Businessman to help pay Pisasale’s legal bills

IPSWICH'S jailed former mayor Paul Pisasale will fight to overturn his extortion conviction.

And help covering his mounting legal bills has not disappeared in the wake of jurors finding him guilty, with one successful businessman, Lev Mizikovsky saying he was standing by his friend.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Pisasale, 67, has lodged a Supreme Court appeal of his conviction on two counts of extortion in July, which landed him behind bars for 12 months.

Mr Mizikovsky, who founded home builder Tamawood and owns land in Ipswich, said he was "happy" to continue helping with the ex-mayor's legal bills as Pisasale faces multiple other charges.

The Courier-Mail first revealed last October that Mr Mizikovsky had paid some legal bills for Pisasale.

Mr Mizikovsky has now told the newspaper he remained one of a "significant number" of people who felt strongly enough to contribute.

He did not specify how much he had spent on Pisasale's defence, but described it as "modest."

The straight-talking businessman dismissed Pisasale's extortion conviction as "just rubbish."

Pisasale was found guilty of threatening the ex-lover of a Chinese-born escort the then-mayor had met for a massage and sex, demanding the man pay her up to $10,000 for leaving her jilted.

"He tried to help a poor woman," Mr Mizikovsky said. "That's just sad."

Mr Mizikovsky credited Pisasale with cutting crime and boosting services, sending property values soaring.

Lev Mizikovsky of Tamawood is helping former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale pay his legal fees.
Lev Mizikovsky of Tamawood is helping former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale pay his legal fees.

"(Pisasale) did do a lot of good things. He worked really hard. Obviously a lot of people benefited and I was one of them. He just (did) so much to promote the place."

Mr Mizikovsky's links to Pisasale once included a stockmarket listed Perth-based sunscreen maker he owned a 30 per cent share. The then-mayor held an $80,000-a-year director job in the company.

The pair denied any conflict of interest at the time, but Pisasale resigned months after the job was revealed by The Courier-Mail in 2015, citing his political workload.

Mr Mizikovosky has maintained all his dealings with Pisasale were appropriate and has previously stated Pisasale had "never, ever done anything for me."

Pisasale's will argue in his appeal that there was an error in the way jurors were directed in relation to the "honest claim of right" defence.

His co-accused, escort Yutian Li and solicitor Cameron McKenzie, have also appealed their extortion convictions.

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