Czech mayor refutes rumor she is forgiving Romani residents' debts
The official website of the town of Vsetín has posted a statement regarding recent allegations made against Mayor Táborská. A majority-society resident has reportedly verbally abused the mayor over information published by a local weekly.
That publication falsely reported that Mayor Táborská was planning to forgive millions of crowns of debt owed the municipality by local Romani residents. She subsequently faced a great deal of verbal abuse from those who believed the report.
The debts are related to a controversial eviction of Romani residents that took place in 2006. News server Romea.cz publishes the statement of the town of Vsetín on the issue in full translation here:
Last week a local weekly published completely erroneous information about the mayor. The headline of the article in question stated that the mayor wants to forgive millions of crowns of debt owed the town by Romani people.
This is a total lie. Reporting of this fiction sparked a wave of negative reactions from the majority-society residents of our town which have even resulted in a verbal attack on the mayor in a local hypermarket.
Mayor Táborská's communication at the June session of the town council was of a completely different nature than the information reported by the weekly. She informed the councilors of the course of the court proceedings to collect on the interest-free loans provided by the town in 2006 to Romani residents to purchase homes outside of Vsetín after they were evicted from apartment building no. 1336.
The payment record of these debtors is not good. Only one family is paying their debts per the negotiated contract.
The debts are being collected both through classic court proceedings and through the administration of collections applications. "Every court case costs us CZK 100 000, and given the overall indebtedness of the families whose homes now also have liens against them for their other debts, there is very little probability we will ever see the return of the money loaned," the mayor told the councilors, adding that she was basing her information on the opinion of lawyers.
"I said the council will have to review this situation in future. The report was discussed under the agenda item of 'Miscellaneous', without any conclusions being drawn or proposals being made. There was no discussion of forgiving the debts at all," Mayor Iveta Táborská emphasized.
At the same time, the mayor reported on the most recent verdict in these matters, in which the court decided the loan contract was invalid, arriving at the conclusion that it had not been entered into in good faith. It is, therefore, an open question whether it makes sense at all to spend money on these court cases.
An audio recording was made of the entire council meeting for use as the background material for the council's written minutes. Both the audio and the minutes are available from clerk Bc. Stanislava Žambochová, tel.: 571 491 589, e-mail: email@example.com per the law on freedom of access to information No. 106/1999 Coll.
Articles such as the one at issue here unnecessarily spark intolerance between the majority and minority populations and have led to an abusive verbal attack on Mayor Táborská at a local hypermarket. Tensions are also increasing among people thanks to other untrue information being spread, primarily through social networking sites, about an alleged purchase of scooters and passes to gyms and spas to be provided for free to ethnic Romani people.
All of the town's expenditures are governed by our budget, which can be easily monitored online. All changes to the budget during the course of the year are part of the budgetary measures available in the council's minutes.
The council has never decided to make expenditures of this sort and the town has therefore never paid any money for any such items. The journalists who regularly attend council meetings would certainly inform the citizens if that were the case.
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