National

Scaffidi admits breaking WA council law

By AAP Newswire

Suspended Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has admitted at an inquiry that she broke the law when she interfered in the council heritage listing process for a building in which she had a financial interest.

Ms Scaffidi and her husband had three-quarters ownership of the Grand Central Hotel and she excused herself from making a decision on whether it should be on the council's heritage register in March 2015.

But when Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios messaged her about the matter she said it should be referred back to the planning committee stage, which then happened.

"I wish I had not replied to him," she told the inquiry into the City of Perth on Friday.

Ms Scaffidi accepted the suggestion of counsel assisting the commissioner Philip Urquhart that she should have said she had a financial interest and could not discuss it.

"It's what you should have done by law, isn't it?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied.

Ms Scaffidi also agreed she breached the Local Government Act by contacting the city's environment and public health manager Eugene Lee about the hotel in January 2016 over a change of use application.

"I was very upset about what I had heard had occurred in regards to a tip-off I believe came from (councillor) Reece Harley about the property," she said.

"I was so upset I lost sight of the law."

The inquiry was also shown correspondence between Ms Scaffidi and her "team" of colleagues following the completion of a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation in October 2015.

Ms Scaffidi told her colleagues there had been a "dark cloud" over her head and she was relieved it was all over.

"There is no reason for me to stand down and I can continue as per normal, according to my legal team," she wrote.

"I feel like a (long battle weary) soldier who has been wounded in battle and it is up to my team to now carry me in their arms home and into safe territory."

Ms Scaffidi previously said it was a coincidence that chief executive Gary Stevenson was axed in January 2016 after she learnt he had referred her to the CCC for another probe.

This inquiry was launched following a failure by Ms Scaffidi to disclose travel and gifts, reports of infighting between councillors, two CEOs taking stress leave and the suspension of the council in March 2018.

Ms Scaffidi previously indicated in a cryptic social media post that she would not return to the job.