Top restaurant director a witness in Pisasale probe
ONE of Brisbane's best-known restaurant families has been drawn into the Paul Pisasale corruption probe.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Gambaro Seafood Restaurant's director John Gambaro is a witness in the Crime and Corruption Commission's Ipswich council probe.
Mr Gambaro alleges the then Ipswich mayor had meals at two of the family's high-end restaurants paid for by Melbourne developer Chris Pinzone, 36, who is defending a corruption charge.
The Courier-Mailis not suggesting the Gambaros were involved in any wrongdoing.
The CCC last month charged Pinzone over dealings involving his commercial development plans at Ipswich's Yamanto, relating to "hospitality" Pinzone allegedly gave Pisasale.
Pisasale and barrister friend Sam Di Carlo are also accused of corruption over the Yamanto plans. The trio have previously denied wrongdoing and are expected to fight the charges.
Mr Gambaro says he has known Pisasale for a decade and they had a "friendly" relationship. He said Pisasale had even been assigned his own special steak knife.
He alleges on three occasions in 2017, Pisasale dined at both the Caxton St seafood restaurant and award-winning Black Hide Steakhouse, with the bills then allocated to Pinzone, who Pisasale told him would set up an account.
"I do not recall the exact words but Paul informed me that a person called Chris Pinzone would pay for his meal and would open an account for future hospitality," he said in his CCC statement about the first meal in March 2017. "As a general summation, most times that Paul attended at Gambaros someone else would pay," Mr Gambaro claimed.
Pinzone never set up an account, however, Mr Gambaro alleged "a person whom I presume was Chris Pinzone personally attended the restaurant" on the night of the third meal, totalling $399.50. Mr Gambaro claims Pinzone paid $550 cash that night - the extra paying for the previous two unpaid bills from March.
A copy of one Gambaro's bill allegedly contains the handwritten notation: "Paul Passale A/C for Chris Penzone? Donny to open Monday (sic)." It came to $308 and included wine, prawn salads and a dozen oysters.
Mr Gambaro declined to comment to The Courier-Mail.
Pinzone criticised the CCC for "spending millions of dollars trying to prove that I shouted the mayor of Ipswich a couple of meals ... in order to look at my application as quickly as possible."