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Scandal in Floresti: The Mayor Blocked the Door of Flor TV’s Office, and the TV Channel Management Complained to the Police and Prosecutor's Office

16 July 2019
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On 12 July, mayor of Floresti Valeriu Ceapa ordered to change the lock at the door of Flor TV, located in the Mayor Office’s building. He claims that the media outlet owes debts to the Mayor’s Office and that he no longer wishes to extend the leasing contract with Flor TV.
Flor TV filmed the incident of 12 July and published it on social networks. The published video shows how a person, upon indication of Mayor Valeriu Ceapa, changes the lock on the entrance door of the headquarters of Flor TV. Valeriu Postolachi, director of the TV channel claiming that Mayor and an unknown person have changed the lock on the door, also features in this video.

Postolachi also called the police, but Mayor did not stop, stating that he had the right to manage the property of Mayor’s Office as he sees fit. In the video, Valeriu Ceapa also says that he wants to give this space in the basement of Mayor’s Office to a municipal enterprise, without specifying to whom.
In the same video, Mayor also argued that as far back as August last year, management of the TV channel was announced that Mayor’s Office would no longer extend the leasing contract with Flor TV and that journalists should have left the premises as far back as in January 2019. He mentioned that he no longer wishes to extend the leasing contract.

When contacted by the Independent Journalism Center, director of the TV channel Valeriu Postolachi told us that he filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office and police, and has been waiting for their decision. Until then, law enforcement bodies recommended TV channel representatives to install a new lock on the door and continue their activity.
Postolachi said that the TV channel has historical debts owed to the Mayor’s Office, but they are not connected with the leasing contract and date back to 2008, when another Mayor was the head of the public authority.
Moreover, Flor TV director told us that the Mayor’s Office has debts (of about MDL 35,000) owed to the TV channel for services provision, and that he applied to the court to recover them. The judge allegedly answered him that case would be reviewed in September 2019, postponing the decision at the Mayor’s insistence.

Postolachi said that in January 2019 Mayor’s Office warned him about the intention not to extend the leasing contract. At the same time, he said that at the end of December 2018 representatives of TV channel filed repeated requests to Mayor to extend the leasing contract, but he did not respond to these requests. The director of TV channel said that, according to the law, if authorities do not respond to such requests, the leasing contract is tacitly extended automatically.
Moreover, according to Postolachi, the extension or termination of such contracts fall within the competence of the town councli, but the counsellors were not informed about the request of the channel.
According to Postolachi, Mayor’s decision not to extend the contract with Flor TV would also have another explanation. The Mayor was allegedly objected several times not to meddle in activity of the channel, because he intervened in the editing department to dictate what to leave and what do not, justifying his indications by the fact that Mayor’s Office pays for advertising or other services.

In his turn, Mayor of Floresti Valeriu Ceapa confirmed for Media-azi.md that as far back as August 2018 he issued an order which terminated the leasing contract with Flor TV of January 2019, and manager of TV channel was informed about this order, as confirmed by the signature. According to Mayor, Flor TV and Postolachi ‘illegally took over the headquarters at the beginning of the year and continue to occupy it so far.
Valeriu Ceapa also has an explanation regarding accusations of interference in the activity of TV channel, brought by the manager of TV channel. Ceapa said that he only asked the channel to make more reports about reparation of pavements, arguing that he pays the TV channel for various services.

He also denied that the Mayor’s Office would have debts owed to Flor TV. Currently, according to the Mayor, law enforcers investigate the case.
Note that Flor TV has been renting space in Floresti Mayor’s Office for about 27 years.