Moreton Bay Regional Councillor, Darren Grimwade attracted the attention of multiple Moreton Bay Region residents, when he updated a Facebook page to reflect that he is a real estate Principal and Licensee.
The update appeared to have been done by Cr Grimwade, while he was supposedly in a Moreton Bay Regional Council Workshop Meeting.
According to Australian Business Register and Australian Securities and Investment Commission records, the Grimwade Property Group business name was registered on Friday, 16 November 2018.
The registered principal place of business is 1162 Oakey Flat Rd, Narangba Queensland 4504.
Subsequently, Cr Grimwade submitted a Moreton Bay Regional Council Register of Interest form, also known as a Form 2 – Register of Interest of a Councillor and their Related Persons, signed by Cr Grimwade on Monday, 14 January 2019.
Contained within this form under the heading ‘Shareholdings or controlling interests in corporations’, Cr Grimwade lists ‘Carpe Diem (Latin for “seize the day” with a Google definition of: “used to urge someone to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future.”) Management Pty Ltd’.
Further, Cr Grimwade discloses that he is a ‘Director and Secretary’ of this entity.
Under the heading ‘Beneficial interests in trusts or nominee corporations’, Cr Grimwade lists ‘Grimwade Family Trust’ with the nature of interest being ‘Principal and Beneficiary of Trust’.
Under the heading ‘Other sources of income more than $500 a year’, Cr Grimwade lists ‘Grimwade Family Trust’ and ‘Grimwade Property Group’.
A Principal and Licensee of another real estate business in the Moreton Bay Region expressed concern that Cr Grimwade has an unfair real estate advantage, being privy to confidential information as a councillor.
“Surely there has to be a real conflict of interest,” the real estate source said.
Another Moreton Bay Region resident confronted Cr Grimwade head on in a Facebook Messenger conversation.
“So posting on Facebook in Council time is acceptable?” the resident wrote.
“Taking calls for your real estate business whilst working for council is acceptable?
“I think not!!” the resident concluded.
In the conversation, Cr Grimwade made the point: “My family own a real estate agency that I am a director of… my career before local government was in real estate.”
A short time after this exchange, the Facebook page in question appeared to have been taken down.
Also, recently Cr Grimwade was questioned by yet another resident in relation to a real estate/property matter.
Jamie Paul Brauer wrote on Facebook: “Darren Grimwade it’s not that difficult to discuss planning decisions.
“What was the basis for the decision given the number of service stations already on Anzac Avenue or within a 5 minute drive of same.
“And what was the basis for putting one next to a community owned and operated service station.
“How does that ‘work for the community’ when it’s likely to put members of your community out of business?”
In Cr Grimwade’s response, he wrote: “Council does not assess whether an independent business is viable when competing against other local businesses.”
However, a source from within the Moreton Bay Regional Council said that while Cr Grimwade’s comment wasn’t entirely incorrect, every development needs to do a needs assessment.
Council then assess whether the needs assessment information submitted is correct.
In response to Cr Grimwade’s position, Mr Brauer wrote: “He’s (Cr Grimwade) best not (to) campaign on that platform when his time comes.”
This Facebook exchange appears to have since been removed from the platform.
Cr Grimwade isn’t new to controversy, in 2014 it was reported that Darren Grimwade, a backbench State LNP Member of Parliament at the time, said he worked harder than “any of the other MPs” in Queensland.
Mr Grimwade made the claim while defending spending more on travel in the first half of that year than any other south-east Queensland backbencher, saying the higher travel expenses were a sign he was doing more.
Mr Grimwade claimed $8854 of his General Travel Allocation on airfares, car hire, taxis and his Daily Travel Allowance, outstripping the claims of all but a handful of MPs based in outback Queensland.