Flamboyant former deputy mayor of Auburn is being investigated over allegations council planning decisions benefited him and his family members
Auburn’s flamboyant former deputy mayor Salim Mehajer has put his wedding video in the same category as films like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now at an inquiry into alleged controversial council decisions.
The Auburn City Council Public Inquiry is investigating allegations some councillors, including Mehajer, made planning and development decisions that benefited themselves and family members before they were sacked in February.
Mehajer was on Friday asked about his August 2015 wedding which involved four helicopters and a cavalcade of sports cars.
The inquiry heard he made an application to have part of his Lidcombe Street closed for the purposes of making a “feature film” after doubts arose about whether roads could be blocked for a wedding.
Mehajer, who is also a property developer, maintained the re-categorisation was justified and offered to show the 45-second trailer to the inquiry.
“A feature film is The Godfather isn’t it, Apocalypse Now?,” counsel assisting the commissioner Paul Bolster said.
“I got my very own feature film, I guess,” Mehajer said with a smile.
The inquiry has previously heard former deputy general manager of the council, Hamish McNulty thought only one helicopter was going to be involved in the wedding until the night before the extravagant celebration.
But Mehajer said he always intended to have more than one and would have included more if logistics allowed.
“Four [helicopters] was limited to the space we had,” he said.
Mehajer, who denied knowing there had been an issue with the number of helicopters used in his wedding, did not answer journalists’ questions as he left the inquiry and got into a Porsche.
On the stand, he denied lobbying a councillor to change his mind about returning half of a $650,000 deposit his company had put on a council-owned car park.
He also denied a decision before he was a councillor not to extend a time limit he needed to secure the contract made him decide to run in the election.
Both the deposit refund and extension of time were granted while Mehajer was in council.
McNulty has said the council originally understood Mehajer wanted to have a helicopter land on a street but was given advice that would not be approved.
The inquiry is expected to continue next month.