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Monday, April 21, 2014

Nick Di Girolamo brings down a Premier

Nick Di Girolamo, a prominent Liberal Party fund-raiser and associate of the Obeid family, sent NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell a $3,000 bottle of Grange.  "What were you attempting to secure?" he was asked by council assisting ICAC, Geoffrey Watson.  "My sincere congratulations on finally getting into office after 16 long hard winters in opposition" he said.

As Chief Executive of Australian Water Holdings, Nick Di Giodlmo billed the public-owned Sydney Water for expenses and admitted that a series of payments, including restaurant bills, trips to Cairns casino, services of a Liberal lobbyist and donations to the Liberal Party should not have been billed to Sydney Water.

When it was revealed at the ICAC hearing that Mr Di Girolamo had sent the Premier a bottle of Grange, O'Farrell denied it.  He looked into the camera and said with conviction "I did not receive a bottle of Grange from Mr Girolamo."  

In an effort to prove he wasn't lying, Di Girolamo went home and found the fatal "thank you" note in O'Farrell's fair hand and when he produced it, O'Farrell spat the dummy and resigned.  

Mike Baird

New Premier Mike Baird said in hindsight it was a mistake to appoint Nick Di Girolamo to a state-owned corporation three years ago but it was agreed to by cabinet.  "The community has spoken on donations and lobbyists, and we will be responding, it is critical" he said.

Barry O'Farrell will stay on as an MP until next year's state election. Maybe some day the real reason for his resignation will be revealed.