Salim Mehajer has found himself at the centre of public scrutiny again following the revelation that he voted for council decisions that added $1 million in value to property interests he had failed to disclose.
Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer has been suspended from his council position for a four month period following the revelation that he did not disclose his pecuniary interests in a property whose value surged by $1 million as a result of measures he supported.
The Civil and Administrative Tribunal of New South Wale established that Mehajer had breached the Local Government Act by failing to disclose his financial interests in 3 Mary Street, Auburn, on three occasions during the period from November 2012 to December 2013.
Mehajer voted for increases to the floor space ratios of 3 Mary Street in his capacity as Auburn council member, a measure which one valuation expert estimates increased the value of the property by as much as $1 million.
The flamboyant deputy mayor first came to public attention in August of last year, when Australia’s tabloid press engaged in frenzied coverage f his extravagant nuptials in western Sydney.
Mehajer has since been on the receiving end of far less favourable attention, with accusations fast emerging that he had attempted to squeeze $45 million from
David Patten, Principal Member of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal, said that Mehajer had shown “hubris” in his role as councillor, as well as lack of remorse of his conduct.
“Mr. Mehajer’s initial response to the allegations made against him, rather than evidence contrition, seemed to me to reveal a serious lack of respect for or appreciation of the high degree of probity which the law required of him," said Patten
Despite this scathing assessment of Mehajer’s character Patten found that the Auburn deputy mayor should not be ousted from his council position, he “did not intentionally commit the breaches,” and had also disclosed at least some of his property holdings.
Mehajer’s suspension coincides with the announcement of a public inquiry by the NSW government into allegations that other members of Auburn City Council has abused their offices.