IPSWICH charities may soon share in a windfall of $285,000 as former mayor Paul Pisasale and current councillor Paul Tully work together to try and unlock the bank accounts of two local community funds established more than 20 years ago.
The funds are sitting with the Bendigo Bank under the names of the City of Ipswich Community Fund Ltd and the Ipswich Community Charity Fund Inc.
The funds were raised primarily by Paul Pisasale with numerous donations from the community to assist those in urgent need of assistance after such things as floods and house fires.
Pisasale recognised the importance of having an emergency relief fund that could be immediately accessed for residents at the time of their greatest need.
When a house fire happened overnight the community knew that the former mayor would be one of the first there with clothes, food and funds for emergency accommodation if needed.
Two independent committees oversaw the funds and handed out around $1million dollars in aid over many years until resignations from the committees in 2017 meant they didn’t have a quorum to transact business.
Since that time no donations have been made by third parties to either of the funds and no grants or assistance have been paid from either fund.
Cr Tully attempted some years ago to have the bank release the funds so they could be distributed to Ipswich charities, but the bank said it couldn’t do this until the listed committee chairman, Paul Pisasale signed significant legal paperwork at the bank.
To complicate matters further Pisasale was incarcerated and had moved to free the funds by sending a letter from prison to ASIC officially resigning from the committees.
The bank has continued to insist that the funds cannot be released without the paperwork.
Now Pisasale is out on parole he is attempting to clear the legal wrangles.
The former mayor cannot make comment on the matter because he has been banned from talking to the press while on parole. On his release media were sent a directive by the Parole Board advising them of the press ban and warning them that they were forbidden to take any photos of the former mayor while he was on parole.
One paper broke this ban early on his release, but since that time no new photos have been published of Pisasale.
Now that the former mayor is fully aware of the complexities surrounding release of the funds sources close to him have confirmed he is putting his full effort into making sure it happens.
Cr Tully has faced criticism from fringe media outlets for stalling the release of the community funds, but he says nothing could be further from the truth.
“The situation is so complex that the bank will not tell me who the signatories are on one of the accounts as I am not listed as a signatory on the last authority to the bank almost 10 years ago,” he said.
“I am hopeful that this legal hiatus will be resolved shortly without the need for expensive court proceedings.
“Once the bank authorities are finalised, we will seek to wind up both funds and distribute all moneys in accordance with the two constitutions.”
“To facilitate this, we will need to engage a panel of respected independent persons in the Ipswich community to advise on how all the funds should be distributed before the end of this financial year.”
“This has been a long process, drawn out by the personal circumstances of a third party and the lack of a quorum required by law for each fund to meet and make any decisions.
“I have virtually been the last man standing in all of this, but now Paul is available we will make this happen.”