30 September 2020.
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale, 69, was sentenced to seven and a half years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 27 months. He was convicted of sexual assault and corruption charges. He previously pleaded guilty to more than 30 offences.
One of the corruption charge was his agreeing to champion a Yamanto real estate project during his time as mayor by influencing council workers and contractors. He was to get millions of dollars if sales went ahead as planned, but instead received the services of escorts and two relatively small cash payments.
He also illegally possessed Sildenafil, which is often sold under the brand name Viagra. He gave false testimony at a CCC hearing about carrying packages from interstate for the barrister Sam Di Carlo. He and had his assistant deposited $26,000 in donations into a personal bank account. He took for his own use charity auction items, including sporting memorabilia, a barbecue, kitchen appliances, artwork, photographs, decorative items and whisky.
He used $4,322 of council money to travel to concerts in Sydney and Melbourne.
Pisasale was previously sentenced to two years’ prison, suspended after 12 months, after he was convicted of extortion in 2019. He resigned in June 2017 following a CCC raid at his office and home.
Retired Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller was one of the key anti-corruption campaigners who helped expose misconduct at Ipswich City Council. She first raised corruption concerns in Queensland Parliament in 2006 after council employees came to her with stories of bullying and misconduct. Pisasale put full-time officers on her trail, they went after her family and friends. She felt relieved only after Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) launched an investigation into what was happening in Ipswich council.
The investigation into Pisasale led to major reform to local government across Queensland, with new anti-corruption laws cracking down on councillor training, donations and transparency.
Pisasale ventured into business by purchasing the Cecil Hotel and Colliers Restaurant. He then started the Young Unemployed People of Ipswich (YUPI) which helped make him a well-known name in Ipswich and ultimately helped launch his career as a councillor in 1991.