Newcastle council election candidate Aaron Buman says he "doesn't come close" to being classed as a property developer, despite a "kerfuffle" over money he spent at a Liberal fundraiser.
The former independent Newcastle councillor is in the unwinnable third and final spot on Katrina Wark's Liberal ticket in the ward-three election on December 4.
Mr Buman runs three men's boarding houses and has a development application before the council for $400,000 additions to one of those properties at Waratah.
Property developers are not allowed to make political donations in NSW.
Cr Buman said he had received legal advice before ticking the box marked "not a property developer" on his official candidate statutory declaration form.
"I've never developed a property," he said.
"I've spoken to a solicitor. I don't even come close to being a developer. I haven't sold a property in 20 years."
NSW legislation defines a developer as an "individual or a corporation [who] carries on a business mainly concerned with the residential or commercial development of land, with the ultimate purpose of the sale or lease of the land for profit" and in the course of that business has an application before planning authorities.
The NSW Electoral Commission said it would not comment on Mr Buman's case but said it "should be noted not everyone involved in property development necessarily meets the legislative definition of a property developer".
Mr Buman dismissed the concerns about his status as a product of "toxic" factional party infighting.
NSW Liberal headquarters said the party had sorted out a "kerfuffle" over Mr Buman's spending at the fundraiser by confirming he had filled out the correct paperwork.
Mr Buman had hoped to top the Liberals' ward-one ticket, but the party endorsed Blake Keating instead.
He said he had filled the last slot on Ms Wark's ticket after a late withdrawal had left it poised to fall over.
The Liberal campaign has split into one faction containing Mr Keating and ward-four candidate Callum Pull and another comprising Ms Wark and mayoral challenger Jenny Barrie.
Ms Barrie beat Mr Keating in pre-selection for the party's lord mayoral candidate.
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