THE bitter rivalry between two Stirling councillors is shaping as crucial in the race to determine the next mayor of Perth’s biggest council.
Former mayor Giovanni Italiano, the man behind Scarborough’s $23 million beachside pool, does not want mayoral aspirant Adam Spagnolo to re-ascend to the throne he held ¬before a public fall from grace in 2006.
Cr Spagnolo, who says he is “eternally grateful’ to the community for re-electing him as a councillor two years ago, made his view of Cr Italiano clear in 2017 when his vote helped elect incumbent mayor and fellow mayoral candidate Mark Irwin.
As revealed by the Times last month, Cr Spagnolo was the first to proliferate the City with election signs.
Since then, Cr Spagnolo and Cr Italiano, whose term as a councillor expires at this October’s election, have both complained to the Times of signs going missing.
The two Osborne ward councillors also stand ready to defend their reputation and record.
Cr Spagnolo’s name was removed from the Osborne Library in 2006 at the height of his brush with the Corruption and Crime Commission.
It followed a magistrate fining him $27,000 for Stirling electoral breaches – money he said he was now entitled to recoup from the State – and came before all four CCC charges against him were dropped in relation to when he was employed at the City of Bayswater.
“It was later found (in 2016) by former Chief Justice Wayne Martin in the Court of Appeal that all charges preferred by the CCC were deemed unlawful and therefore invalid,” he said.
“I see this as a complete exoneration.”
Cr Italiano, who said he had “the runs on the board as mayor of Stirling” after serving for four years, had to contend with a smear campaign in 2016 when a photo was sent anonymously to the Times and The West Australian of him holidaying with murdered drug dealer Frank La Rosa.
In a statement at the time, he said he had never denied his childhood friendship with La Rosa in Osborne Park and nor |had he ever condoned or sought to excuse his behaviour.
“It was done to discredit me on council and it didn’t work,” he said this week.
Cr Spagnolo said if he had not been eligible to stand for council, “he wouldn’t have been elected” two years ago.
“The community reinstated me (in Osborne ward) and I was eternally grateful to them,” he said.
Cr Spagnolo said as mayor he wanted to help “put the community back in charge, not the bureaucrats”.
Nominations for the mayoral election close today. Councillors Elizabeth Re and David Lagan have indicated they will run along with Mayor Irwin.