ALP, aquis, berhad, branch stacker, brisbane, casino, cheng yu-tung, chow tai fook, damian power, david chiu, derek chiu, duncan chiu, echo entertainment, far east consortium, govstrat, history, hong kong tony, john o'neill, kwok wai chan, kwong siu lam, land and general, lobbyist, pansy ho, peter man kwok wong, pokie, queens wharf, rob borbidge, stanley ho, sumptious assets, tony fung
You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don’t know where the f*ck it’s gonna take you
Detective Lester Freamon
Follow the money, always follow the money. Finding it is easy – just watch the client list of Brisbane’s slickest lobbyist, Dandy Damian Power, aka the Branch Stacker, because wherever there’s cash, he’s all over it like flies to the carcass of a carked cow, so you just can’t miss.
It was the Stacker’s ditching of old Hong Kong Tony that piqued my interest, particularly when I noticed that on the same day that he gave poor old HKT the flick, he picked up a new casino client namned Echo Entertainment, the mob that’s trying to win the new Brisbane Casino licence, and a billion dollars worth of government land down on the river that goes with it. You know, the several blocks down George Street, between the Treasury Casino and QUT.
Now, there’s a certain irony in our old mate the Branch Stacker picking up Echo as a client, because the Chairman of the outfit is a bloke named John O’Neill; who coincidentally – or not – used to be the Director of Tabcorp, another Branch Stacker client.
O’Neill’s best known to most Australians as a sports administrator, and was the Charles in Charge when Johnny Wilkinson drop-kicked out us of the Rugby World Cup Final in 2003, but the Branch Stacker and I know him better as the father of Chris, a very nice bloke that the pair of us worked with at the Council back in the 90’s, when we were filling in time waiting to see where life took us. Who ever thought it would be here?
The Branch Stacker could almost be John’s son couldn’t he? He’s not – but our mutual mate Chris is.
Ain’t Brisbane a small town? Fancy hooking up with a company headed by your old mate’s dad, and copping a six figure annual sum for the pleasure. Life’s not too bloody bad when you’re a lobbyist is it? Unless of course you’ve got some tin-foil hat wearing mad bastard with a brain on your tail, publishing stories about your client and their consortium of ah, how do we say it, ah, persons of interest to various authorities around the hot spinning ball that we call the globe.
You see, we keep hearing about Echo Entertainment, don’t we? Echo this, echo that: there’s bloody Echo’s everywhere. But no-one’s talking about their partners in the business consortium calling itself Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC).
Which is a damn shame, because DBC is actually the mob trying to get hold of all the pokies, and the historic Brisbane land that goes with it; and let me assure you, there are plenty of great stories to tell about Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, and the Far East Consortium International, the other 2 outfits involved in the DBC bid.
I reckon people’d be interested to hear them, because after all this, whole thing’s a pretty bloody big deal, and we don’t want to be going and giving the farm away to just any Tom, Dick or Stanley do we? We want to know exactly who we’re dealing with, I’m sure; because it’s our bloody land, and our bloody history that we’re giving away here; and we want a good bunch of blokes and sheila’s to have it, not a herd of suspected crooks, alleged gangsters, convicted killers and just plain dodgy bastards.
So over the next couple of weeks or so, I’m going to tell you a few little stories that might raise the hair on the back of your necks. Keep you eye on the blog, watch out for the stories, and you just might learn a little something.
Talk to you soon.