Referred to ICAC over bribe allegations: Kevin Conolly MP.

Referred to ICAC over bribe allegations: Kevin Conolly MP. Photo: Supplied

The fight over Liberal preselection in the seat of Riverstone has been reignited after local powerbroker and councillor Jess Diaz referred sitting MP Kevin Conolly to the NSW corruption watchdog, accusing him of offering a "bribe" to secure his support.

According to the complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, obtained by Fairfax Media, Cr Diaz alleges last year Mr Conolly offered to have fellow Blacktown councillor Mark Holmes vote for him to become mayor last September.

In return, Cr Diaz would use his influence to ensure Mr Conolly was again preselected as the Liberal candidate for Riverstone for the forthcoming state election.

Local powerbroker Jess Diaz accuses Mr Conolly of seeking to 'bribe' him to secure support.

Local powerbroker Jess Diaz accuses Mr Conolly of seeking to 'bribe' him to secure support. Photo: Supplied

At the time Mr Conolly was under challenge for preselection from Liberal MP, Bart Bassett, who was confident of winning with Cr Diaz's support.

Cr Diaz's complaint to ICAC alleges the deal was made during a meeting initiated by Cr Holmes and attended by Cr Diaz and Mr Conolly.

"Cr Holmes advised that he was under immense pressure to ensure Mr Conolly wins preselection because his de facto partner, Elizabeth Banks, is an electoral officer of Mr Conolly and would lose her job if Mr Conolly's instructions were not followed," it says.

Alluding to a July 31 meeting to choose some of the preselectors for Riverstone, Mr Conolly is alleged to have told Cr Diaz: "Jess, if you vote for the selectors I want, you will be the mayor of Blacktown in September."

"Mr Conolly and Cr Holmes tried to bribe Cr Diaz with the promotion or elevation to the position of mayor of Blacktown City," the complaint states. It points out this would have meant an annual financial benefit of $50,000 to Cr Diaz.

The complaint says Cr Diaz rejected the deal and points out that in support of this, none of the preselectors Mr Conolly was seeking were chosen.

Cr Diaz says that in the September mayoral ballot, Cr Holmes, a Liberal councillor, voted with Labor councillors to secure a secret ballot. Cr Diaz lost the mayoral ballot to Labor's candidate, Stephen Bali, by one vote.

Fairfax Media has previously reported that Mr Conolly fell out with Cr Diaz over support for his tilt at the mayoralty, causing Cr Diaz to withdraw his support for Mr Conolly's preselection.

This led to Mr Conolly's own branch members refusing to endorse his candidacy and put Mr Bassett in the box seat to secure preselection.

But Mr Bassett was subsequently called before ICAC to answer allegations that a company associated with coal mogul Nathan Tinkler made an illegal donation of $18,000 for Mr Bassett's campaign before the 2011 election.

In January, with the backing of Premier Mike Baird, the Liberal state executive cancelled the preselection and installed Mr Conolly as the candidate for Riverstone.

Mr Conolly, Cr Holmes and Cr Diaz did not respond to requests for comment.