Nepotism suspected in Grenoble: the parquet household Eric Piolle

Nepotism suspected in Grenoble: the parquet household Eric Piolle

The parquet floor of Valence on Tuesday spared the mayor EELV of Grenoble Eric Piolle in his demands as he considers not having elements to establish a crime of favoritism in the allocation of a public contract by the city.

“He is the head of the administration, but a material element is missing, there is no certainty that he maneuvered, there is no cover-up,” prosecutor Laurent de Caigny estimated, without explicitly asking for his release.

The 49-year-old mayor, along with six co-defendants, was indicted by the Drôme Criminal Court for allegedly granting unfair advantages to the Fusées association when he was involved in organizing a popular event, the Tiles Festival, in Grenoble in 2015 and 2016.

“We will wait for the verdict, but it is more convenient when the prosecutor asks for release than when he asks for conviction,” Mr Piolle reacted after the requests, regretting that the court calendar had put him in police custody after his candidacy for the Environmental primaries for the 2022 presidential election.

The public prosecutor’s office in Valence – where the case had been directionless – also did not seek a conviction of former director general of municipal services François Langlois and a former project manager, as they had acted “in good faith”.

On the other hand, he called for fines, with or without probation, for the four other defendants, two extraterritorial agents from Grenoble and two representatives of the “Fusées” collective.

The public prosecutor accused them of having committed or benefited from a form of “official offense without personal gain”.

The seven defendants were accused of being responsible for or benefiting from the failure to tender for the first two editions of the “Fête des Tiles”. However, this procedure is provided for in a contract for the organization of a cultural event in the Public Procurement Code.

Against these allegations, the defendants defended themselves by stating that it was in fact an artistic achievement, one that did not require a tender, while the engineering was taken over by the city’s services.

“For me it was a show”, Mr Langlois in particular supported, invoking “respect for the law”, while his former boss Eric Piolle tried to clear the ground by condensing the process into a “technical debate”.

– “No nepotism” –

In the eyes of the State Chamber of Accounts (CRC) – at the origin of the procedure – the service should have “related to the realization” of a party and should therefore have been subject to competition.

A vision shared by Me Thierry Aldeguer, advocate for the municipal opposition led by former mayor Alain Carignon, Mr Piolle’s bitter political opponent.

The mayor has “in his capacity the duty to enforce the public procurement law,” assessed the council in its argumentation.

“Mr. Piolle is: + I see nothing, I hear nothing, I say nothing +,” he insisted after the city council indicated that he had not been informed of any difficulties with these contracts at the time, which cost 130,000 euros.

“There is no nepotism, Mr. Piolle has not exploited his chosen profession,” retorted the mayor’s attorney, Thomas Fourrey, sweeping away suspicions of collusion with the cultural collective, including a member who made a favorable decision prior to Mr. Piolle’s election Platform had signed Piolle in 2014.

The prosecutor, for his part, found that the mayor “did his duties to the best of his knowledge and belief” because he trusted his services.

The two days of debates, Monday and Tuesday, were marred by some tensions between Camp Piolle and the municipal opposition lawyer, who filed a civil suit.

The environmentally conscious mayor refused to answer Me Aldeguer during his interrogation, then temporarily left the room on Tuesday and explained that he accepted the reasoning of “Mr. Carignon’s lawyer” didn’t want to listen.

The verdict was reserved for October 25.


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