Commune sues Grand Prix boss over trees
29 August 2005
BRUSSELS – The organisers of Grand Prix motor racing in Belgium are being sued for cutting down trees near the track without permission.
On Monday, the council of Malmedy, one of the districts where the race takes place, announced that the local authority would be taking Didier Defourny Grand Prix (DDGP) to court.
DDGP is already facing legal action from Malmedy and another Belgian commune, Stavelot, for refusing to pay more than EUR 1.3 million of local taxes linked to the 2004 event.
The taxes are reported to be owed to the Malmedy and Stavelot communes where the Belgian Grand Prix circuit is based and to the authorities governing the circuit’s infrastructure.
The latest dispute is over cutting back trees which are on property owned by Malmedy commune.
“During the time when the perception of the communal tax wasn’t contested, we found it normal to put these areas at the disposition of the organiser,” said MR councillor Robert Denis. “That’s no longer the case.”
Denis said the councillor was negotiating over the renting of the land near the race course, but hadn’t reached a formal agreement.
DDGP started to cut trees in order to make a larger area for the VIP village for sponsors. Malmedy council sent the police to halt the works and made an official legal complaint.
“Mr Defourny must learn that he can’t do what he wants,” said Denis.
The Formula 1 in Francorchamps starts on 11 September.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news