Daughter’s selfie sticks among mayoral purchases
RATEPAYER funds were used to buy $1000 worth of selfie sticks for millionaire Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate's office and his daughter, a scathing Crime and Corruption Commission report has found.
Almost $4500 worth of luggage, $500 headphones and a Gold Coast Titans membership were also bought with ratepayer funds, the report found.
It found Cr Tate may also have committed misconduct by using ratepayer funds to make tens of thousands of dollars in charity donations, and referred him for possible disciplinary action.
The report - handed down today following a lengthy probe into allegations of corruption at the Gold Coast City Council - has criticised and his stood-down chief-of-staff Wayne Moran but stopped short of identifying corruption.
The CCC investigation, dubbed Operation Yabber, revealed "questionable" spending by the Mayor and his office including $998 for two selfie sticks for Cr Tate's office and his daughter, authorised by Mr Moran.
Cr Tate repaid the council for his daughter's selfie stick two months after it was bought in March 2017, the report found.
It found Cr Tate had sought out-of-pocket expense or used a council staffer's corporate credit card to buy three suitcases valued at more than $1400 each, including one in Shanghai.
"In most cases the luggage expenditure was approved by either the (council) CEO or the chief financial officer," the CCC found.
"The CCC understands that the GCCC has since amended their policy to provide clear guidelines on expenditure items in future.
"Other questionable items of expenditure included memberships to the Gold Coast Titans, watch batteries, $500 head phones, home media equipment, and a full business Internet service."
The CCC also found that Cr Tate had breached council policy by using ratepayer funds to donate more than $20,000 to charity, including $2500 to buy a table at the 2016 Gold Coast Mayoress Charity Ball organised by his wife Ruth.
"The legislation in relation to councillor misconduct is clear," the report states.
"A councillor who contravenes policy in relation to the reimbursement of expenses commits misconduct. In this case, evidence exists of Tate using official expenditure for making donations up to ten times the amount permitted under policy.
"On this basis the CCC believes there are sufficient grounds for the OIA to consider disciplinary action against Tate concerning the allegation relating to the donations, and to consider further investigation in relation to the other items of expenditure, and has referred the matter accordingly."
Cr Tate has called a media conference for 3pm to respond to the report.
He has previously declared he will re-contest the mayoralty at the March council election.