In a recent interview with business daily Äripäev journalist Vilja Kiisler, businessman Urmas Sõõrumaa, who is running for Tallinn City Council in the local elections this October, reacted harshly when asked questions about his businesses' contracts with the city and possible ties to the company AS Signaal.
In the course of the 20-minute interview, Kiisler asked Sõõrumaa whether he was interested in getting into politics in order to maintain lucrative contracts with the city for Tallinn school rentals, Sõõruma became visibly agitated and stated that the contract was the result of fair competition.
"Don't play with words, little girl with blonde hair, because this could lead to a court case," said Sõõrumaa, wagging his finger at the reporter.
When Kiisler inquired about whether Sõõrumaa was connected in any way to Tallinn City Council contractor AS Signaal, which handles road signs and road surface markings, Sõõrumaa once again became visibly agitated.
"How can you ask such stupid questions?" he asked. "I'm not, I don't! I have said that ten times already and will say it again." He added that he couldn't guess as to the cause behind such speculation. "I guess I am so amazing that I am associated with who knows what."
The interviewer also asked whether Sõõrumaa could end up with a classic case of conflict of interest by going into politics due to the fact that he is currently already serving as chairman of the Estonian Olympic Committee, and brought up previous EOC chairman Neinar Seli, who was criminally convicted after a conflict of interest arose in connection with his simultaneously serving in two different capacities.
"Do you have someone — anyone — who understands any sort of legal or financial matters, that could ask me?" he countered. "The City of Tallinn is communal policy. What do the EOC, city council and serving on both have to do with this?"
Sõõrumaa announced in July that he will be running for Tallinn City Council with his own election list in the local elections this fall.
The 2017 local elections in Estonia are scheduled for Oct. 15.
Editor: Aili Vahtla