly made Brisbane stop

>>Pisasale investigation: What $50k actually looks like

 

THE DAY OF THE RED PYJAMAS

June 6, 2017

Mr Pisasale confronted a large media pack wearing his red PJ pants and socks, from a small room inside the city's private hospital.

Declining health, related to his multiple sclerosis, was cited as the reason for his shock resignation but less than two weeks later Mr Pisasale was charged by the corruption watchdog.

It was then revealed the Crime and Corruption Commission had raided Mr Pisasale's house on June 5 - the day before his resignation was announced.

 

>>LEAKED EMAILS: Pisasale's message to council staff

>>Pisasale family breaks silence on former mayor's health

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale talks to media at St Andrew's Private Hospital to announce his resignation as Mayor.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale talks to media at St Andrew's Private Hospital to announce his resignation as Mayor. David Nielsen

A SHOCK TO THE CITY

June 20, 2017

Less than two weeks after his resignation, the first round of charges was laid against Pisasle, including extortion. Mr Pisasale denies the allegations.

 

>>Paul Pisasale locked up on extortion charges

 

PISASALE'S LAWYER CHARGED

July 20, 2017

LAWYER Cameron McKenzie, 35, was charged with extortion after an incident involving Mr Pisasale.

 

MORE CHARGES AGAINST PISASALE

August 3, 2017

TWO charges of attempting to pervert justice were laid against Mr Pisasale on August 3.

In total, he is facing 11 charges including; extortion, attempting to pervert justice, abuse of authority of office, fraud, official corruption, perjury, possession of restricted drugs and two other charges.

 

>>Paul Pisasale facing new charges from corruption watchdog

 

MAYORAL BY-ELECTION - ANTONIOLLI ELECTED

ANDREW Antoniolli was elected mayor in the August by-election, called to replace Mr Pisasale

Cr Antoniolli emerged a clear winner and key rival Cr Paul Tully admitted defeat before the results were offical.

 

IT'S OFFICIAL: Cr Andrew Andrew Antoniolli accepts the official notice of election results from Electoral Commission Queensland's Returning Officer Peter Gordon on August 24, 2017.
IT'S OFFICIAL: Cr Andrew Andrew Antoniolli accepts the official notice of election results from Electoral Commission Queensland's Returning Officer Peter Gordon on August 24, 2017. Helen Spelitis

SENIOR COUNCIL OFFICER CHARGED

September 13, 2017

COUNCIL's Works Parks and Recreation Chief Operating Officer Craig Maudsley was charged with misconduct in public office. He denies the allegations.

 

>>Corruption watchdog confirms charge against council COO

>>CCC probes 'dishonest dealing' in Ipswich council contracts

 

THE NEXT DAY - MOST SENIOR OFFICER CHARGED

September 14, 2017

THEN council CEO Jim Lindsay was charged with official corruption in relation to a development application. Further charges were later laid against him and he is facing one count each of official corruption, disobedience to state law, disclosure of a confidential document. He denies the allegations.

 

>>CCC probes 'dishonest dealing' in Ipswich council contracts

>>Ipswich City Council CEO formally suspended

>>Suspended Ipswich CEO hit with further CCC charge

>>Council's message to workers in wake of shock CCC charge

Jim Lindsay.
Jim Lindsay. David Nielsen

FORMER CEO AND WIFE CHARGED

October 5, 2017

The Ipswich City Council's former chief executive officer Carl Wulff and his wife Sharon Oxenbridge were charged on October 5. Mr Wulff was charged with official corruption and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Ms Oxenbridge was accused of corruption.

 

>>Former Ipswich council CEO's wife charged

 

MORE CHARGES AGAINST PISASALE

October 10, 2017

THE bulk of the charges Paul Pisasale is facing were laid on October 10.

On this day, the Crime and Corruption Commission charged Mr Pisasale with six offences.

In total, he is facing 11 charges including; extortion, attempting to pervert justice, abuse of authority of office, fraud, official corruption, perjury, possession of restricted drugs and two other charges.

He denies the allegations.

 

>>Paul Pisasale charged with six new criminal offences

>>Top Ipswich council staff meet with CCC officials

 

Former mayor Paul Pisasale.
Former mayor Paul Pisasale.

FORMER LOBBYIST CHARGED

November 8, 2017

ONE of Queensland's corporate veterans and a former lobbyist, Wayne Myers, is charged with corruption.

