Warsaw mayor’s husband acts on order over house restitution

January 8, 2018

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 file photo, shows an apartment building freshly renovated by an international developer group that bought the house from the husband of Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, in Warsaw, Poland. Warsaw town hall says the city mayor’s husband has returned money obtained from property restitution that was found to be unlawful, a case that had burdened Poland’s main centrist opposition party. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The husband and daughter of Warsaw’s city mayor have returned money obtained from a property restitution deal that was deemed to be unlawful.

Warsaw town hall said Monday that the husband and daughter of Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz have returned some 1.1 million zlotys ($318,000) each to the city’s coffers.

Gronkiewicz-Waltz, who has been mayor since 2006, has been accused of turning a blind eye to irregularities in the restitution program.

She had been a prominent member of the centrist, pro-European Union party Civic Platform — currently the main, albeit weak, opposition to the right-wing government. The party has recently distanced itself from her and she has said she will not seek re-election.

The house in question originally belonged to a Jewish family that perished in the Holocaust. It was illegally acquired by speculators right after World War II and later sold to a member of the family of the mayor’s husband. It was then seized by the communist authorities, and recently claimed back by the Warsaw mayor’s family, in a procedure pronounced unlawful.

The restitution process since the collapse of communism has led to many irregularities. The current Polish government has established a commission to investigate and reverse wrong decisions.

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