Thursday 22 February 2018

€1,500 donor urges senator to 'help clear up' expenses

Fiach Kelly and Shane Phelan

THE businessman son of a director of the company at the centre of the alleged forged invoices controversy has urged Senator Ivor Callely to clear up the affair.

Kevin Baxter, who donated €1,500 to Mr Callely for a golf fundraiser in 2005, last night told the Irish Independent that the Dublin North-Central politician should make a statement and help repair the damage done to the reputation of both his business and his father's business.

Mr Baxter also said he was "naturally" suspicious of the claims surrounding Mr Callely.

It is alleged the senator used forged invoices from Business Communications, a company which Mr Baxter's father James was a director in, to claim almost €3,000 in mobile phone expenses from the Oireachtas.

The invoices date from 2002 to 2006, even though the company went bust in 1994.

"I'm naturally, like any taxpayer, suspicious of anything like that," Mr Baxter said.

But he said he had no idea where Mr Callely would have gotten the invoices.

He said that "nothing really added up on the dates and pound signs" on the alleged forged invoices submitted by Mr Callely.

"Like everyone else, I'm in the same boat. I'm a bit puzzled myself about how this came about," he added.

"That headed paper is legit. From what I can remember, it looked like it is anyway.

"Everything was correct on it: the name, the phone numbers. Everything is correct on it from my point of view. It does look correct."

Mr Baxter -- who gave Mr Callely a donation towards a fundraiser in the K Club in 2005 -- said he did not know the politician personally but had decided to go to the fundraiser on foot of a leaflet drop.

He initially said he could not remember making the payment and had no record of it.


But last night he said he issued the donation using a cheque from his communications technology company, even though it was listed by Mr Callely as an individual contribution.

"Well, it wasn't through myself personally," Mr Baxter said.

"It was through the company I own actually. I can clarify we wrote a company cheque.

"I'll be honest with you, we do about half a dozen golf outings every year.

"And in those days you would have been doing around five or six a year.

"It's only when I read (about) the golf classic that I said I'd go back on record and clarify it."

"It was leaftlets. Basically, it's on a mailing list. We got a mail about it.

"It was in the K Club and it was the last chance we would have got to play it before the Ryder Cup arrived. It was good value, it was a meal for four people. It was good value for what we got."

When asked if he knew Mr Callely, Mr Baxter said: "I didn't know him, I knew of him from the area when I used to be based in Fairview. I wouldn't know him as a personal friend or anything, no."

And he said he would like Mr Callely to make a statement and clear up the issue.

"I'd just like it all to be cleared up, basically, and moved on.

"It's something that we all got tangled up in that I'd like to get moved on.

"I've a business to run in a hard kind of time.

"I don't like being dragged through the whole lot. I'm just trying to move on and get a hard day's work done."

Irish Independent

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