 

>>Wayne Myers charged with corruption as Ipswich probe widens

 

ANOTHER BOMBSHELL AFTER QUIET PERIOD

March 27, 2018

Council employee Mary Missen was charged with 28 counts of fraudulently falsifying records between July 2012 and March 2017. After Ms Missen was charged, a flurry of allegations followed including charges against the newley elected mayor.

 

>>Council employee charged by corruption watchdog

 

THE FLURRY OF CHARGES BEGINS

April 13, 2018

Former Works, Parks and Recreation Chief Operating Officer Craig Maudsley was hit with another charge of misconduct in public office. He denies the allegations.

 

Former Works, Parks and Recreation Chief Operating Officer Craig Maudsley
Former Works, Parks and Recreation Chief Operating Officer Craig Maudsley Ipswich Commercial

FORMER CEO AND WIFE CHARGED AGAIN

April 18, 2018

The Ipswich City Council's former chief executive officer Carl Wulff and his wife Sharon Oxenbridge were each hit with another charge of official corruption. Ms Oxenbridge is facing two counts of official corruption. Mr Wulff is facing two counts of official corruption and attempting to pervert justice. The CCC is alleging the couple received 20 separate corrupt payments related to contracts for the council.

>>Ipswich's Carl Wulff charges: Wayne Myers on no contact list

 

NEW MAYOR CHARGED

May 2, 2018

THE man elected to lead the city through crisis Andrew Antoniolli was charged by the corruption watchdog. He is facing seven counts of fraud. He denies the allegations and will take the matter to trial in September. On the same day, the second charge of misconduct was laid against Mr Maudsley.

>>Mayor's arrest takes council tally to 12

>>Trial date set for suspended mayor

 

Andrew Antoniolli leaves the Ipswich police watch house in May.
Andrew Antoniolli leaves the Ipswich police watch house in May. Rob Williams

 

FIRST SHOW CAUSE NOTICE ISSUED

May 3, 2018

LOCAL Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe moved to dismiss the council the day after Cr Antoniolli was charged.

FULL STORY

>>IPSWICH CRISIS: Minister moves to sack council

 

SENIOR COUNCIL ADVISOR CHARGED

May 8, 2018

A former executive to mayor Paul Pisasale was charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission in the days after the show-cause notice was issued. Senior council adviser Ben Hayward was charged at the Ipswich watch-house with one count of Misconduct in Public Office.

>>Council staffer charged by corruption watchdog

 

LEGENDS OF LEAGUE ORGANISER CHARGED

May 15, 2018

AN ORGANISER of the popular International Legends of League concept was charged with forging invoices to the Ipswich City Council. The CCC charged Troy Byers with three counts of forgery, alleging the 47-year old knowingly submitted fraudulent invoices for payment by the council, "in relation to a profitable community event".

>>REVEALED: CCC charge event director with forgery

 

COUNCIL CONTRACTOR CHARGED

May 16, 2018

THE Crime and Corruption Commission's investigation went interstate to charge Victorian man Claude Walker with official corruption. Charges against Mr Walker relate to those laid against former council CEO Carl Wulff and his wife Sharon Oxenbridge in April.

>>Council contractor charged by CCC linked to ex-CEO

Claude Walker.
Claude Walker. Contributed

ADMINISTRATION LOOMS

May 23, 2018

THIS week's announcement by Stirling Hinchliffe he would appoint an administrator and advisory panel was first reported by the QT in May. Sources inside the Labor Party exclusively revealed the minister's plan.

>>Secret plan to appoint advisory panel to Ipswich council

>>Labor Party stalwart Jim Soorley 'unaware' of Ipswich council plans

 

SHOW CAUSE NOTICE REVEALED

May 24, 2018

THE QT views a copy of the minister's show-cause notice which argues councillors are "unable to restore confidence" in the city.

>>Leaked notice reveals council 'unable to restore confidence'

 

COUNCILLORS RESPOND TO SHOW CAUSE NOTICE

May 24, 2018

COUNCILLORS respond to the Local Government Minister's first show-cause notice and argue charges laid by the state's corruption watchdog against individuals associated with Ipswich City Council do not relate to local government, the council or councillors.

