Taipei Mayor Ko says Far­glory con­ces­sion fee of­fer re­jected

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ) yes­ter­day claimed his ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­jected Far­glory’s of­fer of a huge sum of money to set­tle the Taipei Dome row, as the city gives top pri­or­ity to re­solv­ing public safety is­sues aris­ing from the base­ball sta­dium project.

But Far­glory re­sponded to Ko’s claims by al­leg­ing that the city re­jected the of­fer be­cause the sum the de­vel­oper of­fered was in­suf­fi­cient.

Ko made his claims while ad­dress­ing a fo­rum on the safety is­sues sur­round­ing the Taipei Dome project.

The meet­ing, which brought to­gether city of­fi­cials, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s Con­struc­tion and Plan­ning Agency ( CPA), and ex­ec­u­tives and ar­chi­tects from Far­glory, was look­ing to reach a con­sen­sus on how the row could be re­solved.

But the ef­fort ap­par­ently failed, as the city ad­min­is­tra­tion and the de­vel­oper con­tin­ued to trade blows with­out show­ing any signs that a so­lu­tion would be pos­si­ble.

Ko, con­demn­ing the greed­i­ness of busi­nesses, claimed Far­glory had at­tempted to buy its way out of the trou­ble by of­fer­ing NT$3 bil­lion in con­ces­sion fees to the city gov­ern­ment.

But the mayor said his ad­min­is­tra­tion re­jected the of­fer, be­cause the core of the row is about public safety.

He said the present im­passe is down to two fac­tors: the greed­i­ness of big busi­nesses and the com­pli­cated re­la­tions be­tween pol­i­tics and busi­ness.

Far­glory should have fo­cused on find­ing ways to im­prove safety at the sta­dium, but in­stead it chose to avoid re­spon­si­bil­ity, Ko said.

“The greed of this gen­er­a­tion will be­come the bur­den of the next gen­er­a­tion; the ne­glect of this gen­er­a­tion will be­come the dis­as­ter of the gen­er­a­tion,” Ko said.

But the Far­glory side re­fused to take the blame.

The Cen­tral News Agency cited Far­glory rep­re­sen­ta­tives as claim­ing af­ter the meet­ing that the de­vel­oper had ac­tu­ally of­fered NT$4.5 bil­lion in con­ces­sion fees, but the Ko ad­min­is­tra­tion re­jected it, think­ing the amount was not enough.

Far­glory Gen­eral Manager Tang Chia- feng, speak­ing dur­ing the fo­rum, said his com­pany has been ig­nor­ing what he called “con­stant smears” by the me­dia over the past two months over the Dome row, but it has been lis­ten­ing care­fully to what the gov­ern­ment has had to say.

Tang added the mes­sages re­ceived at the fo­rum show con­fu­sion within the city gov­ern­ment.

He said Far­glory would have had no ob­jec­tion to hold­ing such a fo­rum on public safety be­fore the con­tract was awarded, but the project is now al­most com­plete.

He claimed the city gov­ern­ment is mis­un­der­stand­ing its role by re­ject­ing what has been pre­vi­ously ap­proved.

Tang ques­tioned the le­git­i­macy of the safety in­spec­tion task force that Ko has ap­pointed, ask­ing whether it could take over the author­ity of the CPA that ap­proved the Dome project.

He said the city gov­ern­ment has so far failed to clearly state which laws that Far­glory have al­legedly bro­ken.

He said much was said dur­ing the meet­ing, but a so­lu­tion re­mains elu­sive. He de­manded that an in­de­pen­dent third party be em­ployed to ex­am­ine the fa­cil­i­ties that have al­ready con­structed at the Dome to see if they are safe.

The city has suspended con­struc­tion on the sta­dium, but work on bol­ster­ing the foun­da­tion has been al­lowed to con­tinue to pre­vent cave-ins in neigh­bor­ing ar­eas.

CNA

Aca­demics, lo­cal of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Far­glory Group ad­dress a fo­rum on the safety is­sues sur­round­ing the Taipei Dome project. At the fo­rum, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ) claimed his ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­jected Far­glory’s of­fer of a huge sum of money to set­tle the Taipei Dome row.

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