Jonovski may run for council as independent

Kiril Jonovski could make a political comeback as an independent after he was cleared of misleading a corruption investigation into Wollongong City Council.The sacked councillor, who has maintained his innocence since the Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation began, was this week found not guilty of lying about his involvement in a meeting with developer Frank Vellar at the Flame Tree Cafe in 2006.Mr Jonovski said the verdict now opened the way for a future political career.”I’m not ruling anything out, I’ll leave the door open for anything,” he said, indicating he would likely run as an independent.After Wollongong City Council was sacked in the wake of the 2008 ICAC inquiry, NSW Labor officially expelled Mr Jonovski, along with former councillors Frank Gigliotti, Val Zanotto and Zeki Esen and council official Joe Scimone.Mr Jonovski welcomed Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell’s pledge this week to hold early council elections should the Liberals win power.“It’s the only way this city can progress, and the sooner we have the elections, the better.”ICAC Commissioner Jerrold Cripps’ final report handed down in October 2008 found Mr Jonovski had engaged in conduct that could constitute or involve corruptly soliciting a benefit.It recommended the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) pursue charges for the offence of corruptly soliciting a benefit from developer Frank Vellar in return for favouring Mr Vellar’s North Beach Bathers’ Pavilion redevelopment proposal, and the offences of making a false statement to, or providing misleading evidence to, the commission.The DPP chose only to pursue the latter two matters and on Thursday both of those charges against Mr Jonovski were dismissed.Mr Jonovski rejected suggestions his involvement in the corruption inquiry had soiled his electoral prospects.“I did my job (as a councillor), I was the people’s person,” he said.“If I decide to run, people will make up their own mind.”The 66-year-old said the protracted inquiry had caused untold personal damage.“Anything like this would take a toll on anyone. For no reason, my family name was tarnished,” Mr Jonovski said.“It’s not just tarnished me, it’s tarnished the town and the community for no reason.”Mr Jonovski said he had been the victim of a “witch-hunt”.
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