Antoniolli crashes bike in drive-thru days before CCC pounce
A RACING bike at the centre of fraud allegations against Andrew Antoniolli became part of an insurance claim after the former mayor crashed it into a drive-thru sign.
The QT can reveal Antoniolli lodged the insurance claim in early 2018, days before Crime and Corruption Commission investigators swooped.
Antoniolli is on trial in Ipswich Magistrates Court on 13 counts of fraud, including one attempted fraud.
He pleaded not guilty.
In an interview with CCC officers played to the court, Antoniolli said the $3200 Trek road bike was on the roof of his car when he drove into a low-clearance drive-thru.
The silver bike was later photographed by investigators in Antoniolli's council office.
"I no longer have it, it's now part of an insurance claim," he told the CCC during a five-hour interview.
"That photograph you've got there is probably the last day it existed. You'll see the frame is smashed.
"I had it on the roof of the car and I went through a drive-thru, forgetting it was on the roof."
How Antoniolli acquired the $3200 bike is disputed.
Prosecutors allege the bike was paid for using a voucher for the Yellow Jersey bike store Antoniolli acquired using council funds at an auction in May 2016.
The defence argues the bike was gifted by Troy Dobinson, the bike store owner, about six months after the auction.
Antoniolli used the council's Community Donations Policy to pay $5000 for a bike voucher at a ball for the Red and White Foundation at King George Square in May 2016.
Antoniolli said he never claimed the voucher.
"I said no I don't want it," the mayor told investigators.
"I didn't claim the bike... it's all about the money for the Red and White Foundation."
Antoniolli told the CCC his damaged Trek bike was a gift from Mr Dobinson and declared it was "not aligned" with the voucher.
The bike was gifted on the provision it remained owned by Mr Dobinson, but became Antoniolli's when the Yellow Jersey store closed, he said.
In evidence later provided to the court, Mr Dobinson said he did not gift Antoniolli the bike but could not definitely say whether it was linked to the voucher purchased earlier.
CCC investigators told Antoniolli the timing was "very coincidental".
"A $5000 auction item was purchased by the council that the council doesn't get and suddenly, six months later... you wind up with a bike," investigator Adam Edwards said.
The trial continues Monday.