Case of Patricia Schlesinger: RBB boss asks questions in the state parliament

Affair about nepotism
RBB boss asks questions in the Brandenburg state parliament after Schlesinger’s dismissal

Patricia Schlesinger

Patricia Schlesinger was dismissed as RBB director on Monday.

© Paul Zinken / DPA

Patricia Schlesinger has been dismissed as RBB director. Now the managing director of the station comes to the Brandenburg state parliament. Will the secret of the bonus system, which has been kept secret until now, be revealed?

After the dismissal of Patricia Schlesinger as director of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), the managing director of the station, Hagen Brandstätter, will appear in the Brandenburg state parliament on Tuesday morning. He will accept the invitation to the main committee and answer questions from MPs, said arsonist last week in Berlin.

The main committee of the Brandenburg state parliament wants to deal with the RBB deal with, which is in a deep crisis because of the scandal surrounding nepotism.

In July, Schlesinger turned down an invitation to the state parliament – ​​with a view to the ongoing external investigation of a law firm. Because she then gave interviews, there was great outrage.

Patricia Schlesinger: allegations of nepotism

On Monday, the broadcasting council of the public broadcaster had recalled Schlesinger. She had already resigned before that – as RBB boss and as ARD-Chairman. The RBB board of directors must determine whether she will receive a severance payment or whether she can claim a pension. A time horizon initially remained unclear.

The case has put the broadcaster in an unprecedented crisis overthrown, which also radiates to the entire public service broadcaster.

The manager and journalist faces numerous allegations of nepotism. In addition to the 61-year-old, the focus is on the RBB chief controller, who has also resigned wolf-Dieter Wolf. Both rejected allegations. It is also about questionable orders for Schlesinger’s husband Gerhard Spörl at Messe Berlin, where Wolf was also head of the supervisory board until his resignation there. The online medium “Business Insider” got the whole case rolling at the end of June.

The public prosecutor’s office in Berlin is investigating against Schlesinger, against the ex-“Spiegel” journalist Spörl and against Wolf on suspicion of infidelity and acceptance of benefits.

RBB construction project, company car, dinner, salary increase

The case deals with details such as controversial consulting contracts for an RBB construction project that has now been put on hold, an expensive company car for Schlesinger with massage seats, the catering of guests in their private apartment at RBB’s expense with allegedly false bills, a hefty salary increase for Schlesinger 16 percent to 303,000 euros plus a bonus system for executives, which the broadcaster has so far kept under wraps. The renovation of the executive floor with chic furniture for 1.4 million euros caused resentment, and Schlesinger’s London trip is also being questioned.

The core question is whether the station manager and the station manager Wolf could have treated each other too laxly in the event of a possible collision of professional and private interests. An external investigation by a law firm is ongoing, but the results are not yet available. They are not expected for weeks.

There have already been further personnel consequences, days ago the head of the artistic director, Verena Formen-Mohr, was released with immediate effect. Like Wolf, she is regarded as Schlesinger’s companion. The question is whether there will be further personnel changes at the top of the station. The composition of the Broadcasting Council and the Board of Directors have also been questioned in recent weeks.

Coordinator of the state broadcasting commission calls for clarification

Brandenburg Secretary of State for Media Benjamin Grimm (SPD) said, “Regardless of the current debate, we as the states of Berlin and Brandenburg had already planned in the draft of the new RBB state treaty to further expand control, for example through the state audit offices. We are sticking to that and are considering of the events of the last few weeks will significantly strengthen transparency and supervision – even beyond what is already planned.”

The coordinator of the state broadcasting commission, Heike Raab, has asked RBB to explain the Schlesinger case to bonus payments. The Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary for Media, who is the most important media politician in the Federal Republic, told the German Press Agency: “The RBB and its committees must completely clarify all allegations and points of criticism, for example awards and bonus payments. Overall, we need more control, uniformity and comparability in transparency and compliance.” Raab added: “Because there was great damage beyond the RBB.”

Raab said: “I advocate that quality media – both public and private – have good framework conditions. But if, like public broadcasting, you are financed by contributions, you have to maintain transparency to an even greater extent and make it clear what you are doing it for spends money. I am extremely disappointed with what is now coming to light bit by bit.”

The country coordinator added: “According to the current information, I assume that the problems are concentrated on this one ARD institution.” In terms of compliance and transparency in particular, other institutions are more exemplary in their statutes and internal regulations.


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