The fast and the curious: matching Maseratis and a Liberal nomination – Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: July 16, 2021 at 1:25 pm

And then there is the thorny issue on the declaration form regarding property development. Ms Simone has declared that for the past seven years she has not been engaged in any business involving property development.

However, corporate records show that as recently as 2018 she was a director and shareholder in her husbands company RL888, which is a major shareholder in property development company, the Manta Group, where her husband is the CEO.

Ms Simone claimed that although she ticked no on the nomination form, she had declared her former interest in her husbands company on a separate form and the party knows all about it.

The email address given on her nomination form is a Manta Group email and Ms Simone posted on her Facebook page in February 2016: We are very busy with Renes (sic) project at MIDDLETON GRANGE.

President of the CaringbahLiberal Party branch Marie Simone with her husband, property developer Rene Licata. Credit:Facebook

This was a reference to her husbands ambitious development for the town centre at Middleton Grange, in the Liverpool area. Despite the best efforts of his planner Matt Daniel, who like Mr Licata is a member of Ms Simones branch of the party, Mr Licatas development plans have been thwarted by the local council.

Middleton Grange residents opposed Mantas proposed development for 900 units to be built in the immediate area.Credit:Simon Bennett

However, the Liberals on Liverpool Council, where Mr Daniel was formerly the deputy general manager, remained supportive. In July 2019 they voted as a bloc to overturn the councils rejection of the Manta Groups plans. They were not successful.

In 2017 Mr Licata and Mr Daniel established the Commercial and Economic Planning Association which claims to represent the interests of smaller developers. According to CEPAs website, in September 2019 they charged $350 per head for members and guests to dine with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

Mr Daniel, also a former bankrupt, has featured in back-to-back corruption inquiries. In April it was revealed that Mr Daniels planning company was lobbying Canada Bay councillors for favourable rezonings on behalf of then Liberal MP John Sidoti.

He also featured in ICACs investigations into questionable planning decisions made by Canterbury Council. Documents tendered at the inquiry show Mr Daniel was on the payroll of controversial property developer Charbel Charlie Demian who was lobbying the council and its planners for major expansions to his development sites.

The ICAC inquiry also showed that Mr Daniel was using the services of the now-disgraced former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire to help lobby planning officials and other ministers on behalf of Mr Daniels clients.

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The fast and the curious: matching Maseratis and a Liberal nomination - Sydney Morning Herald

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