Ignazio Marino is in some pretty deep shit. The ever-embattled mayor was caught charging 20,000 euros on meals to the budget of the ancient capitol that is Rome.
Photo via Flickr user booleansplit
Ignazio Marino is in some pretty deep shit. The avid cyclist, former liver transplant surgeon, and current mayor of Rome is facing calls to resign amid a scandal that has rocked his administration to the core. The ever-embattled mayor, who seems to have a serious beef with the Pope, was caught charging 20,000 euros in meals to the budget of the ancient capitol that is Rome. He has since faced allegations that the "official meals" he put in claims for on an expense report were in fact non-official outings with friends and family.
Rome's deputy mayor and executive transport councilor have resigned in the wake of the scandal. Now members of Marino's own Democratic Party are demanding his resignation. Ansa reported that President of the Democratic Party, Matteo Orfini, and Paolo Centro, the secretary of Left, Ecology and Freedom (SEL), have both stated that if Mayor Marino did not resign before 4 PM today, they would each file no-confidence motions with city hall against him.
Hell, executive transport councilor Stefano Esposito ominously went so far as to say that the dining debacle would "inevitably lead to the end of this administration."
Marino has so far resisted all demands to resign and stated in a Facebook post that even though all of the roughly $22,559 he spent was legitimate and for "official business," he himself will pay for the charges in question—as a gift to the city.
"With this gesture I want to draw a line under the pointless and surreal polemics of recent days, which do Rome no good," wrote the center-left politician.
That seems to be wishful thinking at best, considering Italian media was dominated by the story yesterday. Various local newspapers even published evidence suggesting that Marino and his wife alone attended at least a handful of the meals.
Lavish dinners aside, this certainly isn't the first time Marino has faced controversy since his 2013 election. Previous scandals range from the time he drove his Fiat Panda through traffic-restricted areas of Rome with an expired permit, to the time he was forced to resign as director of a transplant center in Sicily after filing the same expense report with both the center and its US affiliate.
Marino's supporters, on the other hand, are claiming that this is simply part of a diabolical smear campaign launched after Marino helped to expose the clandestine "Mafia Capitale" network last year. That network consisted of dozens of local businessmen and politicians who are about to go on trial for embezzling millions of euros from the city's public services.
Maybe scandals are inevitable in Italian politics. So, if you're going to get embroiled in one, you might as well get some good meals out of it.