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Phoebe Bowden

Former NSW building commissioner David Chandler's resignation letter released

The former Office of Building Commissioner David Chandler resigned this year. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

The resignation letter of NSW building commissioner David Chandler has revealed he held concerns about the relationship between sacked minister Eleni Petinos and the property development group that hired former deputy premier John Barilaro.

In his letter, Mr Chandler detailed how he received calls from both Ms Petinos and Mr Barilaro after he issued a stop work order to the Coronation Property Group.

At the time, Coronation had run into trouble with the building commissioner over compliance at a major residential development in Merrylands in Western Sydney.

A building industry veteran, Mr Chandler resigned abruptly last month after three years in the role, which was created to crack down on building standards in the wake of the Opal Towers and Mascot Towers debacles.  

In his resignation letter dated July 7, 2022, Mr Chandler spoke about "problematic" dealings with the office of Ms Petinos and voiced concerns about her relationship with the Coronation Property Group.

Eleni Petinos was sacked from the NSW ministry after allegations of bullying. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

He said the problems came to a head over Coronation's Merrylands development. 

"These concerns crystalised at the time of the Stop Work Orders issued under the Design and Building Practitioner's Act..." he wrote.

"As advised to you I received a call from the Minister's Office shortly after a draft order was issued on Coronation's Merrylands Development."

Shortly after that, he received another message from John Barilaro.

"This contact came to me on my personal phone requesting a meeting with me," he wrote. 

Mr Chandler said he was aware that Mr Barilaro had recently joined the Coronation board.

The building commissioner subsequently met with Mr Barilaro "to answer his questions".

Mr Barilaro has said the pair met but did not discuss the building ban that Coronation faced.

"We never spoke about the stop work order nor did I request anything in relation to the stop work order," Mr Barilaro said in a statement on Thursday.

The former deputy premier acknowledges meeting with Mr Chandler but denies discussing the building ban. (Facebook: Dave Layzell)

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that Mr Barilaro also met with Ms Petinos in the weeks before the stop work order was lifted on July 4, 2022.

Giving evidence at a parliamentary inquiry on Monday, Mr Barilaro said he was no longer employed by Coronation at the time of the meeting with Ms Petinos which he said was to celebrate his appointment as NSW trade commissioner in New York.

Mr Chandler's parting sentiments were made public after Labor successfully moved a motion in the upper house on Wednesday compelling the state government to produce the letter within 24 hours.

The Premier last month sacked Ms Petinos as the state's fair trading minister, citing bullying allegations involving her staff, which she denies.

On Wednesday, Mr Perrottet stood by his earlier statement that Mr Chandler's resignation had nothing to do with Ms Petinos.

The resignation letter was addressed to Mr Chandler's manager, Department of Customer Service Secretary, Emma Hogan.

It's been revealed that Mr Perrottet spoke to Ms Hogan shortly before sacking Ms Petinos.

In Parliament on Thursday, the Premier was pressed on the content of those discussions.  

"Was one of those issues concerns about the relationship between Minister Petinos, the Coronation Group, or Mr Barilaro?" Labor leader Chris Minns asked.

"I had a discussion with the department secretary and the principal purpose of that discussion was in relation to staff matters," Mr Perrottet responded.

"The matters raised in relation to the question that the Leader of the Opposition has asked was peripheral."

The departing building commissioner concluded his resignation letter by stating: "Given where all the above matters now rest, I believe my continued role as NSW Building Commissioner is no longer viable."

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