Decision to back Barangaroo casino masterminded by Grimshaw
In a shocking new development, it has been revealed today that Barry O'Farrell's decision to back James Packer's Barangaroo casino proposal was masterminded by Peter Grimshaw – the man at the centre of The Star casino scandal.
Under intense questioning by the NSW Opposition in Parliament today, the Premier was forced to admit that his now disgraced former Communications Director helped draft the Premier's statement in support of the Barangaroo proposal – to the detriment of The Star casino.
"With James Packer's casino proposal, Mr O'Farrell and Mr Grimshaw finally got their chance to 'smash The Star'," said Opposition Leader, John Robertson.
The revelations follow embarrassing denials by the Premier today where he tried to claim that he didn't tell Peter Grimshaw he was going to 'smash The Star' because he doesn't use that word – a claim that was quickly shown to be false.
"The Premier can't spin his way out of this one. Text message evidence tendered before the Furness Inquiry this week proves that Barry O'Farrell told Peter Grimshaw he would 'smash The Star' back in 2010," said Mr Robertson.
"We will never get to the bottom of this mess unless Barry O'Farrell appears before the Furness Inquiry and is forced to give evidence under oath.
"If the Premier isn't called, there is a very real risk that the Independent Liquor Gaming Authority Inquiry will be seen as a white-wash.
"Barry O'Farrell was complicit in Peter Grimshaw's campaign against his former employer The Star casino – and Premier's backing of the Packer casino proposal proves it.
"If the Premier was prepared to go out on a limb to back a controversial proposal for a new casino development – how can we be sure he didn't play a part in Peter Grimshaw's vendetta against The Star in other ways?"
When James Packer announced plans for a new hotel and casino at Barangaroo the Premier welcomed it enthusiastically. Barry O'Farrell told the Daily Telegraph on February 27, 2012:
"I think it's an exciting new proposal which could add extra life to Barangaroo, give Sydney another world class hotel, generate jobs and boost tourism."
Mr O'Farrell's support for the Barangaroo proposal was a major blow for The Star casino – which is facing a takeover bid by James Packer's Crown. According to evidence revealed at the Independent Liquor Gaming Authority public hearings this week, Mr Grimshaw told his partner in a text message on August 21, 2010:
"I just told Barry what a dick Sid is. He said we might all have to give Star a wake up call when I leave."
Then on November 8, 2010 Mr Grimshaw told his partner in a text:
"Barry just texted me…. I think they are going to smash Star."
Tags: Barangaroo, Barry O'Farrell, gaming, John Robertson, Peter Grimshaw, Star Casino