HITTING BACK: Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale speaking to media about recent allegations with regards to donations to his Forward Ipswich fund.
HITTING BACK: Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale speaking to media about recent allegations with regards to donations to his Forward Ipswich fund. Sarah Harvey

There won't be one cent out of place, says Pisasale

LAW firm Clayton Utz has been engaged by Ipswich City Council to review the inner workings of the Forward Ipswich and Ipswich Mayor's Community Fund.

The funds have come under media scrutiny in the past week and Ipswich City Council CEO Jim Lindsay has ordered the review to clear the air.

"I've asked our in-house counsel to review the AWH documentation and the Forward Ipswich fund, with the mayor's co-operation, to see if there are any matters that I have an obligation to disclose to other agencies," Mr Lindsay said.

"I have asked for the Mayor's Community Fund to be included in that review.

"Our in-house lawyer has engaged Clayton Utz to undertake that work on our behalf and I will make further comment when the investigation is completed."

"Clayton Utz are a tier one international legal firm with a good reputation. They understand government."

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has defended the operation of the funds this week after wide media scrutiny.

He is president of the community fund and on the management committee of Forward Ipswich

He said the funds have raised millions of dollars to help those suffering a wide range of hardships and welcomed the review of the operation of the funds.

He said the system he had in place would be vindicated.

"It is up front, it is accountable, it protects me and the city…but more importantly it helps a lot of people," he said.

"My forte is not books, that is why I have qualified people helping me.

"There won't be one cent out of place."

The QT has obtained some of the financial records of Forward Ipswich, which are now audited by local firm Sammut Bulow.

The reconciliation of cash transactions from June 6, 2011, to February 28, 2014, list well over 100 contributions from individuals and business.

The majority of these are for fundraising dinners or sponsorships of the annual Mayor's Golf Day.

Those tallying $5000 or more are listed below.

The QT has seen the expense inventory from June 6, 2011, through to September 14, 2012. Each expense has a note explaining what it is for, ranging from Telstra, Office of Fair Trading and APN News advertising bills right through to donations to community organisations and larger bills.

The larger expenses include $3850 to Black Label Corp Events for a Rupert McCall appearance at Cr Pisasale's 20-year celebration dinner, $8400 to the Mater Foundation for the Springfield Ball fundraiser and $4000 to Ian Maurice Entertainment for a seniors concert on October 16, 2012.

Another $3000 was spent with Special Olympics Australia for auction items for fundraising.

The 2013 year income is listed as $99,518.77 with $83,100 of that raised from Cr Pisasale's anniversary dinner.

Expenditure was $65,694.73, with $32,490.32 the cost of hosting the dinner.

There are a variety of other expenses including $1010 for car parking infringements and $46 for dog registration.

"The dog registration was a lady who needed help," Cr Pisasale said.

"She'd been done over by council. We checked it out and fixed it up."

There is a $1100 bill for car parking infringements where Cr Pisasale has stepped in and paid the fines of those who "have a genuine point".

"I don't work for Ipswich City Council. I work for the people of Ipswich," he said.

"When a parking infringement comes to me, we analyse it and send it down to council.

"What is happening in the mall is wrong. When people park there for an extra hour they get an $82 fine.

"Sure, they have made a mistake. But other shopping centres they stay an extra hour and pay an extra $6.

"There have been genuine pensioners who have been hit and can't afford it, and I am there to support them.

"They are on their last legs. I get emails where people say, 'I can't believe that council has got a heart', but it is me doing it."

Cr Pisasale said $4000 was being set aside from the Forward Ipswich fund for a Wickety Wak concert in September and $5000 would be set aside for another seniors concert.

Cr Pisasale said that despite the controversies, his fund system was "the best in Australia".

"I want to see that as a mayor I am there to support the community," he said.

"I have taken the city to where it is now because we have care and compassion in this community.

"If we don't have care and compassion then we are not going to survive."


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