IT Company United Edge has been dragged into the affair involving Labor MP Craig Thomson. The Company that supplies PCs and software to various Union was a supplier to the Health Service Union once run by Thompson and the Union leader Michael Williamson.
Thompson and Williamson, who is on the ALP national executive, have been accused by Fairfax Media of receiving secret commissions from a supplier of design and print services to their union. He has also been accused of using a union credit card to pay for prostitutes.
United Edge, which is listed at the same address as the HSU’s state headquarters in Pitt Street, Sydney, pays no rent and it won the IT contract for the HSU without going to tender.
Responding to Fairfax queries about United Edge, Mr Williamson said in an email: ”Union Council received a report from then assistant secretary Peter Mylan in 2007 recommending that HSU East migrate to a more modern, web-based IT system which provided greater flexibility and better suited the needs of the union.
”I fully disclosed to Union Council at that time I was a director of United Edge. The Industrial Relations Act stipulates that any person who is a related party in a transaction must declare their interest.”
Mr Williamson’s directorship of United Edge, which receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from the HSU each year, is not disclosed in the union’s financial statements.
”There have been no transactions between the officials and the union other than those relating to their membership,” the last annual report says.
United Edge also has contracts with other right-wing unions but it declined to disclose which ones.
Fairfax has also revealed that the two men, both senior figures in the Health Services Union were provided with American Express cards by John Gilleland, who runs a graphic design Company called Communigraphix that had a contract to produce 10 newsletters called the Health Standard for Thomson’s former union for $680K.
4Square Media has been told that the newsletter could be published for half the price. There is no web site for Communigraphix.
Fairfax said that credit cards were issued in the names of Mr Thomson and Mr Williamson but were attached to Mr Gilleland’s account.
At an HSU function this year Mr Gilleland’s wife, Carron, privately complained to senior union officials that Mr Williamson had ”run amok” with the credit card. According to one official, Mrs Gilleland said, ”He even paid his private school fees on it” and ”this was not part of the deal”.
The couple’s company, Communigraphix, produces the newsletter from an office in their two-story house at Palm Beach.
The union spent a further $539,360 in 2009-10 and $628,240 the previous year on printing and stationery. It is unclear whether any of this is associated with the production of the newsletter.
Mr Williamson, through the public relations firm Hawker Britton, denied the allegations. He said the suggestion he had been provided with a credit card by the Gilleland’s was ”complete nonsense”.
United Edge claims that their customer base includes trade unions, associations, patient care organisations and that the business trades as United Edge Trust which comprises of the combined resources of Cotswold Concepts Pty Limited, and Urban IT Pty Limited and backed by industry based private equity partners.
Formally established in December 2007, United Edge claims to draw upon over twenty years of technology and industry based expertise from the founding Directors and their organisations.