NEVER let it be said local council elections aren't full of drama.
On Tuesday night, two candidates running for Holroyd council ended up in a tussle during which the grappling duo tumbled down the stairs of a Merrylands restaurant.
''The fat lard of something landed on top of me,'' complained Gregg Ritchie of fellow councillor Eddy Sarkis.
Both men are disendorsed Liberals who are running as independents in Saturday's local elections.
It started on Tuesday night when Cr Sarkis and another councillor, Mark Pigram, missed the scheduled council meeting after calling in sick.
Cr Pigram's son, Ryan, is running as the number two on Mr Sarkis's ticket while Mr Sarkis's wife, Rima, is returning the favour on Mr Pigram's ticket.
Cr Pigram yesterday attributed his illness to blood blisters on his feet from campaigning.
Other councillors were tipped off that Cr Sarkis was not sick but was holding a $900-a-head fundraiser which was being attended by developers. Donations from developers have been banned.
After the council meeting finished Cr Ritchie, accompanied by a reporter from the local newspaper <i>Parramatta Sun</i>, decided to check in on Cr Sarkis's event, which was supposedly being held in an upstairs room at La Vita restaurant.
After staff pointed Cr Ritchie to the function, he barged into the room and tried to take photos with his mobile phone. At this point Cr Sarkis grabbed for the phone while accusing Cr Ritchie of trespassing.
Cr Sarkis was helped by his guests. ''It escalated into the big rumble,'' reporter Isabell Petrinic said. ''While Gregg was yelling out 'I am being assaulted', Eddy was yelling out 'I am making a citizen's arrest.' ''
She then heard a scream and a thud as someone fell down the stairs. The police were notified but neither councillor wished to press charges. Cr Sarkis said yesterday he did not call in sick but had informed the general manager he did not know anything about the council meeting and had already booked in a campaign meeting with family and friends.
Cr Sarkis told the Herald yesterday it was not a fund-raiser but a simple meal with people who were planning to help with his campaign and to be ''booth captains''. Cr Sarkis refused to disclose who was at his meeting but said there were no developers there. A Fairfield councillor, Sam Yousif, was there but the Sarkis's running mates, the Pigrams, were not.
But one of those there, who did not wish to be named, confirmed developers were present and that he had paid $900 to attend. He also said there was no talk of the campaign itself or instructions about being booth captains.