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I was a walking ATM: Mayor

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Newcastle property baron Jeff McCloy says he handed out so much cash to MPs that he felt like a walking ATM.

Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell quit NSW parliament this week after corruption watchdog revelations that they were given $10,000 apiece by the now Newcastle mayor in the lead-up to the 2011 election.

Mr McCloy now says he also gave money to the member for Swansea, Garry Edwards.

Developers are barred from making political donations in NSW.

Giving evidence before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Thursday, Mr McCloy said he handed over cash to Mr Edwards in the lead-up to the 2011 state election.

“Apart from Mr Owen and Mr Cornwell, which other politicians did you give cash money to?” counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson asked.

“The guy from Swansea came to see me, Garry – he rang me – it was (on a) a Saturday, he came round to my home, whatever was in my wallet, 1500 bucks, raffle tickets or something. I gave him a few bob.”

A spokesman for the premier Mike Baird declined to comment on the allegations against Mr Edwards until the claims were further investigated by the watchdog.

Mr McCloy appeared relaxed in the witness box, quipping: “They all come to see me for money, I feel like a walking ATM, some days.”

When Mr Watson begged him to “put me out of my misery”, the witness told the commission he had given Mr Cornwell cash in an envelope – not a brown paper bag, as had been suggested previously.

He denied giving any money to embattled former NSW government ministers Michael Gallacher and Chris Hartcher, but said that he had a niggling suspicion he had given to the family of another Hunter politician, former environment minister Robyn Parker.

“Robyn Parker’s interesting because I can’t piece it together,” he said.

“I’ve had my staff look at all the local politicians, going through all the cheques that have gone to any politicians. It was only recently when they looked at Robyn and we couldn’t find anything.

“I have a nagging thing in the back of my head about some CDs for her husband. Was that so? I am not sure.”

Ms Parker was dumped from cabinet in the premier’s April reshuffle.

The inquiry continues.

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