Dutch journalist Stefan de Vries has received his case towards socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and has lastly been given entry to the mayor’s expense account for 2017 after a tug-of-war that has lasted 5 years.
The freelance journalist, working in Paris and Amsterdam, launched his investigation in 2019. He needed to search out out extra in regards to the circumstances behind Paris changing into the host metropolis for the 2024 Olympic video games, and to find out whether or not Anne Hidalgo’s marketing campaign to attain this got here at a value for Parisian residents. To do that, he tried to seek the advice of the main points of Anne Hidalgo’s expense accounts, or private bills paid by the town council.
De Vries was initially met with a categorical refusal from the mayor of Paris, regardless that a French legislation from 1978 could be very clear on this topic: the expense accounts of a mayor are public paperwork, completely discoverable by the typical citizen. The case went all the way in which to the Conseil d’État, one among France’s highest courts, which ultimately dominated in favour of the journalist and ordered Anne Hidalgo to offer the requested paperwork by March eighth, 2023.
Regardless of this official administrative strain, Anne Hidalgo’s workplace nonetheless baulked and delayed in offering the well-known expense reviews below numerous pretexts: employees on vacation, dispersion of the paperwork amongst totally different departments, prolonged assortment, and so on. On Friday, March seventeenth, Stefan de Vries was lastly capable of go to Paris Metropolis Corridor the place he was given six thick recordsdata containing the long-awaited data.
Earlier than the architect of this prolonged investigation may share his findings, Le Journal du Dimanche revealed its personal evaluation of the socialist politician’s expense accounts. The mayor of Paris had a €19,720 illustration expense envelope for 2017, plus airplane, lodge, and restaurant reservations throughout her journeys overseas. Mayor Hidalgo spent all the cash allotted to her and made 17 journeys overseas between January and September 2017. Regardless of this, no really extreme travel-related bills have been incurred, in keeping with Le Journal du Dimanche: second-class tickets, no prohibitive restaurant payments, and no protocol items. All of the journeys financed on this means are associated to her mandate, in keeping with the ethics committee accountable for inspecting the bills of elected representatives of the Paris Council.
The quantity of clothes bills is extra questionable: within the house of some months, Anne Hidalgo purchased three Dior attire (€1,188, €1,840, and €1,440); a black Courrèges costume (€720); two Diane Von Fürstenberg attire and their equipment (€1,660 and €895); in addition to jumpers, trousers, and blouses. The mayor’s workplace defined that
the mayor of Paris embodies France overseas. She should due to this fact symbolize French tradition and high fashion. However these will not be €10,000 attire. What’s extra, she reuses them.
This can be true, however the whole quantity is taken into account considerably excessive for a socialist politician who’s inclined to name on her fellow residents to be frugal, her opponents complain. The mayor of Paris additionally discovered a approach to get reimbursed for pairs of tights she purchased at Monoprix, which can appear exaggerated and even petty for somebody whose month-to-month wage quantities to just about €8,000.
If there was nothing scandalous in these bills, why did Hidalgo resist a lot to speak them? The mayor of Paris defends herself by explaining that she needed to keep away from “populist voyeurism,” “misplaced curiosity,” and “unjustified polemics.” However her obstinacy in not disclosing the paperwork has, quite the opposite, accomplished the whole lot potential to foster the animosity of Parisians in direction of her, and to bolster her picture as a public determine who believes herself to be above the legislation.
At the moment, whereas the mayor of Paris has introduced her intention to run for a 3rd time within the municipal elections, her recognition score is decrease than ever, even amongst her conventional electoral base.