The mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle, was heard in police custody for several hours on Tuesday, June 1 in the investigation into the attribution of the organization of the Tile Festival. The city councilor went on summons from the financial brigade to the premises of the judicial police of Valence (Drôme) where the preliminary investigation is being carried out, we learned from corroborating sources, confirming information from the Dauphiné Liberated.
He left the premises of the judicial police, rejecting the suspicions of favoritism weighing on his majority. “After a detailed hearing, this custody was lifted this evening at 5.45 p.m. without a decision having yet been taken on the direction given to this investigation and possible legal proceedings”, said the public prosecutor of Valencia in a press release, adding that “additional investigations are continuing”.
The suspicions relate to the organization of the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Fête des tuiles, a major festive event that honors Grenoble associations. The Regional Chamber of Accounts issued a report to the Valence prosecutor’s office in 2018, where the investigation was disoriented, for suspicion of favoritism in the attribution of the organization of the event. The investigation aims to determine whether the Fusées association, close to the majority, has been favored by the Grenoble municipality.
“I am in the service of justice as the boss of the municipal administration, that’s quite normal. I answered their questions”, declared Eric Piolle on his release from police custody. “Today there is an administration which has done its job, there is justice which is doing its job. It is under attack from all sides so I will not politicize this affair., continued the ecologist councilor in front of the press. I am a litigant like Mr. and Mrs. everyone. There is nothing new today compared to the elements that you have read in the report of the Regional Chamber of Accounts. “
Rockets were awarded these contracts in 2015 and 2016 “without advertising or competition” while the law requires it, according to the Regional Chamber of Accounts. These markets amount to 123,455 euros in 2015 and 128,909 the following year, we can read in this same report.
For another contract relating to this festival, an estimate having the value of a contract “has been the subject of an attempt to erase the dates of receipt”, which allowed “not to include inconsistent dates”, emphasizes the Court. According to her, the award of these contracts “has several significant irregularities”, the rules of publicity and competition not having “not respected” and the municipal council having “not been properly informed”.
Two Grenobloises close to the former mayor of Grenoble Alain Carignon (LR) had filed a first complaint, then another, against X in September 2019, with the constitution of civil party. This second complaint did not give rise to the seizure of an examining magistrate for procedural reasons.
According to our information, personnel from the city of Grenoble have already been heard in this case. But this is the first time that the environmentalist mayor has been heard in police custody. He spoke on this case in 2018, considering that it was a “new attack from his political opponents”. Faced with the investigators, he therefore had to justify himself concerning the conditions for the award of the two public contracts. “There is no need to deny anything. There is a technical debate put forward by the Regional Chamber of Accounts on the choice between two public procurement procedures (…) It is a technical debate”, said Eric Piolle in front of the premises of the Valencia police.
“It’s clearly an arrangement between friends”, estimates a former elected of the majority contacted by AFP. It evokes “strong relationships” between the city councilor and the association whose co-founder was part of Eric Piolle’s support committee for the 2014 municipal elections. Another former municipal councilor interviewed by France 3 Alpes speaks of “unmistakable proximity” between Eric Piolle and the co-founder of this association. Fusées was also a provider of Eric Piolle’s campaign in 2014. It was commissioned to put up election posters.
Contacted, the entourage of the mayor of Grenoble did not wish to react. Several politicians have expressed their support for Eric Piolle. “I express my esteem and friendship to Eric Piolle. I am sure that his decision concerning the Tile Festival was the right one”, said the leader of the Insoumis, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, on Twitter. For the national secretary of Europe-Ecology Les Verts (EELV) Julien Bayou, this custody is “the opportunity to defend the city’s position and explain why this decision is perfectly legal.” “Unlike others, our elected officials do not flee or denigrate justice”, he adds.