It is a violent comparison, although quite esoteric at first sight, which should pursue Gabriel Attal, Minister Delegate in charge of public accounts, for a good while. Wednesday, November 23, on France Inter, he attacked the budget management of the city of Paris by denouncing a “delusional system”, that of “capitalized rents”, which has been set up within the municipality ” in 2015 “, when François Hollande was President of the Republic. “ The reality is that there is now more than a billion euros in additional debt for the City of Paris linked to this systemgot carried away Mr. Attal. Honestly, it’s a ponzi. »
Anne Hidalgo considered the charge serious enough to announce that she would file a defamation suit against the Minister “for the outrageous remarks he made and which call into question the probity of the city”. A complaint that cannot be filed, on behalf of the City of Paris, before deliberation and a vote at the next Paris Council, which will take place from December 13 to 16.
Two definitions are essential to understand the controversy. The abstruse appellation of “capitalized rents” allows the town hall to ask social landlords managing housing that it has pre-empted to pay all the rents, all at once, on leases often spanning several decades. These funds are supposed to allow the City to invest over the long term. Except that an exceptional derogation was granted to it so that this windfall, around one billion euros since 2016, allows it to balance its operating budget. As for the principle of the “Ponzi scheme”, it is a fraudulent system in which the interests of investors are paid with the capital of newcomers, without the money ever being actually invested, enriching the author of the scam by the way.
While specifying that he was not comparing Anne Hidalgo to Bernard Madoff, arrested in 2008 for a vast scam of this type, Gabriel Attal, as the competent minister, claims to have put an end to this system “because it’s not healthy”. He slightly backpedaled, Sunday, November 27, on BFM-TV: the Ponzi system “is not necessarily a scam”. But he assumes to aim “disastrous financial management with practices that[il] keep denouncing”. The court will judge whether the metaphor is defamatory.
“She bludgeons Parisians”
This verbal acme completes a skirmish that has dragged on between the minister and the mayor of Paris, since the latter decided, on November 7, to increase the property tax by 52%, breaking with its electoral promise, in 2020, not to touch local taxes. To justify such a coercive measure, she overwhelms the government: “Taxpayers pay 720 million euros for the state budget”while the overall operating grant received in return “amounts to 40,000 euros”. In response, Gabriel Attal reiterated, on BFM-TV, that he was entitled to scold the mayor of Paris: “I am the budget minister. She bludgeons Parisians to balance her budget and she says it’s because of the state…”
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