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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 keep your eye on the client list of Brisbane’s slickest lobbyist, Dandy Damian Power, aka the Branch Stacker, because wherever there’s cash that faithless fella’s all over it like flies to the carcass of a freshly carked cow, so if you watch the maggots spawn you just can’t miss.
It was the Stacker’s ditching of old Hong Kong Tony that piqued our interest, particularly when we noticed that on the same day that the Branch Stacker gave poor old HKT the flick, he picked up a new casino client named Echo Entertainment, who are of course the mob that are trying to win the new Brisbane Casino licence and the billion plus dollars worth of hitherto heritage-protected government land down on the river between the Treasury Casino and QUT that goes with it.
Now sportsfans there’s a certain irony about the fact that our old mate the Branch Stacker has suddenly picked up Echo as a client, for the Chairman of the outfit is a joker named John O’Neill who coincidentally – or not – until recently used to be a Director of Tabcorp, another one of the Branch Stacker’s small but highly lucrative stable of clients.
O’Neill’s best known to most Australians as a sports administrator, and made his name as Charles in Charge of the Rugby World Cup in the year that Johnny Wilkinson drop-kicked us out of the Willy Webb Ellis in 03, but my old mate the Branch Stacker and I know him better as the father of a very nice chap named Chris that the pair of us worked with in the Brisbane City Council Call Centre way back in the 1990’s, when the trio of us were filling in time and wasting it while we waited to see where life took us.
Who the f*ck 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 a business arrangement 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. Coo-ee!
But no-one’s talking about their partners in the business consortium calling itself the 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.