In Puy-en-Velay, the town hall accused of rigging a public market

The case has nothing to clean up the political climate that reigns in Puy-en-Velay. Tuesday, March 29, around thirty gendarmes, accompanied by magistrates from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, searched the premises of the town hall and the urban community of Puy-en-Velay, and the homes of several people, as part of an investigation for favouritism, corruption and influence peddling.

In question, a pretty metal hall in the Baltard style, built in the 1880s, on the Place du Marché-Couvert. During 2020, the municipality decided to rehabilitate the building, then to entrust its management to an operator, through a public service delegation. The idea: to develop a “gourmet” space, to enhance the hall and its surroundings.

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Very quickly, two projects clashed: that of Guillaume Fourcade, which offers a burger restaurant coupled with a microbrewery, and that of Alexis Haon, centered on promoting local products, with a restaurant and several shops on the circuit. short. At the end of 2021, the verdict falls: it is Mr. Fourcade who wins the pompom. In principle, the work should be completed in July 2022, for commissioning in September.

Clandestine recordings

However, things are not going as planned. Because, in February, two complaints are filed by Alexis Haon, who accuses the city of Puy-en-Velay of having rigged the process. Better, clandestine recordings are added to the file. Made for four months, in different rooms of the town hall, the audio recordings reveal that several people worked behind the scenes to benefit the Fourcade file, to the detriment of its competitor. Several municipal officials are accused of having given a famous boost to Mr. Fourcade, including by partially rewriting his file to strengthen him.

Although this one is notoriously weak, in particular on the accounting level, there was apparently no question of dropping the favorite… which is also the choice of the mayor close to Laurent Wauquiez, Michel Chapuis, and especially that of the president of region in person, as the recordings show. Or rather, it was absolutely necessary to avoid a victory for Alexis Haon, which would have angered Mr. Wauquiez a lot. It is true that, in 2020, the young restaurateur had committed an imprudence: he had presented himself, in an eligible position, on a list of union of the left, during the municipal elections finally won by Mr. Chapuis.

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