March 19, 2007 | Graham

Santoro – from Kleen Kut to Klose Shave

Bruce Flegg, Parliamentary Leader of the Queensland Liberal Party, obviously believes that there is a larger dimension to the Santoro scandal. “However, what’s been revealed subsequently was no oversight and I think it needs to be investigated further,” he told ABC Radio.
In other words – you don’t forget to declare these sorts of things, so there must have been a reason.
Is it something to do with Santo Santoro Enterprises? Just how big is it? Who administers it? How much of the Senator’s time does it take? What other entities or people is it connected to?
Santo can help on one count by detailing the number and value of his share trades. He might as well put them on the public record, as it should be possible to work it out from what is on the public record already. He can either tell us all now and have some control over the agenda, or wait for a journalist to trawl through the company registers and tell us in a few days time. After his press conference last week Santoro should have learnt that it’s better to give exact and accurate anwers up front rather than vague and inaccurate ones in instalments.
Then he needs to throw open the accounts to his campaign funds, and if he won’t the party should do it for him. For at least the last 12 years Santoro has had access to such substantial funds that he has been able to run a parallel campaign to the official ones being run by the party. If you’re one of “his” candidates he can help out with money. And being one of “his” candidates means following his directions rather than the central campaign ones.
Given the funds that appear to be at the senator’s disposal it seems likely that some of those are also invested in the share market. Is there any overlap in the shares held by these different entities?
He also needs to reveal what other interests, declared or otherwise, he might have in private companies. On my experience I’m pretty sure that there would be some.
I well remember some 30 or so years ago when we were both in Young Liberals and I had established a small gardening business being summoned to an evening meeting with Santoro in an office in The Young Liberal centre. At that stage Santoro was selling advertising space for Yellow Pages, but he had ambitions. He suggested to me that I should set up my gardening business as a franchise and call it “Kleen Kut” or something “memorable” like that.
The key to “our” strategy would be advertising in Yellow Pages. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the use of the royal plural. Santo proposed that in exchange for this simple and unoriginal idea he should have a substantial shareholding in my business. Not only that, but if I used the franchise idea without including him there would be undisclosed retribution.
I did buy some advertising space from him, but the company was named Arcadia Lawn and Garden, it was never a franchisor and Santoro was never a shareholder, but I’d be surprised if I was the only person he ever tried that one on.
The story also says something about the Santoro methodology. There’s the conflicts of interests. Employed to sell advertising space he’s trying to parlay his employer’s time and product into shareholdings in particular customers. And he’s using an office provided by the Young Liberal movement as the base to further his business interests. Then there’s the standover tactic, and the greed.
These are the types of methods that Santoro has used to control the Queensland Liberal Party, on and off, for most of the last 24 years. Flegg and others have obviously decided this is their opportunity to use Santoro’s close shave to do something about it. I hope they manage to cleanly cut him away.

Posted by Graham at 8:47 am | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. Yay for politics and sleazebags!

    Comment by Benno — March 20, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

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