Glen Eira Council withdraws rooming house charges against former councillor

  • Andrea Kellett
  • March 03, 2014 11:32AM

GLEN Eira council has withdrawn all rooming house charges against former councillor Frank Penhalluriack and his family company.

A three-day contest due to start in Melbourne Magistrates Court at 10am today over in less than one hour.

Mr Penhalluriack says the council had no basis to its claim and that it was an unnecessary expenditure of ratepayers’ money, “which should be justified by those who brought the proceedings”.

The council had also, months earlier, withdrawn the same charge against Mrs Penhalluriack.

His tenant, Tomer Raba, pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to register a rooming house and was convicted, placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $2000 to the court fund.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

COMMENT

After two years of relentlessly pursuing Penhalluriack  Council has dropped all charges. In fact, council’s barrister after claiming so adamantly late last year that the charged were in cahoots now had a different tone and a different language. It was now Mr Raba who was the sole “proprietor” and not simply the “manager”.  This now comes on top of countless council instigated delays in hearings, thousands spent on summonses, and doubtless tens and tens of thousands of ratepayer dollars spent on lawyers. Residents should not forget the previous $12,000 that was paid out to the defence lawyers because council could not get its act together on hearsay evidence – and this $12,000 did not include the costs of council’s legal eagles. What a waste and what total disregard for the public purse.

We also remind readers that the infamous ‘mulch’ facility fracas has now also proven Penhalluriack correct with council’s new ‘warning’ notice, and the installation of a sprinkler system – as Penhalluriack advocated right from the beginning. The warning notice even includes the words ‘Legionnaire’s’ and we remind readers that Penhalluriack was denied access to the full scientific documents that would establish whether any bacteria and/or Legionnaires were present in the mulch at the time of testing. This of course begs the question entirely why the facility was allowed to operate for just on two years without any of these now installed safety precautions and why even after the scientific report, it took council another year to meet all of the report’s recommendations. Even now, employees working with this mulch in various parts of the municipality do so without goggles, masks and gloves as specified in the warning.

There is much that this Council and some of its councillors have to answer for in their relentless pursuit of one individual who has now been vindicated in all of his concerns. The same cannot be said for those who instigated all these proceedings and who were hell bent on ensuring his non re-election  – and all at ratepayers’ expense.

2014 02 Mulch Heap Norticiation0001

Advertisements