Yass mayor Rowena Abbey remains in business with a confessed drug smuggler Rohan Arnold, despite she and her husband Brendan Abbey insisting for almost two years that they were cutting ties.
Arnold has pleaded guilty to conspiring to import cocaine, after the second largest cocaine seizure in Australia's history. He and associates were arrested in a dramatic police operation in Serbia almost two years ago, and in May he pleaded guilty.
Arnold was a partner of the Abbeys in their plans for a Hume Highway service station near Yass, but those shares are now entirely with Mr Abbey.
However, Arnold remains in business with Cr Abbey and her husband in the large livestock sale yards in Yass and Victoria. Mr Abbey has said previously that separating him from the South Eastern Livestock Exchange was "a legal process and it takes time to complete".
Arnold was removed as a director of the company in February, but this week remained the largest shareholder, with 45 per cent of the shares. The Abbeys are both directors of the company with five others. Cr Abbey owns one share in her own name. Her husband owns 16 per cent of the company.
Despite her business interest in the sale yards, including as a company director, Cr Abbey officially opened the yards in 2016, declaring in a statement, "It takes courage and vision to do what the directors of SELX have done. They had a dream, stood by their belief and today we stand in the reality of that dream."
A description of the sale yards on the Yass Council website says $164 million of stock was sold in its first year.
The Victoria South Eastern Livestock Exchange sale yards at Mortlake opened in January 2018, around the time of Arnold's arrest.
In May 2019, Mr Abbey was quoted as saying he had "people lined up to buy" Arnold's shares in the company.
On Thursday, he refused to answer questions on the matter, other than saying that nothing had changed, with processes still in train to buy Arnold out. He would not divulge further information, saying there was no public interest in the matter and he was over answering questions on it.
Cr Abbey said there was no story and she would make no comment on the record.
Arnold is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10 on charges of conspiring to import a commercial quantity of a controlled drug.