June 2006, a smiling Beth Morgan sans Paris Hilton sunglasses
Behind the enthusiasm and cheer this young mother was self-destructing. Her marriage was over because of a series of affairs, her financial world propped up by occasional gifts from shady businessmen and she was secretly under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
The story behind the woman at the centre of this ugly tale of sex, bribes and early morning coffee on plastic chairs reads like a tragedy rather than an expose of greed.
Beth Mooney, as she was then, arrived at the Wollongong Council in May 2000 as a single woman and science graduate. She was appointed as a development processing officer - a frontline staff member among 39 in a department about to explode to cope with the property boom. Within four years the department on level 4 has all but doubled as the boom turned the South Coast into a goldmine of opportunity.
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