>>Decision on fate of Ipswich council could take a month

 

CYCLING JERSEY ADDED TO REGISTER

May 25, 2018

A CYCLING jersey given to Andrew Antoniolli by a man involved in his fraud case has been added to the mayor's register of interests. According to his updated register, Cr Antoniolli received a 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund jersey from Troy Dobinson.

>>Antoniolli's register updated with cycling jersey

 

NEW CEO TAKES OVER

May 29, 2018

NEW council chief executive officer Sean Madigan is handed the executive key. He takes over from acting CEO Gary Kellar - who was in place since the standing down of Jim Lindsay in October 2017.

>>'Executive key' handed to council's newest CEO

Ipswich City Council's new CEO Sean Madigan.
Ipswich City Council's new CEO Sean Madigan. Helen Spelitis

RUBBISH ACCUSATIONS FLY

May 30, 2018

PAUL Tully accuses Ipswich City Council of covering up the amount of waste it has sent to landfill. He describes it as a clear "cover-up and concealment" and demands the chief executive officer review the position of the council's waste services manager.

>>Council waste manager targeted amid 'cover up' claims

 

CCC ADVISED COUNCIL ON CEO
 

May 31, 2018

IT IS revealed the Crime and Corruption Commission advised the Ipswich City Council on how the appointment of an existing staff member to its CEO role could be perceived. Here's what the CCC said.

>>REVEALED: What the CCC said about council CEO recruitment

 

INVESTIGATION NOT OVER YET

June 1, 2018

QUEENSLAND's Crime and Corruption Commission reveals it is not finished investigating in the heritage city and the QT exclusively reveals it has been discussing the probe with Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

>>We're not done yet: CCC reveals more charges are to come

Victor Attwood returned 21 items of memorabilia.
Victor Attwood returned 21 items of memorabilia. David Nielsen

FORMER COUNCILLOR RETURNS ITEMS

June 6, 2018

THE QT reveals about 21 memorabilia items returned by Ipswich's former deputy mayor Victor Attwood are being investigated by the Crime and Corruption Commission. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr Attwood, who returned the items to the council about two years after he left office.

>>CCC eyes memorabilia returned by city's ex-deputy mayor

 

COUNCIL CONDUCT RAISED IN 2012

June 7, 2018

A COMPLAINT about Ipswich City Council was sent by the state's corruption watchdog back to the council and its mayor, who now faces criminal charges, for investigation. Rob and Jackie Sellars' concerns about the conduct of the council and its then CEO Carl Wulff were raised with the then Crime and Misconduct Commission in 2012.

>>EXCLUSIVE: Council 'investigated itself' in CCC complaint

 

MINISTER ASKS COUNCILLORS AGAIN

June 20, 2018

'FURTHER issues' surrounding the besieged Ipswich City Council are the reason Stirling Hinchliffe has issued a second show-cause notice. Mr Hinchliffe revealed he needed to "deliberately and properly follow the law" by issuing a second notice to councillors. 

>>'Gravely concerned': Minister gives councillors nine days 

Councillors announce they will take the state to the Supreme Court.
Councillors announce they will take the state to the Supreme Court. Cordell Richardson

BATTLE TAKEN TO COURT 

June 27, 2018

THE Ipswich City Council will take the State Government to the Supreme Court to overturn the show-cause notice. The council sought orders "that the Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe does not have the jurisdiction to dismiss or suspend council".

>>Council takes Minister's notice to Supreme Court

 

NEW POWER TO REMOVE COUNCILLORS

July 9, 2018

STIRLING Hinchliffe moves to end the chaos and reveals he will introduce new powers to speed-up the sacking of the Ipswich City Council and appoint an administrator. He will move to introduce new legislation during the parliament's August 21 sitting week to dismiss the council and appoint an administrator until 2020.

>>Minister orders sacking of Ipswich City Council

Stirling Hinchliffe MP at 1 William Street, Brisbane.
Stirling Hinchliffe MP at 1 William Street, Brisbane. Cordell Richardson

WHY I HAD TO REMOVE THEM

July 13, 2018

SACKING councillors will be the only way to end the 'deep, dark, deal-making culture' in the Ipswich City Council, Stirling Hinchliffe believes. The minister who will remove the region's representatives defended the decision and believes that a decade of poor administration has put council staff at risk of criminal charges.

Mr Hinchliffe sat down in Brisbane with the QT.

>>EXCLUSIVE: 'Deep, dark problems' guaranteed council sacking 


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