Gothic Chateau for state bureaucrat

AN INTERIOR ministry employee who earns no more than Sk20,000 per month has signed a contract to buy a Sk9 million ($190,000) chateau in Galanta and invest over Sk100 million ($2.1 million) into its reconstruction.
But Gejza Petrík maintains that there is nothing peculiar about a state employee owning a neo-gothic chateau. "Just like I have a flat and a garden, I'll have a chateau," he said.
Petrík, who is head of the ministry's section of local administration, said he would secure the money through a loan from a foreign banks but he refused to reveal which banks would be backing him.


Gejza Petrík has agreed to buy the chateau in Galanta for Sk9 million ($190,000).
photo: TASR

AN INTERIOR ministry employee who earns no more than Sk20,000 per month has signed a contract to buy a Sk9 million ($190,000) chateau in Galanta and invest over Sk100 million ($2.1 million) into its reconstruction.

But Gejza Petrík maintains that there is nothing peculiar about a state employee owning a neo-gothic chateau. "Just like I have a flat and a garden, I'll have a chateau," he said.

Petrík, who is head of the ministry's section of local administration, said he would secure the money through a loan from a foreign banks but he refused to reveal which banks would be backing him.

If the banks refuse to lend him money as a private individual, he says he is prepared to leave his ministry post and start a company.

Petrík plans to fix the run down chateau, built 1633 and re-built in the late 19th century, and make it a congress centre and a democracy institute where he would organise educational courses for local mayors and regional politicians.

"I found it for sale on the internet and I liked it," Petrík said. Two years ago he said he tried to persuade Galanta's representatives to jointly reconstruct the chateau.

But the Head of the Galanta's Town's Office, Miroslav Psota, said: "We didn't have enough money." He added that Galanta would have had to contribute between Sk40 and Sk50 million ($850,000 to $1.1 million), money it did not have.

Psota confirmed that Petrík has signed a contract on the chateau's purchase and is due to pay by the end of January. The contract binds Petrík to reconstruct the building within six years. Psota said a moderate estimate of reconstruction expenses were between Sk100 and 150 million ($2.1 to $3.2 million) .

Petrík's boss, Interior Ministry's state secretary Ivan Budiak says he sees no problems with his employee buying a chateau, even if it is proved that Petrík used his contacts as a state employee to secure financial backing for his project.

"When people meet and are able to find a way to solve things and help get certain foreign sources that can be used effectively in our country, then I don't see it as an evil thing," Budiak said on January 14.

However, he added that if Petrík had to become a legal entity to secure his loan, he would not be allowed to work in the ministry anymore.

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