Remarks by former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) linking former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to Taipei’s controversial contract with Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) came under fire from Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), on Friday.
“Farglory won its appeal to the [Executive Yuan’s] Public Construction Commission was because of the problematic process under which the Taipei City Government declared Farglory’s bid invalid — not because the Chen administration gave Farglory any endorsement whatsoever,” Chen Chih-chung said in a Facebook post, adding that Hau and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration should quit “spitting ink.”
Hau was quoted in the Chinese-language United Daily News as saying that when Ma was Taipei mayor, he sought to terminate the city’s contract with Farglory to construct the Taipei Dome, only to be rebuffed by the Public Construction Commission under the Chen Shui-bian administration.
Hau was responding to rumors that the city government’s Clean Government Commission found evidence that Ma sought to illegally benefit from Farglory during contract negotiations. Hau said that Ma’s seeking to terminate Farglory’s contract made no sense if there was a “secret agreement” between the city government and the corporation.
The Chinese-langugae Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported that negotiation recordings emerged in which Lee Sush-der (李述德) — the former commissioner of Taipei’s Department of Finance when Ma was mayor — states that Ma had agreed to reduce site royalties to be paid by the firm to zero following a meeting with Farglory chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄).
Farglory public relations department vice president Tsai Chung-i (蔡宗易) last week acknowledged that the meeting had taken place, saying that it was to confirm a pre-existing consensus rather than to adjust the firm’s royalties. Under the city’s bidding guidelines, the firm could propose site royalties anywhere from zero to 1 percent, he said.
The Public Construction Commission said the scope of its decision only covered the legality of the city government’s refusal to allow Farglory to switch subcontractors — but did not include the contract negotiation process, royalties, rent, or safety and operational issues.
The city sought to declare Farglory’s original bid invalid due to concerns over the firm’s ability to complete the Taipei Dome project when the original design firm — which Farglory had subcontracted — pulled out of the project.
Meanwhile, media personality Clara Chou (周玉蔻) yesterday posted copies of official documents signed by Ma, which purported to show that he agreed to reduce the firm’s deposit for its Dome bid from NT$800 million (US$25.67 million) to NT$300 million. She said the firm’s deposit for the NT$17 billion construction project was ultimately reduced to only NT$100 million.
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