There aren’t many old-style shoe-leather journalists left in Australia, but The Sun Herald’s
state political editor Alex Mitchell is one of them. After 45 years on
the beat, including almost 20 with Fairfax’s Sydney Sunday, Mitchell
produced one of his best scoops this weekend with the detail of Rodney Adler’s attempts to continue running his business empire from jail.

The Sun-Herald knew they had a great story, dummying up the early editions to put The Sunday Telegraph
off the scent and then splashing the later editions under the headline
“Inside Trader”, backed up by a spread across pages 4 and 5. While
Mitchell quoted from some specific correspondence, the Adler file of
misdemeanors is said to be huge as the bloke just doesn’t have a clue
how to behave while serving time and being banned from running a
company.

Mitchell started out in journalism in 1960 on The Daily Bulletin
in Townsville and after a life time in the game, the gruff 63-year-old
can work the hard men and women of the NSW prison system when there’s a
big scroop to be had. He’s produced cracking prison yarns before.
Remember the tail of a New Year’s Eve party at Long Bay prison thrown
by Phuong Ngo, the Fairfax councillor serving time for the murder of
former NSW Labor MP John Newman. That caused plenty of embarrassment
given that some Labor Party councillors from Fairfield turned up.

Mitchell
was spotted at Rodney Adler’s sentencing hearing and is said to have
been appalled by his arrogance as he strutted around lecturing the
media and showing not a hint of contrition. Once on the inside,
Mitchell has written three stories on his prospects inside the jail
system and then along came the big one on Sunday.

NSW prison
authorities are said to have been genuinely appalled by Adler’s
arrogant behaviour. He even asked for a separate room to help his four
children do their homework, then used the opportunity to issue
instructions to his business associate “Michael”. Fancy using your own
kids for cover to break the law.

Any additional charges against
Adler will be an interesting exercise in federal-state relations
because Adler is a Commonwealth prisoner being housed in NSW prisons.
He was found guilty of breaching the Corporations Law, so the likes of
Justice Minister Chris Ellison, Commonwealth DPP Damian Bugg and ASIC
chairman Jeff Lucy will be responsible for taking any further action
against the former keen Liberal Party supporter.

Ellison fired off a statement responding to Mitchell’s exclusive yesterday, although his website is ten days out of date.

And in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Kate McClymont follows up the nitty gritty of the latest Adler affair in this fine report, naming the people who have visited Adler, including his former One.Tel partner Jodee Rich.

According to the report, Adler yelled as he was being moved yesterday
from the relatively easy life at Kirconnell medium security facility in
the Central West of NSW to the much tougher regime at nearby Bathurst
Jail that Fairfax “is harassing me and I’m going to sue the lot of
them.”