Business mixes with politics in Viimsi, Estonia’s richest municipality07.09.2012, 12:44
Aarne Jõgimaa, the controversial head of the municipal council of Viimsi just outside Tallinn, is an example of how business and political interests are being mixed locally, writes Äripäev.
In 2011 Äripäev estimated that his personal wealth was 5.1 million euros which ranked him 382nd in the Äripäev Richlist.
Jõgimaa has been serving as head of the local municipal council since local elections in 2005. He heads the local business club and is on power in Viimsi in coalition with IRL and Social Democrats.
According to one source, just before the local elections, Jõgimaa organized a big public party in the local Miiduranna harbor in which he owns 34 percent.
„It was an election campaign orgy. There was free food and drink for everyone. Everybody was welcome. There was a big tent, music was playing. When I started to leave, a woman came to me and asked how I liked it. I told her that everything was very nice.
Then she told me: „Don’t forget to vote for Aarne Jõgimaa then!”
In the spring he faced a non-confidence vote led by the opposition, mainly Reform Party members headed by Jaak Salumets, but it failed. The opposition was claiming that Jõgimaa had won very many public tenders from the municipality.
This is true because Esmar Ehitus, the construction company in which Jõgimaa owns 38.4 percent, has won the majority of public tenders announced by Viimsi since 2008.
All in all, the company has received about 18 million euros from the municipality for construction works. The company’s revenue in 2011 was 6.5 million euros and the profit was 112,416 euros.
Interestingly, Viimsi municipality has given Esmar Ehitus a guarantee for 700,000 euros for building a football stadium for the municipality. This has made Viimsi Estonia’s second most indebted municipality with a loan burden of 135 percent of its budget.