24 August, 2016. 14:20
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
A young Liberal who is managing Christine Forster’s campaign to become Sydney’s next Lord Mayor had to repay almost $14,000 to his former charity employer after it was discovered he had blown the money on personal expenses through the organisation’s credit card.
Mitchell Price, who is also a senior adviser to Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith MP, used a corporate credit card to purchase $13,816 worth of off-the-rack Tarocash suits while employed as an executive assistant to the CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras from November 2013 to April 2015.
Speaking to The Advocate today, Mr Price said the irresponsible use of charity funding was a result of peer-pressure from his Young Liberal colleagues.
“It’s hard to work for an LGBTI charity and be a devout Young Liberal at the same time,”
“There was a lot of pressure on me to adhere to their party policies, so I did the wrong thing,”
“I spent close to $14,000 on Tarocash menswear,”
Under Section 14.D of the NSW Young Liberal membership guidelines, ‘all party members must own at least 3-4 Tarocash suits’. This is, as the handbook states ‘the unofficial dress code of the Young Liberals’ – as the twenty-something law graduates look to impress their parents by pretending they go to work each day.
Price says, as a former employee of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the fact that the suits were from Tarocash hurt him the most.
“It wasn’t even that the money wasn’t mine. It was the fact that I was buying off-the-rack suits just to fit in with my precocious peers,”
“Honestly, every time I put on one of those hideous fluoro ties, I feel like I’m with all the plebs in the Rosehill General Admission,”
“But I am not a dictator, the Liberal party is very diverse and I must tow the line when it comes to party policy.” he said.
Following the incident, the Mardi Gras board cancelled all corporate credit cards and replaced them with limited debit cards to restricted accounts, and cancelled all third party transport accounts.
The emergence of Mr Price’s fall-out with the Mardi Gras organisation has come during a period of bitter infighting among inner Sydney conservatives, even as Ms Forster is poised to mount a strong challenge to Town Hall titan Clover Moore.
Ms Forster and Mr Notley-Smith both rallied behind Mr Price on Tuesday, telling Fairfax Media they accepted his explanation that the misuse of corporate funds had been the result of a mistake.