Newspaper: Enterprise Estonia tried to save Ärma Farm with state funds (1)
In 2012, Maria Alajõe, then-chairman of the board at Enterprise Estonia, examined the possibility of leaving the 190,000-euro support paid out to OÜ Ermamaa, the company that belonged to former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves' then-wife Evelin Ilves at the time, to be shouldered entirely by Estonian taxpayers.
Daily Postimees wrote (link in Estonian) on Thursday that the letter sent to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure by Enterprise Estonia's then-chairman of the board Alajõe in 2012 displayed evidence of not treating the Estonian president and his wife as equal citizens of the country.
The election of Toomas Hendrik Ilves, then-husband of Ermamaa owner Evelin ilves, to a second term as president was, according to Alajõe's letter, an unexpected enough circumstance to leave the project's failure to achieve its objectives to be paid for at the expense of Estonian taxpayers, the daily paper noted.
While Ermamaa received funds from the tourism business product development and marketing program of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Alajõe sought to find out if the Minstry of Economic Affairs found it would be unreasonable to cover the recovery of said funds from the Phare program, whose objective was to support Eastern European countries preceding their joining of the EU.
This proposal made then-Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts angry, and he ordered her to take it back immediately. Parts also told the supervisory board of Enterprise Estonia that if such unethical proposals were being made to a minister, then it was time for the supervisory board to seek new leadership.