Downfall of “3-play” mayor leaves city in huge debt – Zhang Huayong

From Oriental Net via Yulun Jiandu (link), translated by CDT:

The legacy of Lei Yuanli, former vice mayor of Hunan‘s Chenzhou City and party secretary of Yongxing County, includes impressive urbanization projects that changed the local landscape, a county version of the People’s Congress Hall at Yongxing, and massive debts from his construction programs.

“People say in private that I am a ‘three-play’ cadre, who plays with power, with money and with women, I think that’s true,” confessed Lei in his self-reflection letter to the Hunan Provincial Party Committee of Discipline Inspection after being taken down.

Lei was accused of taking bribes worth more than 9 million yuan ($1.2 million), misusing public funds worth 26 million yuan ($3.3 million) and embezzling public funds of 180,000 yuan, among other counts. Investigators found 11 million yuan ($1.5 million) in cash and properties from Lei’s wife and mistress.

The “three-play” mayor fell after the investigation of another city official in charge of public housing funds, Li Shubiao, for misusing 120 million ($15 million) of housing funds, in which deals Lei was his associate. From 2002 to 2004, Li squandered 80 million yuan of public funds ($10 million) in his gambling trips to Macau.

Lei’s ambitious city-building programs not only left his city debt laden, but also defaulted on many payables to construction companies, who had all wanted to grab a piece of the pie in the city’s construction spree for profits and only found themselves owed hundreds of millions of yuan by the city government.

But some construction companies are grateful for Lei’s “help” in cutting red tape for their deals. “Real Estate bosses send money to Lei is not a transaction, less bribing,” a real estate company executive said. “This is all a heart-felt appreciation of help from them.”

When Lei was promoted from party secretary of Yongxing County to be a vice mayor of Chenzhou, other county officials didn’t allow him to go as his construction projects left the county government in debt totaling several hundred million yuan. Armed police were called in to escort him to leave.

One of the county’s projects, its version of the People’s Congress Hall, was built on the idea of the one in Beijing and has a meeting room for each township in the county, but each township had to pay for their share of the buidling cost. Originally budgeted at 10 million yuan ($1.2 million), the County Hall ended up costing 27 million yuan ($3.5 million), and thus most township residents had to dig into their own pockets to pay for the Congress Hall.

A retired county cadre said that Lei’s projects in the county were impressive so officials above promoted him to lead the city’s urban construction. But the cadre also noted, now some officials’ political achievements are exactly the pains of the public, but the strange thing is, the more frustrated the public is, the faster these officials get promoted.

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