Money passed by the cathedral

The report of the French Chamber of Accounts on the state of affairs with the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral attracted the attention of the French. And there was something. The fact is that the controllers first of all carefully studied the financial side of the restoration work, and more specifically, they analyzed how the funds donated for the revival of the temple are spent after the devastating fire in April last year.

Recall that since then, almost 340 thousand individuals and companies, including the richest French, have transferred a huge amount for the restoration – 835 million euros. It is clear that the money did not go directly to Notre Dame, but to special funds created for this purpose. So, according to the Chamber of Accounts, some of them used up to half a million euros of the funds received for their own administrative expenses, which, we note, does not fit with the high principles of charity.

But the main complaint, as it was formulated by the chairman of the chamber, Pierre Moskovisi, is directed at the head structure for the rehabilitation of Notre Dame – a state institution created at the initiative of President Emmanuel Macron and under the auspices of the local Ministry of Culture. It is it that is called upon to plan and carry out all work in the main temple of the country. According to Pierre Moskovisi, it was found that the five million euros spent annually on the operation of this institution, including the salaries of employees, the rental of an office with an area of ​​almost 500 square meters, are covered by donor contributions.

“We are not sure that the donors wanted to finance the salaries of these people, as well as pay for their headquarters, which is not directly related to the restoration of the cathedral,” he said with his usual diplomacy (not without reason he spent many years in Brussels in as one of the commissioners of the European Commission), in fact, about the misuse of donated millions. According to Moskovisi, the money for this organization should be allocated by the Ministry of Culture itself, especially since a quarter of its staff are engaged in projects that are not strongly associated with Notre Dame.

The Audit Chamber is also surprised that the Ministry of Culture has not yet initiated its own administrative investigation into the dramatic event that shook the whole of France, and not only. Indeed, it has not yet been established with certainty what led to the fire. According to preliminary results of an official investigation, the cause of the fire could have been a short circuit or an unextinguished cigarette butt. Nevertheless, it is now absolutely clear that negligence was committed in the maintenance of Notre Dame’s power equipment, and round-the-clock surveillance over it was canceled shortly before the emergency. And this means that someone had to bear responsibility for this, insist in the Accounts Chamber.

The report of the Accounts Chamber refers to the misuse of millions donated to Notre Dame

To date, according to some sources, about 160 million euros of donations have already been spent. According to the archbishop of Paris, Michel Opeti, “the stabilization of the cathedral has been completed, and the actual restoration can be started in January 2021.” But before that, in the coming months, it is necessary to completely disassemble 200 tons of metal scaffolding that were erected on the top of the cathedral even before the fire and were deformed under the influence of fire. This is now being done in shifts by two teams of industrial climbers. Experts have also begun restoring a large temple organ, consisting of 8,000 pipes and hundreds of wood and metal parts. The flame passed, but the musical instrument, unique in sound, was subjected to thermal shock and suffered from water when extinguishing the fire. It should now be disassembled, thoroughly cleaned and adjusted. According to experts, this will take at least two years.