Star Scandal Takes Another Scalp

The scandal surrounding the Feb. 2 sacking of Sydney Star casino managing director Sid Vaikunta has reached the office of New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell.

His senior media adviser, Peter Grimshaw, stood down without pay during an investigation into a possible breach of the code of conduct.

He’s said to have forwarded a confidential email from the Premier’s office to his partner, at the time the human resources manager at Star.

The woman was one of two who complained of sexual harassment by Vaikunta. Grimshaw was Star’s media and government relations director before joining the premier’s office last March.

Emails and text messages between Grimshaw, his partner and Norm Lipson – an adviser to the Hospitality Minister George Souris – were leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald. In one Nov. 23 exchange, Grimshaw anticipated the release of the statutory five-year review of the casino, saying, “I hope … you get rid of Mr Nasty (Vaikunta).”’

His partner replied, “’It rests with u … I hate this place. Pls fix it.”’

The NSW Opposition demanded Grimshaw explain how, in another email exchange, he had access to a copy of the review a day before minister Souris received it from authorities.

It also wants it investigated if Grimshaw and Lipson used their positions to influence statutory investigations involving Star through last December.