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TWEED Economic Development Corporation chief Tom Senti has angrily rejected accusations his organisation made a substantial donation towards the election campaign of pro-development councillors.

"The claims are a bloody disgrace," said Mr Senti, founding chairman of the council-funded TEDC and now its executive chairman.

"We are a totally independent company and the last thing we want is to be wrongly drawn into the controversy surrounding election donations."

Mr Senti was responding to claims in State Parliament by National Party MP for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, that TEDC raised $180,000 which was "ascribed to Tweed councillors".

Mr Fraser twice mentioned TEDC's alleged role in the funding furore during a wide-ranging attack on the government's move to set up a royal commission- style inquiry into the activities of the council.

He defended councillors who benefited from donations, saying they signed statutory declarations that the contributions were "apportioned to a campaign they knew nothing about".

Mr Fraser conceded that it might be better if future council election campaigns were funded from the public purse as a way of preventing developers from being involved.



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