Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano stays mum on photo scandal

The contentious photo with Mayor Giovanni Italiano (standing).
The contentious photo with Mayor Giovanni Italiano (standing).

STIRLING Mayor Giovanni Italiano says he won’t broach the leaked photographs controversy when he fronts tonight’s council meeting.

Stirling Times and other WA media received an anonymous letter and photographs last week of Mr Italiano holidaying with convicted heroin dealer Frank La Rosa and his murderer Frank Mikhail in 2007.

This morning, Cr Italiano said that he had said all he needed to on the issue and he would not make a statement at the meeting.

“I’ve made my statement; it was aired out on radio and to the papers on Saturday,” he said.

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“I know everyone is interested in the story but there is no story, there’s nothing there.

“No comment, end of story.”

A City of Stirling spokeswoman said the statement was all the mayor would be issuing on the matter.

“He has said all he has to say and nothing more to add, no further interviews will be given,” she said.

In the statement, Cr Italiano said he had never denied his friendship with Mr La Rosa and had not had any business dealings with him or his associates.

“The only story these pictures tell is that I made a choice not to disown a long-time childhood friend,” it read.

“That choice in no way implicates me in any wrongdoing nor does it in any way bring my integrity into question.”

Cr Italiano said he understood people serving in public office must accept scrutiny.

“…I do not accept that this scrutiny should be informed by baseless innuendo,” he said.

A nephew of Mr La Rosa also spoke out in defence of the mayor.

The Balcatta resident, who did not want to be named, told the Stirling Times the mayor had not been “mixed up” in any wrongdoing.

“Whatever my uncle was, Jon Giovanni wasn’t; he wasn’t mixed up in any wrongdoing, I can tell you that much,” he said.

Local Government Minister Paul Miles said the Government was “committed to strengthening the accountability, transparency and performance” of all WA local governments.

“It is vital that the council of the City of Stirling continues to provide strong leadership and provide good governance to the people of Stirling and that the community has a high degree of confidence in their decision-making,” he said.

“The West Australian community rightly has high expectations when it comes to the conduct of mayors, presidents and elected councillors.”