A Perth panelbeater, who was central to a corruption scandal which cost police minister John D'Orazio his job, has been found guilty in the Federal Court of unfairly sacking an employee with incurable cancer.
Pasquale "Paz" Minniti has been ordered to pay spray painter John Bill almost $15,000 after Judge John Gilmour found the Bayswater businessman "lied", showed "flagrant self-interest" and was "insulting" to a man given about five years to live.
Minniti gained notoriety in 2006, when he was secretly filmed by the Corruption and Crime Commission meeting Mr D'Orazio. The CCC was investigating the "fixing" of speeding fines.
The Hi-Lite Smash Repairs boss and a police officer were later jailed and Mr D'Orazio, who died in 2011, was stripped of his ministerial portfolios and kicked out of the Labor Party.
In August last year, the Fair Work ombudsman prosecuted Minniti and his firm AJR Nominees after Mr Bill complained of verbal abuse and attempted coercion by his boss of 10 years.
Just before Christmas 2010, Mr Bill was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer and told the median prognosis was five years. This was relayed to Minniti, who a month later asked him to resign.
"Minniti wanted Bill to resign so he would not have to pay him in relation to this personal leave entitlement," Judge Gilmour found. "When Bill refused to resign, Minniti was angry his plan had been thwarted."
Judge Gilmour was also critical of Antonio Casella - a witness called by Minniti to support a claim Mr Bill had resigned.
"He first portrayed his relationship with Minniti as merely a business one," the judge said. "He then agreed he was godfather to Minniti's son, Justin. Minniti and Casella did work for each other on a 'knock for knock' basis with no money changing hands and no invoices issued."
Minniti, who owns property worth millions of dollars, must pay $4037 in lieu of five weeks pay and $10,953 in compensation.