| 16.7°C Dublin

Corrupt ex-FG councillor faces up to 10 years in jail

A FORMER Fine Gael deputy mayor is facing up to 10 years in jail after being found guilty of receiving corrupt payments.

Forsey (43) cried and leaned on his mistress for support as the jury replied "guilty" to all six counts of receiving corrupt payments totalling €80,000 from a property developer.

The former Fine Gael deputy mayor now has five days on bail to contemplate his future -- which could be behind bars.

He left the court accompanied by his fiancee Karen Morrissey, 17 years his junior.

His ex-wife Jenny Forsey (42) was not in court.

The former couple's dirty linen was aired in public as the inner secrets of the former councillor's crooked dealings were revealed.

The court heard about the political corruption, private deceit and a very public brawl.

Ms Forsey weaved a gripping tale worthy of a soap opera -- sexual betrayal, a misdirected text, a marital split and financial woes as her ex-husband's lover sat mere feet away.

The full realisation of the judgment hit Forsey in the courtroom yesterday as the judgment was read out.

He gasped audibly and was hushed and helped from the courtroom to a nearby consultation room by his partner.

"It'll be okay," Ms Morrissey told her partner as she tried to calm his cries.

The jury yesterday disagreed with Forsey's claims that the monies were simply lent to him by a developer in 2006 while he was a Dungarven town councillor and found they were corruptly received.

Forsey, of Coolagh Road, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, had denied taking the funds as an "inducement" to support a rezoning of farmland outside of the town.

The trial heard if the land had been rezoned to industrial/ residential, its value stood to increase up to ten-fold.

TD John Deasy (FG) gave evidence that it was his view that the aim was to "inflate" the price of land -- and not to create jobs for Dungarvan.

The jury's verdict was unanimous and came after two-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

The jury heard evidence of how he met the developer, whom he only knew to salute, in The Moorings pub in Dungarvan in the summer of 2006.

They had a brief conversation and during the walk home from the pub, Jenny Forsey said she asked her husband what they had discussed.



sordid

She told the court Forsey said he wanted to "get in with" the developer but she wasn't sure what he meant.

Then on August 22, 2006, she said her husband told her the developer had lodged €30,000 into his bank account, but it later emerged that he had been given €60,000.

The father-of-three surprised his family with a no-expenses spared trip to Rome, where they saw the Pope.

But shortly after their return, their marriage fell apart. Mr Forsey had been having a relationship with Karen Morrissey, aged just 20 at the time.

He received further monies from the developer on October 10, 2006, and a third and final payment on December 22, 2006.

The "sordid tale" of sex, lies and corruption was ultimately unravelled when Forsey accidentally sent a text meant for his lover to his daughter.

The jury had been urged by Forsey's defence to treat his ex-wife's evidence with caution as "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

Forsey accepted he got the money throughout the case, but denied it was a gift or bribe.

However, the court was told that to this day, he has not paid back a cent of the €80,000 he received from the developer.

He argued he had no say in rezoning land as he was only a town councillor, however, the trial heard evidence of him lobbying other councillors to support the rezoning.

The trial also heard how councillors -- despite an ongoing garda investigation, a direction order from the then environment minister John Gormley not to rezone the land and overwhelming objections from council staff -- went ahead and rezoned it anyway in 2008.

That decision was later reversed by Mr Gormley.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy