Ex-mayor sheds tears as he gives evidence at trial

A TEARFUL Andrew Antoniolli cut a sad figure outside an Ipswich courtroom before giving evidence in the 13 fraud charges brought by the CCC against him.

As the former Ipswich mayor was set to take the stand, his legal team revealed he was emotional as there had been a death in his extended family at the weekend.

Antoniolli's barrister Peter Callaghan led him one-by-one through the 13 fraud, and one attempted fraud charges.

Each time Antoniolli defended his actions to use council funds to bid for items at charity auctions as something that met its community donations policy, and had been approved by two chief executive officers.

He said it was done to help community groups raise funds when they held auctions and he stood to make no personal gain or receive a personal benefitHe told the court former mayor Paul Pisasale had told him that he was doing it, and he had discussions if it was "kosher" with former CEO Carl Wulff.

"He said yes it is fine, but that I not use the term 'auction' in the application process," he said.

Antoniolli said the items would remain council property or be "re-purposed" to other groups.

He said Mr Wulff gave no indication there was anything wrong with this.

He said he also clarified this policy with the subsequent CEO Jim Lindsay.

Cross-examined by Mr Callaghan, Antoniolli named other councillors he believed to be doing the same thing, including Charlie Pisasale, David Morrison, David Pahlke, and Victor Attwood.

Antoniolli said when he became mayor he believed the practice in making community donations to be "messy, it needed tidying up".

Antoniolli said his intention was to ensure more transparent framework to handle such items.

In evidence relating to eight fraud charges involving the purchase of art works from Ipswich West Special School, Antoniolli began to cry.

He explained how the school was underfunded for arts and he and Charlie Pisasale were so moved they decided to give the kids "a lift" with a mock auction of three art works and they rang then-mayor Paul Pisasale and asked if he would contribute.

Parents were asked to help bid up the items and they raised about $1500.

He said the art works ended up hanging in his council meeting room.

Antoniolli said the bike purchase that was the subject of one of the charges, only happened when he was outbid in a spit roast. The yellow bike came up next and he bid, "with the idea to re-purpose it".

The hearing will conclude tomorrow.