Long-running Manningham council dispute settled

A three-year defamation dispute between former Manningham councillor David Ellis and a Chinese welfare organisation has been settled.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Ellis and former councillor Stephen Mayne were sued by the Chinese Community Social Services Centre Inc (CCSSCI) over comments they made to the media in 2010.

The pair criticised the CCSSCI for submitting expansion plans for Donvale’s On Luck Nursing Home directly to the state government without properly consulting the Manningham Council.

It prompted CCSSCI to take legal action against the pair.

Manningham council chief executive Joe Carbone confirmed that the matter between Mr Ellis and the CCSSCI had reached a confidential settlement ‘‘earlier this year’’.

“The council’s insurer took carriage of the matter. The total cost to council was the insurance policy deductible (excess) of $5000,” Mr Carbone said.

Mr Ellis, who served as a Mullum Mullum ward councillor between 2008 and 2012, told TWR: “I haven’t had to pay anything or make any apology”.

Mr Mayne settled out of court in December 2011, and part of the settlement was to apologise “for any damage caused to CCSSCI’s reputation”.

The controversy surrounding the 120-bed expansion of the nursing home divided the former group of Manningham councillors.

In 2010, a councillor conduct panel found former councillor Fred Chuah guilty of misconduct over his dealings with the centre.

While on council, Mr Chuah also served as the CCSSCI chairman and was married to the CCSSCI chief executive.

The conduct panel found Mr Chuah deceived and misled the council about the remuneration he received from CCSSCI and failed to notify the council of On Luck’s development plans when he was obligated to do.

The panel called for Mr Chuah to apologise, but he resigned from the council a week later, citing health reasons.

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