Mayor of Italy earthquake town resigns over bribery scandal linked to rebuilding contracts
ROME - Agence France-Presse
L'Aquila's mayor Massimo Cialente, center, meets reporters during a news conference in L'Aquila, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013.The mayor of the Italian town of L'Aquila, which was partially destroyed in a 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people, stepped down Jan. 11 following a corruption scandal involving members of his team.
"I have no legitimacy left. I am tired. I am angry. I have suffered a full-on media attack. That is why I am resigning," Massimo Cialente told reporters.
"I have understood that I am no longer useful in this town and I am maybe even an obstacle," he added. Four people from his administration were placed under house arrest Jan. 8 for alleged bribery linked to reconstruction contracts following the earthquake in the central Italian town.
Four more have been notified they are under investigation, including deputy mayor Roberto Riga and a local official in charge of restoring damaged monuments.
Police said the eight people under investigation received a total of 500,000 euros in kickbacks from construction firms.
They are also accused of falsifying papers to receive 1.2 million euros in public funds and one is suspected of profiting from the sale of post-quake housing.
L'Aquila and the surrounding area in the Apennine mountains were devastated by the earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale and many buildings in the city centre still lie in ruins, with few signs of the hundreds of millions of euros spent on reconstruction.