JOHN SIDOTI’s FAMILY IN FIVE DOCK PROPERTY SPREE BEFORE METRO ANNOUNCEMENT

John Sidoti was parliamentary secretary to planning and later roads when his elderly mum and dad, through a family trust, went on a property buying spree in Five Dock ahead of the suburb firming as a likely future Sydney Metro West station.

Now accused of being a “parliamentary secretary for planning by day and a property developer by night”

John Sidoti’s family in Five Dock property spree before Metro announcement

John Sidoti was parliamentary secretary to planning and later roads when his elderly mum and dad, through a family trust, went on a property buying spree in Five Dock ahead of the suburb firming as a likely future Sydney Metro West station.

Jennifer Sexton, The Daily Telegraph

September 13, 2019

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John Sidoti was parliamentary secretary to planning and later roads when his elderly mum and dad, through a family trust, went on a property buying spree in Five Dock ahead of the suburb firming as a likely site for a future station on the new Sydney Metro West.

Mr Sidoti’s interest in the group of properties remained secret as he delayed the reporting to parliament for up to three years while confidential discussions ensued within the transport department over the possible sites of the stations for the government’s planned key infrastructure project.

John Sidoti appearing before the Legislative Council budget estimates. Picture: AAP
John Sidoti appearing before the Legislative Council budget estimates. Picture: AAP

In 2014, the same year the first property in the spree was purchased, the precinct received a more lucrative zoning from the local council, changing it from general commercial to mixed used commercial and residential and allowing building heights to be increased by a further three storeys.

Another two properties were later purchased by the Sidoti family, taking the total outlay in three years to $5 million and resulting in a consolidated parcel of four lots on which the family now wants to build a five-storey commercial and residential redevelopment for $7.7 million.

The development application for 20 units and a separate building with a further two four-bedroom units is now before Canada Bay Council.

The project has been designed by Zhinar Architects, part of the Southern Han International group which is in business with Mr Sidoti on a $70 million development a few minutes’ walk from Tallawong Station on the $2 billion North West Metro.

Mr Sidoti was parliamentary secretary for transport, roads, industry, resources and energy from August 2015 to January 2017.

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KEEPING TRACK IN FIVE DOCK FROM 2014 TO NOVEMBER 2018

After his parents’ first and second property purchases, in November 2016, the state government announced it would build the Sydney Metro West.

Consultation work began on a wide corridor of possible stops to Parramatta via Sydney Olympic Park and the Bays precinct further down the line.

In November last year ­geotechnical testing in Five Dock was the first public indication that the suburb was firming as a possible stop on the line, with ground testing conducted a few metres from the Sidoti family land holdings on Great North Road.

Asked a barrage of questions in a parliamentary budget committee on Thursday about what he knew of deliberations over the Metro stations Mr Sidoti gave no details, saying only multiple times: “I have always complied with all of my obligations”.

He also denied he helped or advised his father Richard Sidoti, 81, and mother Catherine Sidoti, 73, in buying the properties and said he never discussed any governmental business that in any way would conflict with his private business interests.

There’s no suggestion of wrongdoing by Richard and Catherine Sidoti.

Mr Sidoti was parliamentary secretary for planning when in 2014 his parents via their company Anderlis paid $1.3m for 2 Second Ave, Five Dock just around the corner and bordering the back of an existing holding at 120 Great North Rd, now rented to a gospel church.


120 Great North Rd, Five Dock, which is currently rented out to a church.

120 Great North Rd, Five Dock, which is currently rented out to a church.

This building has been in the family via the trust Deveme since 2007, but Mr Sidoti did not declare this interest for five years after entering parliament in 2011.

Three years later the Sidotis were buying again on the main street, paying $1.62 million for the property next door to the function centre on Great North Rd.

They bought the shop next door to that the following year, in December 2017, paying $2.025 million via Deveme, further consolidating their holding and increasing the options for redevelopment.

Asked before the parliamentary committee on Thursday why he had failed to declare $580,000 in annual rent on the three commercial properties on Great North Rd, Mr Sidoti denied he earned rent on the properties.

Mr Sidoti’s answers at budget estimates angered Greens MP David Shoebridge, who accused him of being “parliamentary secretary for planning by day and a property developer by night”. “There’s such an obvious conflict of interest, how could you not understand that,” he said. “You acted grossly inappropriately, if not — in the definition of the ICAC Act — corruptly.

Mr Sidoti said: “I’ve done nothing wrong … I’ve conducted myself with the highest standards of integrity.”

A TRAIN WRECK OF A SHOW FOR LIBS

Comment

John Sidoti had 120 minutes in the hot seat and he said it 104 times: “I have ­always complied with all of my obligations.”

That’s a cracking pace of almost once a minute.

It didn’t seem to matter what the question was, that was his answer. And the longer the cabinet minister stuck to it, the deeper the hole he dug himself.

Mr Sidoti even said it when challenged on his own blatant failure — in ­official documents in black and white — to disclose his family’s multimillion-dollar property holdings.

Greens MP David Shoebridge quite aptly labelled him: “Parliamentary secretary for planning by day and a property ­developer by night.”


Greens MP David Shoebridge during the budget estimates. Picture: AAP

Greens MP David Shoebridge during the budget estimates. Picture: AAP

Asked if his 10 per cent share in a $70 million redevelopment was a gift Mr ­Sidoti declared: “I am ­offended that you would even suggest that a member of parliament would be ­gifted something.”

He called it a wild-goose chase and claimed he’d “over-disclosed”.

But within an hour of leaving the budget estimates hearing yesterday, cheeks flushed red, came news that confirmed what a train wreck his appearance was.

Gladys Berejiklian had no choice but to act and order an inquiry.

She might now be regretting not doing it sooner and saving her government the embarrassment of a performance worthy of political satire.

John Sidoti appearing before the Legislative Council budget estimates. Picture: AAP

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/john-sidotis-family-in-five-dock-property-spree-before-metro-annoucement/news-story/bae51020a5fbac7ee485b372bc898c55?type=recommended&position=3&overallPos=8&utm_source=DailyTelegraph&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

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