DAN’S DOU­BLE BO­GEY

DODGY DE­VEL­OPER DO­NATED $2500 TO AN­DREWS PREMIER’S BIG GOLF DAY WAS MIL­LION­AIRE’S IDEA

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - ALEX WHITE, TOM MINEAR, MONIQUE HORE AND KIERAN ROONEY

DANIEL An­drews took $2500 from a de­vel­oper em­broiled in a cor­rup­tion scan­dal, while it can be re­vealed a Premier’s char­ity golf day was the brain­child of the em­bat­tled ty­coon.

Three days af­ter the Her­ald Sun re­ported that Mr An­drews had dined with Fer­rari-driv­ing de­vel­oper John Wood­man at the up­mar­ket Flower Drum restau­rant, the Premier fronted re­porters yes­ter­day to con­firm he re­ceived the do­na­tion from the de­vel­oper for his 2002 Mul­grave cam­paign.

And his of­fice con­firmed the 2017 Premier’s Char­ity Golf Day — which the Flower Drum lunch was set up to dis­cuss — was multi-mil­lion­aire Mr Wood­man’s idea.

Mr An­drews put his name to the event and handed out a tro­phy as more than $400,000 was raised for the Monash Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

The Premier’s at­ten­dance at the golf day also came af­ter he had be­come aware that Mr Wood­man was work­ing as a prop­erty lob­by­ist for al­leged mafia fig­ure Tony Madaf­feri. At the time, Mr An­drews and his col­leagues were at­tack­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of then-Lib­eral leader Matthew Guy over his “lob­ster with a mob­ster” din­ner in Mel­bourne’s bay­side with Mr Madaf­feri.

The golf day rev­e­la­tion has raised ques­tions about the close­ness of Mr An­drews’s re­la­tion­ship with Mr Wood­man, who is at the cen­tre of an on­go­ing In­de­pen­dent Broad-based Anti-cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion in­quiry into plan­ning cor­rup­tion.

IBAC has heard Mr Wood­man do­nated almost $160,000 to La­bor can­di­dates at last year’s state elec­tion.

The Premier’s of­fice also con­firmed last night that the Flower Drum lunch in Septem­ber 2017 was one of three func­tions Mr An­drews at­tended at the restau­rant with Mr Wood­man (above).

“He has never raised ac­tive plan­ning mat­ters with me — if he had I would have stood up and left,” Mr An­drews said. “We dis­cussed, prin­ci­pally, a char­ity golf day that he was very keen to put on.”

Mr An­drews added: “He had been very keen to run that golf day for quite some time.”

Asked if he knew Mr Wood­man was rep­re­sent­ing Mr Madaf­feri at the time, Mr An­drews said he be­came aware “not long af­ter that meet­ing” in Septem­ber 2017, two months be­fore the char­ity golf day.

“I have not been too con­cerned about his client list or those sorts of is­sues be­cause of course, I have not been some­one who has sat down and talked to him about ac­tive plan­ning mat­ters,” he said.

Mr An­drews said he had never met with Mr Madaf­feri — who has pre­vi­ously stren­u­ously de­nied be­ing a mafia fig­ure and has never been charged with an of­fence. But the Premier has con­ceded he vis­ited Mr Madaf­feri’s fruit shop, lo­cated in his elec­torate in Mel­bourne’s south­east.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Michael O’Brien said the Premier had not ex­plained why he main­tained con­tact with Mr Wood­man, even af­ter his as­so­ci­a­tions were made public.

“Daniel An­drews needs to ex­plain why he was hav­ing dumplings with a de­vel­oper who was act­ing for an al­leged mafia boss,” he said.

Mr An­drews said the $2500 do­na­tion in 2002 was prop­erly dis­closed by La­bor, along with oth­ers to MPs in­clud­ing a do­na­tion to Deputy Premier James Mer­lino be­fore the 2018 elec­tion.

He said his govern­ment had strength­ened po­lit­i­cal do­na­tion laws and would con­sider sep­a­rate re­forms for do­na­tions to lo­cal councillor­s af­ter the IBAC probe ends.

The in­quiry heard yes­ter­day that Casey coun­cil­lor Ge­off Ablett — ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing $330,000 from Mr Wood­man — pro­moted the de­vel­oper’s in­ter­ests in con­ver­sa­tions with councillor­s — de­spite the for­mer mayor say­ing on Mon­day that do­ing so “would be cor­rupt”. Texts showed that, while declar­ing a con­flict of in­ter­est, Cr Ablett “coached” Cr Sam Aziz on how to han­dle a 2018 vote on a Cran­bourne in­ter­sec­tion the ty­coon had an in­ter­est in.

Com­mis­sioner Robert Redlich de­scribed the ex­change as “the most fla­grant abuse of the con­flict sit­u­a­tion that you were in”.

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