News

Sutherland too sick to check list of donors

Moreton Bay Council Mayor Allan Sutherland talks to the media as he leaves a hearing at the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) in Brisbane, Friday, April 21, 2017. Mr Sutherland gave evidence in an investigation into conduct of candidates involved in the 2016 local government elections for the Gold Coast City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and Ipswich City Council. (AAP Image/Dan
Moreton Bay Council Mayor Allan Sutherland talks to the media as he leaves a hearing at the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) in Brisbane, Friday, April 21, 2017. Mr Sutherland gave evidence in an investigation into conduct of candidates involved in the 2016 local government elections for the Gold Coast City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and Ipswich City Council. (AAP Image/Dan

MORETON Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland has told a corruption inquiry he was too sick to make himself aware of who donated to a trust which forwarded more than $100,000 to his 2016 election campaign.

Cr Sutherland also told the Crime and Corruption Commission he was rarely involved in approaching donors to solicit money for the Moreton Futures Trust - a trust which today became the focus of an inquiry examining political donations during council elections in south east Queensland.

"I would be happy not to be involved with money in any way shape or form," he said.

Cr Sutherland repeatedly told the CCC he doesn't like to "rattle the can", preferring others to solicit donations on his behalf like property developer and "really good mate" David Trask.

"I asked him if he could solicit some donations; he's very well connected," Cr Sutherland said.

He also said he was unaware of who donated to the trust - evidence which was directly queried by counsel assisting the Commission Glen Rice QC.

Evidence obtained by the CCC detailed a comprehensive list of trust donors that was emailed to Cr Sutherland's shared account on March 24, 2016.

Invoices outlined donations totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars were sent to the shared email address and appear to have been managed by Cr Sutherland's wife, Gayle.

Those invoices were sent by Moreton Futures' trustee Kirby Leeke who yesterday described cheques for thousands of dollars arriving in the mail from developers.

Mr Leeke, an accountant who works in Everton Park, said he too was never involved in approaching people to make donations to the Moreton Futures Trust.

Despite having access to the account Cr Sutherland told the inquiry that his hospitalisation in the lead-up to the election meant he was in no fit state to absorb such information.

"On the 24th of March I wouldn't have known what day it was," he said.

"I was in hospital ...On the Wednesday (before the election) I collapsed in the front street of Scarborough and had to be carried to my car," he said.

"I wouldn't have opened up an email from (Leeke) - I may have - but I was in no position to do anything on March 24th.

"I had to get helped out of a chair."

Cr Sutherland said that while he didn't actively avoid finding out who had contributed to the Trust, he preferred to not be aware as to avoid conflicts of interest whilst discussing development applications in council meetings.

"It wasn't a conscious decision not to do it," he said.

"It's hard to have a conflict if you don't know who is there. If you do know, then you have to walk."

Yesterday an email tendered in evidence suggested a conversation with Alan Sutherland had led a property developer to move towards making a substantial donation to Moreton Futures Trust.

Brisbane based property developer Michael Graham wrote in an email to Kirby Leeke, who was running the Trust's account to pledge thousands to the mayoral campaign, however yesterday the commission heard that the donation never eventuated.

"I have been speaking with Allan Sutherland and have decided to support his campaign with a $10,000 donation," Mr Graham wrote to Moreton Futures Trust Accountant Kirby Leeke.

Cr Sutherland said this was the only occasion where he would have been directly involved in soliciting a donations.

Topics:  allan sutherland crime and corruption commission editors picks kirby leeke accountant moreton bay regional council moreton futures trust



CQ animal rescue group struggle with abandoned pet surge

Thatcher the dog is the face up Capricorn Animal Aid's upcoming fundraiser ball. He is pictured with his foster carer Lailah Hinds and Capricorn Animal Aid's Juanita Peoples ahead of the major event.

Major fundraiser the only hope for hundreds of animals in need

He's 93, has dementia and makes love with a sex worker

People with dementia can experience massive changes in their libidos.

Meet the escort who helps men with dementia enjoy sex

Brothers power into rugby grand final with big win

Brothers player Mace Hartley scored a double in his team's win over Gladstone.

Coach says troops are up for the challenge against Dawson Valley

Local Partners

St Ursula's College students win with the power of words

The students debated their way to victory in the Rockhampton District Secondary School Debating Competition Grand Final this week.


Get Set for Summer

Win One of Ten Prize Packs
Learn More

REVEALED: Liam Gallagher is coming to Falls Festival

English musician, singer, and songwriter, former lead singer of the rock band Oasis, Liam Gallagher performs during his concert at National Olympic Sports Center in Beijing, China, 10 August 2017.

He revealed the news ahead of the official line up announcement

Machine Gun Preacher heading to Rocky to give Hope

SAVING LIVES: Sam Childers, aka the Machine Gun Preacher, at Angels of East Africa's orphanage in Nimule, South Sudan.

Former bad boy biker turned preacher and humanitarian on road

What's on this weekend in Rockhampton and the Cap Coast

Head trackside this weekend for the Yeppoon Races at Keppel Park.

We've got the gossip of what's happening this weekend.

Reese Witherspoon on being a ‘has-been’ at 36

REESE Witherspoon might have an Oscar on her mantle and made millions at the box office but that hasn’t stopped people declaring her career is over.

RECAP: Game of Thrones s7 e6 - Beyond the Wall

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, Iain Glen, Paul Kaye and Joe Dempsie in a scene from Game of Thrones.

*Warning this story contains spoilers about today's new episode*

Paul Kelly announces massive Australian tour

Paul Kelly is going on a 16-date national tour in November.

Music legend thrills fans with the announcement of a massive tour.

Survivor twist bound to shock

Sunshine Coast mum-of-three Tara Pitt.

TARA Pitt benefited from a shock twist on Australian Survivor.

The Block goes back to school with gorgeous kids rooms

Ronnie and Georgia's winning kids bedroom in a scene from The Block.

ONE magical bedroom received the first perfect score of the season.

What's on the small screen this week

Rob Collins and Jessica Marais in a scene from season two of The Wrong Girl.

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m

Rocky in top-10 fastest growing areas for residential units

CBD FRAMEWORK: Artist impression of the $14 million combined residential and commercial high-rise on the corner of William and Bolsover streets, Rockhampton.

Development approvals align with bold inner-city living vision

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South