REVEALED: You're paying mayor, employees' legal costs
RATEPAYERS are footing the legal bill for embattled Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli as he defends charges of fraud and breaching bail.
The QT can reveal Cr Antoniolli, who stood aside as mayor of the city on May 4, will have his legal costs covered by Ipswich residents.
That ability comes thanks to the council's insurance policy, which covers employees and councillors facing criminal charges as a result of their council duties.
Seven charges of fraud levelled against Cr Antoliolli are understood to be related to memorabilia items purchased during his time as councillor for division seven.
He intends to fight the charges.
Ratepayers are also footing the bill for the mayor to defend allegations he breached bail conditions by speaking about his case with colleagues.
Cr Antoniolli would be required to repay the insurer for the costs if an adverse finding is delivered by the court.
A council spokesman said it was not directly involved in the transactions, so it "does not have visibility of the progressive accumulation of costs".
Council employees Mary Missen and Ben Hayward have also been charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
The legal fees for both are being covered by the council's insurance policy.
Ms Missen is facing 28 charges of falsifying records while Mr Hayward is charged with abuse of authority in office.
Ipswich Ratepayers Association president Jim Dodrill described the policy as "insulting".
"There's a very strong feeling out there in the Ipswich community that ratepayers should not be footing the bill for any of these people who have been charged," he said.
"To add insult to injury the council has announced they intend to put rates up.
The Ipswich City Council previously covered the legal costs of suspended chief executive officer Jim Lindsay and chief operating officer Craig Maudsley.
Both employees' coverage ended when they resigned from the council in January.
With the cost of defending five employees against CCC charges, Mr Dodrill predicted the council's insurance policy had been costly.
"I suspect the premiums have gone through the roof and the sad thing is it's the ratepayers that have to pay for it," he said.
"If it was legal fees for anything other than criminal allegations then there might be some sympathy for them."