More abuse

Kindergartens: paid for beach vacations with subsidy money

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14.05.2024 09:00

The cases of subsidy abuse in Viennese kindergartens continue The MA10 has uncovered new cases. But they seem small compared to the Minibambini mega-scandal. A series of lawsuits starts here. Many millions of taxpayers' money is at stake.

The abuse of subsidies in private kindergartens is never-ending. This year alone, the MA10 (kindergarten) has so far terminated eight organizations and reported them to the courts.

As a result of the new, stricter controls, individual invoices are now also being checked and processes and bookkeeping are being examined much more closely. What the auditors discovered was quite something: one operator treated himself to a week's vacation in Greece with taxpayers' money (excuse: further training). Another bought fine specialties in the Adriatic resort of Jesolo.

The eight facilities have all been or will be closed and the children divided up among other businesses, explains MA10 deputy head Kurt Burger to the "Krone" newspaper. The city wants one million euros back from the subsidy sinners.

40 million euros to "Minibambini"
That seems manageable compared to the monster "Minibambini" scandal. As a reminder: a family clan ran several locations and collected 40 million euros in subsidies from the city. For more than a decade, nobody found out that the family was probably spending a good portion of the money on their luxury lifestyle, including villas and expensive cars.

Kindergartens

Almost 90,000 children can attend kindergarten in Vienna. There are 350 kindergartens run by the City of Vienna as well as 400 private associations that operate facilities and receive subsidies for them.

The City Court of Audit uncovered the scandal and the public prosecutor is investigating. Even before the criminal proceedings, a series of trials on the second Minibambini front will start on Wednesday.

As reported, insolvency administrator Christoph Erler believes that the municipality should have recognized the fiasco many years earlier. The City of Vienna is therefore partly responsible for the high level of damage (170 creditors, 16 million euros in claims registered).

Zitat Icon

Despite years of crisis indicators, the City of Vienna has not fulfilled its control and investigation obligations.

(Bild: RA Kanzlei Christoph Erler)

Masseverwalter Christoph Erler

The lawyer wants to sue back around 3.7 million euros from the municipality. It all boils down to the question: did the inspectors slip up or were they possibly even "bribed"?

"No misconduct found"
Deputy Head of Department Burger says: "I can't put my hand in the fire for anyone. But our internal audit department has not found any misconduct." All (previously relatively lax) audit requirements had been adhered to.

It will be interesting to see how the judge will judge this.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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