‘No recall’: nephew asked of job offer

The nephew of former University of New England (UNE) chancellor John Cassidy has told a corruption inquiry he can’t recall asking a friend to be the manager of a pub bought by his uncle’s business partner.

Shaun Cassidy told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) he could not recall his uncle telling him he had an interest in the Tattersalls Hotel in Armidale.

Shaun Cassidy, a winemaker at a vineyard owned by his uncle, told the ICAC he “didn’t have a clear recollection” of John Cassidy asking him if he knew of anyone who could be manager of the Tattersalls Hotel.

It “could be a possibility”, Shaun Cassidy said, that his uncle asked him about potential candidates for the job and that he suggested a friend from rugby, Phillip Franklin. 

The former chancellor’s nephew said he didn’t recall attending a meeting in Armidale in December 2005 with Mr Franklin, John Cassidy and Darrell Hendry – John Cassidy’s business partner.

Asked by counsel assisting the commission Anna Mitchelmore whether he had set up a meeting with Mr Franklin on his uncle’s behalf, Shaun Cassidy said he did not recall, but it could be a possibility.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Franklin gave evidence that Shaun Cassidy called him to ask if he was interested in a job as manager of the Tattersalls, which had just been bought by Mr Hendry.

Mr Franklin said he attended a meeting at an Armidale cafe the same day, where Mr Hendry and John Cassidy asked him questions, then offered him the job. 

“Darrell Hendry was there, John Cassidy was there and Shaun was there,” Mr Franklin said. 

Mr Franklin worked as manager of the Tattersalls for 18 months from February 2006.

Commissioner Megan Latham asked Shaun Cassidy whether listening to the evidence had helped his recollection.

“Has none of that evidence, particularly from Mr Franklin, jogged your memory in relation to this meeting that took place with your uncle, Mr Hendry and Mr Franklin?” Ms Latham asked. 

Shaun Cassidy replied: “It hasn’t, commissioner.”

John Cassidy is facing allegations he used confidential information, obtained in his role as UNE chancellor, to help Mr Hendry win a tender for the pub, and hid his own role as a partner in the purchase.

The former chancellor had told the university he had no continuing relationship with Mr Hendry when the bid was lodged, the inquiry has heard.

The hearing continues.

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