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Kassab | Politics and Blood Sport


Anderson Silva falls short in his bid to regain the Ultimate Fighting world champion belt

Item: Fausto Macedo, Estado de S. Paulo

I am not from here, but I pay my IPTU like clockwork and so I feel entitled to kvetch about the doings of City Hall –the maldita prefeitura.

When the last mayor — he is a real estate broker in civilian life, and legislates like one, too — moved into his office, for example, I recall reading in the ESP how he slotted his brothers and their friends into key positions at SPTrans (municipal buses) and the Metrô (subway), and other patronage jobs. It would take some doing to track the comings and goings at these public companies and agencies, but the Estado has clearly put some time and thought into trying to do so.

The major papers barely mentioned the potential nepotism at the time — for God’s sake, the man was a Malufist for decades! –and never connected the mayor with corrupt administrations in which he took an active part as an alderman, municipal secretary and deputy mayor to the late Celso Pitta, who apparently moonlighted as a fixed income investment salesman.

The Kassab bio on Wikipedia does little to fill in the gaps. Remind me to edit my own entry to reflect my Nobel Peace Prize and downplay that drunken spree in Amarillo, Texas.

Fausto Macedo and Ricardo Chapola report.

The ex-mayor authorized a R$ 2.5 million contract that dispensed with competitive bidding  with a company, IMX Esporte e Entretenimento Ltda., that was to host an event known as UFC — «ultimate fighting» — Brasil.

Kassab (PSD), a candidate for the federal senate on the slate of Paulo Skaf (PMDB), is the target of a public interest civil suit accusing him of improprieties. The state’s attorney accuses Kassab of authorizing, in December 2012, a letter of intent to contract IMX Esporte e Entretenimento Ltda. for the UFC Brasil event to be held at the Ibirapuera gymnasium, at a cost of  R$ 2.5 million.

The case was filed by judge Alexandra Fuchs de Araújo of the public treasury. She accepted the arguments of prosecutors Valter Santin and José Carlos Blat. Also named in the suit were IMX exec and former municipal secretary of sports Antonio Moreno Neto.

The prosecutors maintain that the deal represented «an abusive and excessive use of public funds in a non-Olympic event», and that the actions of the defendants «violated the principles of public administration, depriving  the city coffers of funds to the detriment of  proper management of the municipal budget and the public interest.»

Kassab said, through his press secretary, that his administration «rigorously complied with the legal prerequisites for public contracting,» and that the agreement regarding the UFC event «was accepted based on technical criteria by the municipal secretary of sports».  Kassab alleges that no payments were ever made. The former sports secretary says,  “I agree with Kassab.” IMX released no statement.

The Estado closes by reproducing the original documents on which the story is based — the arguments of  plaintiff and the defendants — in PDF format. I like that in a New Media newspaper: You can check the details for yourself if you want or need to.

A passage from the indictment:

They (the defendants) did harm the statutes regarding impersonality [nonpartisanship] and publicity, given that the event was used by then-mayor Gilberto Kassab, to promote himself personally, without promoting the public interest and without celebrating a competitive bidding process. 

I remember the mini-scandal when a ranking PT leader was photographed attending a cock fight. UFC is just the human equivalent.

... Seria inegável, para o autor, que a atuação dos réus, na conduta de contratar empresa privada sem prévia licitação . para copatrocínio ou serviço de publicidade de evento comporta prática de ação dolosa de perda patrimonial, ao facilitar ou concorrer para a incorporação ao patrimônio particular de verbas do município, através, também, do uso de bem público sem o pagamento de qualquer valor, aproveitando-se de convênio com o Governo do Estado de São Paulo. Os réus Kassab e Moreno Neto também teriam praticado atos atentatórios aos princípios da administração por violar os deveres de honestidade, legalidade, lealdade e imparcialidade ao contratar a empresa IMX, que teria participado de atividade ilícita, imoral e pcssoal em conluio com as vontades de Kassab e Moreno Neto …

Sporting and cultural events are often used in bribery and laundering scheme, as the «big monthly payola» cases involving the PT and the PSDB demonstrate — they both used the same shady PR operator to move cash around.