Entire $50k painstakingly counted in front of Pisasale
AN EMBATTLED Paul Pisasale was clutching $50,000 in cash when Australian Federal Police pounced on him at Melbourne domestic airport, sparking this week's raids by the corruption watchdog and his comical resignation as Ipswich City Council Mayor.
As the colourful, long-term mayor tried yesterday to stage manage his exit from politics by blaming ill-health, it can be revealed Mr Pisasale is facing an unfolding investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission, which on Monday executed search warrants at his office and home.
Mr Pisasale, who has not been charged and yesterday expressed his innocence in his pyjamas at St Andrew's Ipswich Private Hospital, was at Melbourne Airport three weeks ago when a cash-sniffer dog sat at his feet - a signal that sparks an immediate action from officers.
The Courier-Mail understands Mr Pisasale was taken to a private room on Saturday, May 13, by AFP officers who then painstakingly counted the cash in front of him.
It is believed the AFP asked Mr Pisasale why he was carrying such a large amount of cash but he failed to convince officers of his reason.
Yesterday Mr Pisasale blamed his ill health on his ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis.
"It's a very tough disease and a lot of people get it," he said.
"I've been able to set an example and in dealing with multiple sclerosis and sometimes you think you're bullet proof.
"I think that's probably the biggest decision I've made.
"Because when multiple sclerosis starts affecting your judgement and ability to your job 100% it's time to look after it.
"And I've had an MS attack and it does affect me at the moment.
"The attack started about a week and half ago.
"I went to the doctor and they hospitalised me."
Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phillip Bell said the news of Mr Pisasale's resignation came as a surprise as much to the chamber as to its members.
"It is disappointing. We've always enjoyed fantastic support from Paul Pisasale but we do feel as though Paul has put in some fairly significant investment in business," Mr Bell said.