Port Stephens councillor Ken Jordan doesn’t vote on Buildev matters due to friendship with Darren Williams

admin | 杭州桑拿
7 Jul 2019

Buildev co-founder Darren Williams.A PORT Stephens councillor who was the best man at the wedding of Buildev co-founder Darren Williams says he no longer votes on matters relating to the Newcastle development company because of the long-standing friendship.

Cr Ken Jordan said he had known Mr Williams ‘‘since our early days in Raymond Terrace Catholic Youth Group’’.

‘‘I fill out a form and leave the room,’’ Cr Jordan said.

‘‘Previously, I had voted on things because there was no gain – it was purely a friendship.’’

Cr Jordan said the decision to steer clear of Buildev matters stemmed from the advice of council staff about what constituted a significant non-pecuniary interest, and the tightening of rules.

But it also follows a code of conduct complaint in 2011 that the friendship was not properly disclosed before council consideration of reports on Buildev’s Medowie supermarket development application.

Allegations raised included that Cr Jordan had ‘‘referred a number of times to being flown to Melbourne on Mr Williams’ corporate jet’’.

An independent investigation report noted ‘‘Cr Jordan has stated that he has never flown to Melbourne on Mr Williams’ jet and does not know if he has a jet or not’’.

‘‘I am aware [Mr Williams] has some business association with an organisation generally known as ‘Buildev’,’’ Cr Jordan was quoted in the report.

The investigator found Cr Jordan should have declared a significant non-pecuniary interest rather than a non-significant interest that he disclosed.

Mr Williams was a target of the recent Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into secret political donations, with evidence tendered that Buildev’s helicopter was used to fly Labor backbencher Joe Tripodi to a meeting with the company.

Cr Steve Tucker also declared a non-significant non-pecuniary interest in relation to the same supermarket application, also because of a friendship with Mr Williams.

However, he said it was not a close friendship and the investigator endorsed his declaration.

Cr Jordan did not vote in 2013 on the awarding of a sandmining lease to Buildev Group company, Castle Quarry Products.

Cr Tucker said he had voted to support the company receiving the lease but did so because of the millions of dollars more that the company would pay to council compared with other tenderers.

He said he believed ratepayers had nothing to lose should Castle Quarry Products fall into any financial difficulties because the council would retain ownership of intellectual property.

Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie said he had no interest to declare before the 2013 council vote on the sandmining lease after his family-owned sand supply company withdrew from the tender.

The Division of Local Government agreed in July 2013, finding that there was no breach of the Local Government Act, after a complaint was referred to it.

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