The Management Commission of the Grand Council of Vaud released its report on Friday on the Beaulieu Foundation debacle. It concluded that the canton’s currency, nearly 70 million francs, had been used correctly. On the other hand, it emphasizes a vague governance.
“To our knowledge, there is no scandal or embezzlement of cantonal money”, explains Keystone-ATS Monique Ryf, president of the Management Commission (COGES). The two credits of 30 million (1999) and 36.8 million (2009) francs were ‘used for what they intended’ with respect to Beaulieu, a historic site of fairs and congresses in Lausanne, she said.
These two amounts were approved by the Grand Council. The 30 million capital endowment in 1999 was used to repay the debts of the Beaulieu Cooperative Society, but the Beaulieu Foundation (FdB) did not find the capacity to finance the necessary new investments. 36.8 million in 2009 was used for the reconstruction of Halles Sud, confirms COGES.
CEP declined in 2020
COGES ’investigative work follows the refusal of Vaud MPs to set up a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CEP) in September 2020. The COGES mandate only deals with the use of cantonal credits in this case. .
After repaying the debts, the FdB did not find the ‘ability to finance the necessary new investments’, however, the COGES report said. As for the 36.8 million, they were part of an investment strategy of 100 million, which did not take place, which also provided for the renovation of North Halles and heavy maintenance work on the main building ’, he added.
The dilapidated state of the site and the extent of the work are also underestimated, the report continues. COGES was also surprised at the lack of inventory of the buildings at the time of the acquisition of the Beaulieu Cooperative Society by FdB to replace it.
‘Complex and mixed management’
Ultimately, the report points to ‘fuzzy governance’ and clearly ‘improvable’. The strategic vision for Beaulieu is based on a ‘very positive and extremely optimistic’ business model in terms of holding fairs, congresses, events and exhibitions, ‘so all economic signs are showed a decrease in attendance ‘, said Ms. Ryf.
The Foundation Council (CdF) inquiry is too late, it is struggling to rethink the economic model, COGES wrote.
The failure of the Taoua high tower project in 2014 also forced a strategic reorientation towards greater diversity of activities and actors, ’but the structure and management of CdF was not adapted to the new missions that would emerge. intended FdB, which went from the real estate operator to the operator in charge of hosting the events.
Here, COGES denounced a “complex and mixed” governance between the authorities of the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud that showed all its limitations, paralyzing decision-making and explaining a vague governance, summarizes the report.
No one dared to pull the Comptoir Suisse
Each party has transferred responsibility for the future of the site, a showcase for both the City and Canton. ‘No authority has dared to bear responsibility for the most violent measures, such as the‘ pulling hold of Beaulieu ’, as indicated by Comptoir suisse’, COGES wrote.
It also goes back to the ‘complexity and opacity of the accounts as well as the organization formed by the Secretary General at the time, which limited the monitoring of CdF representatives’. However, he believed they could have been “more assertive and patient with their demands”, noting that “a certain ambiguity” also reigned about the interactions between the State and its representatives in the CdF.
The lack of curiosity that can also be attributed to the auditors, both from 1999 to 2017, who despite the situation, did not find any violations, challenges the report.
As a reminder, in the spring of 2020 a criminal investigation against the former secretary general of the FdB (2001-2017) was reopened, which had already been cleared, at the request of the Cantonal Court to determine the possible case of fraud. He faced many suspicions: overcharging, opacity in accounts or orders awarded to relatives without calls for tenders.
Today, the Beaulieu site was exclusively taken over by the City of Lausanne, creating a public limited company, and the FdB was therefore dissolved.