Inside the raid: Pisasale’s seedy sex gear exposed
It was June 2017 when anti-corruption investigators swooped on Ipswich's celebrity-status mayor Paul Pisasale.
Pisasale, who had led the city as mayor for 13 years up until his 2017 resignation with a popularity rating the envy of other politicians, was stopped by Crime and Corruption Commission investigators outside the building.
The investigators were armed with warrants to search his Ipswich CBD office and home.
Passing by Pisasale's Guinness Book of World Record-setting collection of short black coffee cups, they entered his office to begin the search.
One thing that stood out to the investigators was a bag sitting under the mayor's desk.
It allegedly contained sex equipment, including condoms and Viagra.
About three weeks earlier, the mayor had been stopped with $50,000 at Melbourne airport.
After raiding his mayoral office, investigators later searched Pisasale's long-time family home in the Ipswich suburb of Brassall, bringing the wide-ranging corruption probe to his doorstep.
Pisasale would quietly resign on the day of the search, admit himself to hospital and - a day later - call a press conference to publicly announce he was quitting office, while wearing a hospital gown, pyjamas and socks.
It was the demise of not just the city's beloved mayor, but also the crushing of his own ego.
A source previously close to the mayor said he thought of himself as Ipswich's caped crusader, relating to them one day how he had dreamt as a boy of becoming Superman.
Pisasale continued on to say how he had realised that dream as Ipswich's saviour, the source recounted.
But his seedy double life was unmasked in mid-2017 when the CCC closed in after eight months of covertly investigating corruption at the highest ranks in the burgeoning city.
Investigators deployed phone intercepts, surveillance and other investigative methods.
The once bulletproof mayor, who survived previous investigations with barely a scratch, was reeling when he contacted his former mistress of about four years, Kaitlyn Moore, in 2017.
Pisasale was "crying and overwhelmed" when he called her from Melbourne Airport after being stopped with the cash, she told the CCC.
He also told her: "I'm fu**ed, I'm fu**ed" as the CCC activities intensified, she told investigators.
Pisasale had by then become a desperate man, even jumping out from behind the bushes one day at Ms Moore's property in an attempt to talk to her.
Corruption investigators had also searched Ms Moore's business address, cracking open a storage container Pisasale used.
Ms Moore did not have a key for the donga and told investigators it was controlled and secured by the mayor.
She arranged for a staffer to angle-grind the padlock off for investigators.
It was full of goods, including sporting memorabilia and whiskey.
The CCC alleged the items included property that belonged to council and charged Pisasale with multiple counts of fraud.
Details would also surface of his liaisons with prostitutes on council trips, painting a vastly different picture of a mayor lauded for his passion for Ipswich and hard work.
It emerged that Pisasale had been visiting prostitutes and embarking on interstate pleasure trips while purportedly on council business, at one stage discussing arrangements for a "threesome" on one trip.
Investigators also probed a complaint by a luxury hotel worker in Japan that she had been touched up by Pisasale while he was on a council trip in 2016.
No charges were brought over the complaint, and investigators were believed to have been hampered by the difficulty of securing witnesses in the country, which lay out of its jurisdiction.
Originally published as Inside the raid: Pisasale's seedy sex gear exposed