A Diamond is Forever
Unexpectedly, a story of bribery populates today’s Italian news. The stage of this story is Abruzzo, the mountainous region of central Italy, and particularly L’Aquila, the city that was struck, almost 16 months ago, by a terrible earthquake that killed 320 people.
A series of polemics followed that dramatic event. First, local authorities were fiercely criticised for ignoring alarming signs in the days preceding the earthquake. Second, it emerged that many buildings that collapsed during the seism had been built with poor materials. Later, a series of scandals involving the Civic Protection Department revealed a dark world behind the “rebuilding” of L’Aquila.
The series of scandals continues uninterrupted. This time, it centres around Daniela Stati, the councillor for Civic Protection in Abruzzo. This is Stati:
Actually, she is now the ex councillor, for she resigned today in connection with this story. It is alleged that Stati received, and yielded to, many external “pressures” aiming at convincing her to assign funds for the reconstruction works in L’Aquila to one particular contractor, Abruzzo Engineering. According to the allegations, the latter was offered the contract in spite of the fact they hadn’t even presented a complete project. In fact, the group was preferred to Consorzio ReLuis, a group led by a private university from Rome, which had offered to do the work without receiving funding from the Abruzzo Government.
Details are still emerging around this -slightly uncommon- story: among them, there is a €15,000 (12,500 GBP) diamond ring that Vincenzo Angeloni, representative of Abruzzo Engineering, ‘gifted’ Daniela Stati on 15th December 2009, the same day in which the building group was eventually offered the contract. Wiretaps show a series of friendly exchanges between Ms. Stati, Mr. Angeloni, and Mr. Ezio Stati: the latter is the father of Daniela, himself an ex politician who had to resign in 2000 for being found guilty of bribery. A family business, so to speak. During another of these wiretaps, Angeloni phones Ezio Stati, whom he greets as “the councillor’s father”, informing him of his intention to buy a TV, “a very big one!”, as a present for old good Ezio. The latter happily abides, like “The Dude”, commenting that he is “waiting at home as a parrot”. (Not clear why he says so.. Must be politics jargon).
(Damien Hirst’s work)
The story is still to fully unfold. However, Daniela Stati appeared today on Italian TV SKY, to give a statement rejecting the groundless allegations, and appealed directly to the Italian PM, saying “Mr. Berlusconi, I am another national scandal!” – with reference to Silvio’s idea that the fact that, once a week, a person of his crew is found involved in dirty stuff is the fruit of mere communist propaganda.
Then, Daniela Stati emphatically claimed: “My only fault is that I tried to defend the rights of the workers of [Abruzzo Engineering], I tried to offer a job to this society!”
A very reassuring explanation. To hell the accusation of bribery, and greed over the tragedy of the people from L’Aquila. This was just the attempt of a committed woman to foster workers’ rights.
Damn you, communist propaganda.