Robert Comiskey leaves a hearing at the Crime and Corruption Commission in Brisbane. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Robert Comiskey leaves a hearing at the Crime and Corruption Commission in Brisbane. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

Corruption probe hears of pub owner's council donations

A DEVELOPER used a largely defunct company to donate towards a local election campaign war chest that backed several Moreton Bay councillors.

Robert Comiskey, who owns the Sandstone Point Hotel, told a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing that one of his in-house accountants would have chosen to use his company Rio Vista to make a $20,000 donation towards the Moreton Futures Trust.

"I don't know why they picked that company but they did," Mr Comiskey said.

Moreton Futures Trust backed several local councillors, including Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland, during last year's election campaign through advertising.

Mr Comiskey told the hearing Rio Vista was previously involved in childcare and some property development but it had ceased doing "too much anymore."

The hearings are probing last year's Gold Coast, Moreton Bay and Ipswich council elections to determine whether any laws were broken or whether any unethical behaviour occurred.

Mr Comiskey denied the donations bought him any special access to council, telling the hearing $2 million had been spent on legal fees over nine years in relation to an Eatons Hill development.

"I'd say it doesn't get me any special favours or special access because if you look at that one we actually went to court twice on that," Mr Comiskey said.

The development plans to extend the Eatons Hill Hotel, owned by Mr Comiskey, with a 87-room accommodation tower along with 1800sq m of retail space attached to a Woolworths.

The local councillor for Eatons Hill is Deputy Mayor Mike Charlton, who indirectly benefited from Moreton Futures Trust through advertising that promoted him with Cr Sutherland during the election campaign.

News Corp Australia

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