UrbanGrowth director quits after father’s $1.3m profit revealed


In a text message, Mr Anisse said he resigned out of respect for UrbanGrowth and “because it was the right thing to do”.

Mr Issa, who quit his joint investment with Mr Anisse less than a month after starting the company, is contesting Granville for the Liberal Party in the March election.

Mr Anisse joined UrbanGrowth in November to work on the $310 million Parramatta North scheme. The development is to take place in an area of significant heritage value, and UrbanGrowth has been at pains to argue its development plans will revive and not compromise historic structures.

Prior to working at UrbanGrowth, Mr Anisse was a senior property development manager at Parramatta Council. While in that job he started a company with Mr Issa called Asticus Pty Ltd, which contracted to buy 39 Marion Street, Parramatta in May 2015.

Mr Issa soon quit the company. But on March 1 2016, a company owned by Mr Anisse’s father Frank purchased the site and transferred it to another owner for a one-day profit of $1.25 million.

Staff at Parramatta Council have repeatedly recommended against a large-scale rezoning of the Marion Street site, because of heritage buildings in the area. But a majority of councillors, including Tony Issa’s son Steven, have pushed for aggressive rezoning. Steven Issa said he has never voted on any proposals in which his father, or any family member, had an interest.

While working for Parramatta Council, Mr Anisse disclosed his directorship of Asticus, but not its interest in the Marion Street property nor his father’s interest in the property. Mr Anisse said he “did not fail to disclose any matter that would give rise to a conflict of interest”.

Mr Anisse’s boss at Parramatta was Barry Mann, who was appointed the chief executive of UrbanGrowth in September 2017.

Mr Mann said he had not been aware of the Marion Street transaction.

“My recollection is that staff at the City of Parramatta were required to complete a declaration of interest which was managed through council’s governance process,” Mr Mann said.

“My expectation was, and continues to be, that staff would declare relevant interests.”

Prior to his resignation, Mr Anisse was on a temporary contract at UrbanGrowth.

Jacob Saulwick is City Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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