Darwin mayor faces music over Vinnies fridge

Darwin Lord Mayor Peter Adamson is on trial this week over alleged misuse of council funds to buy a $900 fridge that he claimed to have donated to Vinnies but for which the Society said it had no record.

ABC PM reports that the Darwin Magistrates Court has set down five full days to decide whether the Lord Mayor misused council funds to buy a $900 fridge, and $1,800 worth of shopping vouchers.

Mr Adamson has pleaded not guilty to four charges of stealing, obtaining property by deception, intent to deceive and making a false statement.

The prosecution alleges that on 30 June last year the Lord Mayor asked his personal assistant how much money was left in an expense fund set aside for gifts and donations.

When told it was about two and a half thousand dollars, it is alleged he announced plans to go to Darwin's Casuarina Shopping Centre to buy some gift vouchers to use up the money by the end of the financial year.

Prosecutor Jack Karczewski told the court that same day Peter Adamson bought a $900, two-door, frost-free refrigerator on his personal card, and arranged to have it delivered the next day to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend.

At the same time, he said, the Lord Mayor bought $1,800 worth of gift vouchers for various stores.

It is alleged he then returned to the council offices, and gave the receipts to his assistant, asking her to arrange for him to be reimbursed.

But the prosecutor said, far from donating the goods to charity, Peter Adamson used the gifts himself.

And over several weeks most of the vouchers were used to buy shoes and clothing, jewellery, cosmetics, women's underwear, a punching bag and a Darth Vader voice changer, which apparently makes the user sound like the character from Star Wars.

Darwin City Council's Chief Executive Officer Alan McGill also gave evidence against him, saying it was him who called the police when the Lord Mayor was unable to account for the fridge or the vouchers.

He said the Lord Mayor had told him he had no recollection of where the vouchers had gone.

Mr McGill said the Lord Mayor rang him later to say he'd just delivered the fridge to another charity, not St Vincent de Paul.

The court was told police later searched the Lord Mayor's apartment and council office, where they found most of the other goods.

Mayor in court over fridge funds (PM, ABC, 21/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Peter Adamson (Darwin City Council)

Darwin Council calls in police over missing Vinnies gift allegations (CathNews, 3/11/06)

22 May 2007