Czech town recalls councilor for violating strategic agreement on real estate sales
Members of the town council of Obrnice (Most district) voted last month to recall Boris Ležal (Czech Social Democratic Party) from his position as a town councilor. The municipality says Ležal violated a strategic agreement concluded with the local government on the sale of apartments or apartment buildings.
According to a press release provided on behalf of Obrnice by Jan Foukal, Ležal is a shareholder in the Quick firm, which runs companies in the heating and housing industries and owns nine apartment buildings in Obrnice. Three of those properties representing a total of roughly 20 apartments were sold at the beginning of the year to firms from Prague without either the town councilors or representatives being aware of it.
Mayor Drahomíra Miklošová (Civic Democrats - ODS) has called Ležal's behavior unfair. "We have been addressing the housing issue for many years. We are doing our best to prevent the sale of apartments by real estate agents and speculators, and our aim is to avoid, if at all possible, a new influx of socially vulnerable families. We do this by purchasing the apartments ourselves so we can then influence who they are leased to," the mayor said.
The number of councilors in Obrnice has now fallen below the limit established by law. The necessary fifth member was not elected, with candidate Jan Houdek missing appointment to the post by a single vote.
It is therefore possible that the municipality will have to run without a functioning council until the October local elections. Roughly 2 500 people live in Obrnice, almost 40 % of whom are Romani.
Coexistence between the majority population and Romani residents was problematic previously, but Mayor Miklošová then managed to change the situation during a relatively brief time. The municipality, whose annual budget is approximately CZK 40 million, has so far been awarded subsidies of around CZK 132 million expressly for projects linked to working with socially vulnerable citizens, and the mayor was recently awarded a Council of Europe prize recognizing model integration of Romani people into mainstream society.
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