A vet bill was submitted as evidence: Marie Ficarra and her miniature schnauzer Liesel. Photo: John Veage
Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos and former party fund-raiser Paul Nicolaou were asked for former premier Barry O'Farrell's home address to deliver the $3000 bottle of wine that ended his career, a corruption inquiry has heard.
Former Australian Water Holdings chief executive Nick Di Girolamo, the man who sent the bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, was asked at the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Friday if he had discussed the gift with the Liberal heavyweights.
"ICAC has obtained some information that AWH didn't have the home address for the then premier and that that address had to be sought both from Mr Sinodinos and Mr Nicolaou," junior counsel assisting the inquiry, Greg O'Mahoney said.
Sent former premier Barry O'Farrell a $3000 bottle of wine: Nick Di Girolamo. Photo: Sasha Wooley
Asked if he had had "any conversations" with Senator Sinodinos, then the chairman of AWH, or Mr Nicolaou, the NSW Liberal Party's former chief fund-raiser and lobbyist to the company about the wine, Mr Di Girolamo said he didn't "believe so" and he did not recall.
The ICAC is investigating allegations that Australian Water made regular payments totalling $183,000 to Eightbyfive, a "sham company" set up by an adviser to former energy minister Chris Hartcher in return for favourable treatment. The money was paid between 2009 and 2011, before the state election.
A series of emails between Mr Sinodinos in his capacity as AWH chairman and Mr O'Farrell's chief of staff Peter McConnell show that Mr O'Farrell's office was eager in 2010 to do whatever they could to support AWH's dreams of getting a billion-dollar private-public partnership with the state government.
Mr McConnell denied the Opposition Leader's office was "moving to the rhythm of Mr Di Girolamo's drum".
Mr McConnell said he was unaware that Mr Di Girolamo gave the Grange to Mr O'Farrell.
"You don't know what happened to it?" Mr Watson asked. "Have you heard any whispers, has it gone out on the black market or something or been put on eBay?"
"I don't indulge in gossip around this, it's actually a pretty sensitive subject," Mr McConnell said.
In earlier evidence a vet’s bill for blood tests and flea treatment for a dog was tendered as an exhibit by the legal team of Upper House MP Marie Ficarra.
Ms Ficarra, who has temporarily resigned from the parliamentary Liberal Party, used the record of the treatment of her miniature schnauzer Liesel to prove that she was telling the truth about having to rush off from a meeting with developer Tony Merhi.
The inquiry has heard that just before the March 2011 election Ms Ficarra suggested to wealthy developer Mr Merhi that he should donate $5000 to Eightbyfive.
Ms Ficarra claimed she knew Mr Merhi was a prohibited donor and was only suggesting he could ask “non-prohibited donors” to support the Young Liberals “flying squad” and to call Charles Perrottet, the younger brother of NSW minister Dominic Perrottet.
Charles Perrottet, a former staffer with Mr Hartcher and a friend of Tim Koelma, has told the inquiry he didn’t recall the conversation with Ms Ficarra and he did not speak with Mr Merhi.