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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » March 12, 2008
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Poznań Mayor Sentenced Over Land Sale
March 12, 2008   
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A district court in Poznań, western Poland, March 5 sentenced the city's mayor Ryszard Grobelny to a suspended prison term of 16 months over the sale of municipal property below its market value to a private company. The court also ordered Grobelny to pay a fine of zl.14,000 and banned him from holding public posts involving municipal property management for four years.

Grobelny vowed to appeal against the court's ruling, which if upheld by a higher court, would mean he would lose his job and an early election would be needed to elect a new mayor for the city.

Grobelny and other municipal officials were accused of causing multimillion-zloty losses for the city budget. In 2003, Poznań's authorities sold a plot in the city center to a company owned by Grażyna Kulczyk, the wife of business tycoon Jan Kulczyk, one of the wealthiest people in this country. The Stary Browar shopping and cultural center was later built on the site. The plot was sold for zl.6 million as a park while in reality it was designated as a commercial lot worth more than zl.13 million, according to prosecutors.

Grobelny said that prosecutors had incorrectly appraised the property. His supporters argue that the Stary Browar shopping and cultural center is one of Poznań's biggest attractions for both Polish and foreign visitors, and that it was developed on a site that was once occupied by old dilapidated buildings.
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