Moreton Bay mayor says he’s done with fundraising trust after CCC probe

Moreton Bay mayor says he's done with fundraising trust after CCC probe

Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland has declared he will no longer accept contributions from a controversial election campaign fund after he was questioned by the Crime and Corruption Commission on Friday afternoon.Cr Sutherland also revealed he deliberately withheld a serious health issue from voters in the days prior to last year’s March election.
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Morton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland said he would no longer be accepting funds from the trust. Photo: Robert Shakespeare The commission, which is hearing evidence of alleged misconduct during the 2016 Queensland local government elections, has heard at times contradictory evidence about the Moreton Futures Trust, which significantly bankrolled Cr Sutherland’s 2012 and 2016 mayoral campaigns.In Cr Sutherland’s 2016 campaign along, MFT donated more than $118,000, which it had sourced mainly from developers.
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The trust has come under scrutiny for the way it kept the donations hidden from Cr Sutherland’s own electoral disclosure forms.Cr Sutherland donors to his 2016 campaign were given two choices: either deposit the money into his campaign fund or in to the Moreton Futures Trust, of which he was the main beneficiary.
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“If they donate to Allan Sutherland, the money goes to Allan Sutherland’s campaign,” he said.Counsel assisting the commission Glen Rice, QC, said: “That’s a lot better for you, isn’t it, having a bird in the hand rather than a bird in the bush, which is what goes into the trust?”
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Dr John Ryan said he had no memory of being involved with the trust. Photo: Tammy Law “Well, to be quite honest, I’d rather it could all go into the trust so I could keep it all away,” Cr Sutherland responded.”But in hindsight maybe now we’re going through all this I would have rather that it had gone the other way.”Following his testimony at CCC headquarters in Fortitude Valley, Cr Sutherland said he would no longer accept donations from the trust.”Hindsight’s a great thing to have,” he told reporters after he was asked if he would continue his association with MFT.”I would say ‘no’, for reasons that aren’t what you would think.”The reason I probably wouldn’t use the trust is I feel so sorry for those people who were involved in the trust.”I think they’ve done it out of the goodness of their hearts, Dr John and that Kirby fellow, and I felt for those guys.”So I don’t want to put them through that again and I don’t want to be in that position again either.”MFT legal founder Timothy Connolly, trustee Kirby Leeke and former trustee John Ryan have all given evidence during the hearing, some of which has been contradictory.Dr Ryan, an Aspley GP who it emerged on Friday had become Cr Sutherland’s personal physician after the mayor contracted a serious auto-immune disease, told the commission on Thursday he had no memory whatsoever of being involved with the trust.Cr Sutherland told the commission on Friday the subject of Dr Ryan’s involvement in the trust come up in conversations during one of his medical consultations.”It was during the election, that I had to hide from the public and the p…