It is not surprising that a motion to vote out the mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann (SPD), is being sought. The timing alone is remarkable.
Only on Monday evening did the local SPD clear the way for this by demanding Feldmann’s resignation. “The sexist statement made by the mayor on the flight to Seville is not a trivial offense, but a blunder to be condemned,” said Vice President Kolja Müller. The dignity of the office, the reputation of the city and the ability of the magistrate to act required Feldmann’s departure. His co-vice chairwoman Ina Hartwig added: “The time for jokes is over.”
A few hours earlier, a video snippet had made the rounds of the media. Feldmann brings a macho saying over the microphone in the airplane aisle. The stewardesses present “put him out of action hormonally at first”.
The long bar of Feldmann’s missteps before – up to the indictment of the public prosecutor’s office on suspicion of corruption – had not persuaded the SPD and the co-coalition Greens to demand the immediate resignation of the mayor. That came after the unjustifiable lewdness about flight attendants’ sexual attraction. The Frankfurt SPD has not yet responded to WELT’s request as to why it considers this comment to be more serious than the previous incidents.
When research by Hessischer Rundfunk (HR) made it known in 2019 that Feldmann’s wife, who was now separated from him and headed a Turkish-German day-care center for workers’ welfare (AWO), had received a salary that exceeded the collective agreement “without any objective reason” and had been provided with a company car , the SPD sensed a campaign.
It later emerged that the then partner and later wife of the mayor, Zübeyde Feldmann, had already received the highest possible salary in her tariff group in September 2017. In order to reach the final stage, an employee would normally have to work in this tariff group for 17 years.
It is also still unclear why Feldmann’s partner only started using the company car when she was on parental leave and no longer worked as a daycare manager. In addition, the AWO, Feldmann’s former employer, is said to have supported his mayoral campaign in 2018 by raising donations.
Neither when the public prosecutor’s office began investigations into Zübeyde Feldmann’s salary and company car in August 2020, nor when the HR reported that the mayor had campaigned in 2018 for a multi-million dollar order from the city to the AWO to convert a nursing home into asylum accommodation should, the Frankfurt Social Democrats moved away from Peter Feldmann.
Not even when, a little later, Daniela Birkenfeld (CDU), head of the social affairs department, charged the mayor with the statement: During a visit to the theater, he asked her to continue a cooperation with the AWO in the accommodation of asylum seekers, which she had just ended.
When the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt filed charges against Feldmann on suspicion of corruption in March of this year, the SPD still did not demand his immediate resignation. She referred to the presumption of innocence: only when the district court allowed the procedure was “a red line crossed” – then the situation had to be “reassessed,” said Chairman Mike Josef.
The coalition partners Greens, FDP and Volt also held it up to the stewardesses saying. Just two weeks ago, the parties decidedly rejected a motion by the CDU to vote Feldmann out of office at the city council meeting.
Even when the public prosecutor’s office had obtained a search warrant for Feldmann’s private and office space in April because of “new findings” and after the mayor had taken the European Cup from the celebrating Eintracht players without being asked to celebrate with it, the Frankfurt SPD did not act. This only happened after the macho saying had been problematized in many media on May 23rd.
The SPD also did not publicly take offense at Feldmann’s other mistakes, such as his responsibility for leaving the IAA motor show or pandering to extreme spokesmen in the course of Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
The public prosecutor’s office justified their suspicion of corruption in March, among other things, with the fact that money had been raised from the AWO for Feldmann’s election campaign. “In return, the accused is said to have tacitly agreed with the person responsible for the AWO at the time that he would benevolently take into account the interests of the AWO Frankfurt in his future duties.”
According to information from several media, the fundraiser is said to be ex-AWO managing director Hannelore Richter. She led the AWO district association in Wiesbaden for decades; her husband Jürgen managed the one in Frankfurt for which Feldmann worked for a long time. The two central figures in the AWO affair have long since resigned due to numerous financial scandals. Among other things, it was about luxury company cars such as Audi RS and Mercedes AMG for employees.
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