Donna Gates' donor row: 'I wouldn't sell my soul for $1m'
DEFIANT Gold Coast deputy mayor Donna Gates broke down in tears last night defending her integrity and the council's over developer donations, saying she wouldn't sell her soul for a "million dollars".
Gold Coast Bulletin coverage after the 2016 election sparked a Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) probe into "financial campaign activity" leading up to the poll.
Ms Gates was among councillors grilled at the hearings, quizzed on her declaration of $174,000 in campaign donations with about $80,000 from property developers.
Developer donations and potential councillor conflicts remain in the spotlight after ABC investigative show Four Corners last night focused on Gold Coast City Council development links.
In an exclusive interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin yesterday, an emotional Cr Gates defended voting in favour of development applications linked to her campaign donors nearly 30 times since the election.
In each case, she says she acknowledged any potential or perceived conflicts of interest as required under the Local Government Act.
"There are ways and means not to be transparent. I have not done that. I have been open about the people who have supported me, I've complied and in doing so I'm now under attack," she said.
Veteran Cr Bob La Castra called for a Local Government Act overhaul to outlaw councillors voting on projects associated with campaign donors.
But Cr Gates said she would not support that.
"I don't agree we should be going for the density and lot sizes we have and by understanding and participating I can better represent my community by being in the room than being outside it," she said.