EXCLUSIVE: CCC return tools seized in Pisasale investigation
PALLETS of tools at the centre of a Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigation into former mayor Paul Pisasale have been delivered to the Ipswich Men's Shed.
After an extensive investigation, the QT can reveal the story behind the extraordinary journey of several pallets of tools, seized by the CCC from the premises of O'Connell Agencies in Ipswich, a business owned by Mr Pisasale's friend Kaitlyn Moore.
The tools were given by a large manufacturing company to Mr Pisasale to donate to the Ipswich community organisation known as Men's Sheds. Volunteers would use them for community good.
The company, Blackwoods, was clearing out obsolete tools and wanted to put them to community use.
Mr Pisasale, as president of Ipswich City Rotary Club, announced at a meeting of the club that he would donate them to Ipswich Men's Shed for distribution to the four branches in the city.
That decision was moved, carried and minuted in a club board meeting, club secretary Alec Gazsik confirmed to the QT.
The CCC has visited Mr Gazsik and taken a copy of the minutes.
Mr Pisasale said he had earlier asked Ms Moore to collect the tools and store them at her Blackstone business. She sent a driver to pick them up and stored them under black plastic with a sign that said 'Ipswich Men's Shed tools'.
There is no suggestion that Ms Moore committed any crime, engaged in any corruption or was aware of any alleged misconduct by Mr Pisasale.
Ipswich Men's Shed president Terry Carter, who has given the CCC a written statement, told the QT today that Mr Pisasale informed him on February 13 this year that the tools would be delivered to the shed for distribution.
The QT has spoken to several Rotary club members who said that it was a voluntary organisation and that Mr Pisasale and themselves simply had not gotten around to doing so.
Mr Pisasale, who spoke to the QT this week, is distressed to think that anyone, because of the CCC investigation, might think he stole the tools or was intending to benefit from them.
Mr Pisasale is facing a CCC investigation and has been charged with extortion and two other charges he will fight in court.
Mr Carter said, as he showed the QT the unpacked tools in two trailers, that he was delighted to receive them for the first time after picking them up from the police depot in West End.
"On February 13, Paul offered several pallets of tools to us and asked if we would store them and distribute them to the other sheds," he said.
"I had no reason to not believe that Paul would have given us the tools.
"Paul has done a lot for us over the time the shed has been operating in relation to providing items through the council legitimately, items which were acquitted to the council. When you get a product you have to do a report which is called an acquittal so the council knows where it went.
"We had faith in Paul.
"I had confidence we would get them.
"But we just let it go until I was contacted by the CCC last week. They said they had found the tools and we would get them eventually. The CCC has been in touch with me and I have made a statement."
Mr Carter said the tools would now be distributed.
"We are going to sort them and then we will offer them to other sheds as well. There is a lot of good stuff there and we are taking it away to list it all and photograph it all."
Mr Gazsik confirmed that Mr Pisasale's statement that he had the tools and that Rotary would distribute them to the men's sheds had been minuted and approved by the board.
"It went to the board, it was minuted but after that I have no idea what happened," he said.
Mr Gazsik said that detectives had been to see him and taken "a copy" of the minutes.
"The minutes said that the tools had been donated and that Rotary would distribute them to the local men's sheds in the Ipswich area," he said.
The big question is: Why did Mr Pisasale not ensure they were delivered?
The QT understands Mr Pisasale had intended to deliver them before his changeover as president last month.
"We are all volunteers and if you do get donations they will be actioned on but it could take two or three months," one of several club members the QT interviewed said.
"It is not like the members just do Rotary stuff. A lot are in business.
"The tools were there. It is not as if they were going to rust.
"The club hadn't done it in time, not Paul."
"If anyone was attempting to get financial benefit for themselves they would not, as president of Rotary, be saying they had a donation of tools to distribute in a meeting."