After Saeima deputy Sandris Bergmanis wife left her post in Riga Tourism Development Agency’s Live Riga office left for a maternity leave, her place was quickly taken by Bergmanis’ mother, Nekā Personīga reports.
The programme emphasizes that Live Riga is a foundation that exists thanks to annual donations from Riga’s budget.
‘The office is a mediator that procures different services on behalf of the city council. This foundation has become a very rich work place for people associated with Harmony. These people provide generous donations to their party from their posts,’ journalists of Nekā Personīga say.
The office is managed by a board the chairman of which is Vita Jermolovica from Honour to Serve Riga. Members of the board include – Maksims Tolstojs and Regina Locmele-Lunova. Both are from Harmony. Lunova became a member of the board in July 2015 – a couple of months after she was forced to step down as Saeima deputy due to a criminal investigation against her firm, the programme reports.
Nekā Personīga reports that Harmony faction leader and chairman of the city council’s finance committee Tolstojs is not only a member of the office’s board, but also in change of its procurement committee.
Jelena Jakovleva, Tolstojs’ wife, had also worked with him in the board of Rīgas karte. She had also previously worked in the board of Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks. The programme adds that their divorce also coincides with the time when Tolstojs commenced his personal insolvency process. «Both have also given Harmony generous donations. Since 2012, Tolstojs has donated EUR 15,000 personally and EUR 16,615 in member fees.»
«Other Harmony members are also associated with Riga Tourism Development Office. Jekaterina Morozova had also worked in the office in the past. Morozova currently works in another city council structure – Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks’ Kurzeme office. One year ago, the post of the head of this office was held by Harmony deputy Svetlana Savicka’s friend. Not only did this friend lack the necessary education to perform duties, but he was also penalized four times,» the programme reports.
Since 2010, Morozova has donated nearly EUR 18,000 to the party directly and EUR 3,477 in member fees.
Journalists of the programme note that another example of an unseen hand in the board of Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks was noticed in the actions of family members of former Harmony deputy Bergmanis. His wife worked in Riga Tourism Development Office before going on a maternity leave. Bergmanis’ mother was chosen to replace her.
Aivars Draudins, director of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s Public Relations Department, comments that such an example does not demonstrate good management practice, adding that employees should be chosen based on their professional skills.
In 2014, Live Riga had 31 employees. The company spent EUR 408,000 on wages. The wage budget and the number of employees in the company are not revealed by Live Riga representatives.