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ICAC finds former chancellor University of New England corrupt

Thursday 30 October 2014

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that John Cassidy, former chancellor of the University New England (UNE) engaged in corrupt conduct in connection with the sale of the Tattersalls Hotel in Armidale to his friend and business partner Darrell Hendry.

In its report on the Investigation into the conduct of John Cassidy, then chancellor of the University of New England, in relation to the sale of the Tattersalls Hotel, released today, the Commission finds that Mr Cassidy engaged in corrupt conduct by misusing confidential information which he acquired by reason of his position as chancellor of UNE, to gain advantage for Mr Hendry by informing Mr Hendry that the purchase of the Tattersalls Hotel would be a good investment that Mr Hendry should consider making.

Mr Cassidy failed to disclose to both the UNE Council Standing Committee and the UNE Council that he had a "material interest" in discussions concerning the sale of the hotel that appeared to raise a conflict with the proper performance of his duties because he knew that Mr Hendry, his business partner and friend, was interested in purchasing the hotel.

He also failed to disclose to the director of Services UNE Ltd (which was considering Mr Hendry's tender for the purchase of the hotel), the full nature of his relationship with Mr Hendry.

Mr Cassidy was found to have provided misleading information to the UNE Audit and Compliance Committee which concerned his role in the decision to sell the Tattersalls Hotel, the true nature of his relationship with Mr Hendry, when Mr Hendry invited him to become a partner in the hotel, and when he decided to become a partner in the hotel.

As Mr Cassidy's conduct involved disciplinary matters rather than criminal offences, it is not necessary for the Commission to consider obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to his prosecution for any criminal offence. As Mr Cassidy is no longer chancellor of UNE, it is not necessary for the Commission to consider whether any disciplinary action should be taken against him or any other action should be taken with a view to his dismissal.

The Commission did not consider it necessary to make any corruption prevention recommendations as the investigation did not raise any systemic issues.

The ICAC held a public inquiry as part of the investigation over five days commencing on 21 July 2014. The Hon Megan Latham, Commissioner, presided at the inquiry, at which 19 witnesses gave evidence. The report is available on the ICAC website at www.icac.nsw.gov.au.

Media contact: ICAC Acting Manager Media, Sue Bolton, 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801.

Investigation report   Fact sheet