Salim’s Mehajer’s long fall from grace
MANY people would know Salim Mehajer as a failed Sydney councillor who came to national attention with his outrageously ostentatious wedding followed by a series of high-profile run-ins with the law.
To others he's a property developer, an attention seeker, a convicted fraudster, or the guy in the leaked video threatening to rape his wife's parents if she doesn't immediately call him.
But to his family, Mehajer, 32, has always been the "golden child", who has in recent years fallen a long way from grace.
Mehajer was elected deputy mayor of Auburn council in 2012 but it wasn't until his August 2015 wedding - which included a jet flyover, four helicopters, 50 motorbikes and $50 million worth of supercars, and an unauthorised road closure - that he shot to prominence.
The marriage, between Mehajer and Aysha Learmonth, has since dissolved. But to those familiar with Mehajer's antics, that didn't come as a surprise. Just four months after their wedding, Mehajer was charged with electoral fraud offences, in December 2015. And in February the following year, he was sacked - along with the entire Auburn council - for improper conduct. By April, Ms Learmonth had packed up and left their Lidcombe mansion, as rumours of a marriage split surfaced. The breakup was confirmed when Ms Learmonth took out an apprehended violence order (AVO) on Mehajer three months after leaving the home. The court ordered Mehajer not to contact Ms Learmonth until the matter had been heard. Soon after, a disturbing video emerged, showing Mehajer berating Ms Learmonth over the phone.
"You f**king f**ked 12 guys you sl*t," Mehajer said into the camera.
"I'm going to rape your mum. Your mum and your f**king dad."
Mehajer was unable to stay out of trouble or the spotlight even on a later trip overseas. And in November 2016 he was arrested in Ibiza over an altercation with a taxi driver.
In April 2017, Mehajer was arrested in Darlinghurst for assaulting another taxi driver - with an EFTPOS machine - outside Sydney's The Star casino. When he was released from custody over that matter, he assaulted a Seven Newsreporter. Six months later, he allegedly staged a car crash on his way to face court on assault charges relating to the Sydney taxi driver. He was later charged with perverting the course of justice. He spent two months in jail before being granted bail in April this year. He was then sent back behind bars for breaching bail conditions by using two mobile phones.
While in custody last month, Mehajer appeared in court via videolink for sentencing in relation to another matter. He had been convicted of intimidating his ex-wife, Ms Learmonth, via an Instagram message he sent her the previous year, and was subsequently sentenced to an 18-month good behaviour bond. The AVO banning Mehajer, from contacting Ms Learmonth has been in place since 2016 and remains current.
But Mehajer's stroke of good luck in avoiding lengthy jail sentences this week ran out after he was sentenced to at least 11 months behind bars for rigging a council election.
The former Auburn deputy mayor appeared in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Friday after he was convicted in April of more than 100 counts of electoral fraud.
A Sydney magistrate previously found Mehajer acted in a "joint criminal enterprise" with his sister Fatima to fix the 2012 Auburn Council elections by submitting false online applications to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) which placed family who lived elsewhere in the electorate so they could vote. It was that election which led to him becoming the deputy mayor. In handing down the sentence on Friday Magistrate Beverley Schurr imposed a 21-month jail term with a non parole period of 11 months, on Mehajer.
"Only a full custodial sentence is appropriate in this case," Ms Schurr said.
The court heard that Mr Mehajer's father, Mohamed Mehajer blamed himself for his son's mistakes because he had "spoiled him and treated him as the golden child".
But it appears the shine has since worn off, with Mehajer's family left reeling by his increasingly chaotic behaviour, which has made him an almost daily fixture in Sydney's courts.
And there's no end in sight. At last count, Mehajer was currently embroiled in some 20 criminal and civil matters, including several assault cases and a spectacular bankruptcy action in which creditors claim he owes $97 million. He's also been pursued in courts for unpaid rent; unpaid renovation bills; unpaid legal bills and a $25,000 unpaid cleaning bill.
Just recently, he was declared bankrupt by the Federal Circuit Court in response to legal action over a $200,000 debt. An audit of the Auburn businessman's estate, obtained by Seven News, later found he actually owes his creditors more than $24 million.
Mehajer - who less than three years ago declared his intention to become Prime Minister - now looks set to lose his luxury mansion.
Last week, his Sydney properties were raided by about 10 investigators from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), along with members of NSW Police, forensic accountants and IT specialists.
The operation was carried out at the request of Mehajer's bankruptcy trustee Paul Weston of Pitcher Partners.
A spokesman for NSW Police told news.com.au its officers were merely preventing a breach of the peace during the raids.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
- With AAP