Central Bank Disputes Wasteful Luxury Properties (2)
Emotions flared at a recent Bank of Estonia supervisory board meeting, when Chairman Jaan Männik allegedly lost his temper because bankers are stubbornly clenching onto two luxurious but useless properties.
The Maardu Manor and Kuressaare convention center have been a financial pain for the bank, together costing an annual 130,000 euros in maintenance expenses, reported Eesti Päevaleht.
Acquired by in 1993 for 255,700 euros, the Maardu Manor was initially supposed to serve as a banking and financial training center. But the 14th-century mansion-for-rent, now used for conferences and parties, has turned out to be an investment - maintenance costs totalled 85,400 euros last year, only 30 percent of which was compensated by rent revenue. Last year, the aristocratic residence was used on 67 occasions - 16 times for the bank's seminars and meetings, 18 times for employees' discounted private events, and 33 times for third companies and state agencies.
Another disputed property is a convention center in Saaremaa. Once the historic headquarters of the Bank of Estonia, from 1924 till the Soviet occupation in 1940, the property was returned to the bank in 1998, partly as a backup center for emergency situations.
The central bank has for years wanted to sell both properties, but the economic recession put the plans on hold because real estate prices declined so sharply, according to the bank's press secretary, Ingrid Mitt.
The bank's executive board is now reviewing its options.