Cologne mayor investigated for recording archive meetings
State prosecutors are investigating Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma for allegedly making secret recordings of emergency task force meetings after the deadly collapse of the city’s historical archive, authorities announced on Thursday.
Schramma reportedly recorded during meetings on March 19 and 20, despite objections from other officials present, a spokesperson said, adding that he could be charged with violating privacy laws. Recording private conversations is forbidden by German law and punishable by up to five years for those in public office.
On March 3, the city’s historical archive collapsed, killing two men and endangering thousands of precious documents. The city has since opened an investigation into what cased the accident.
Schramma has also started disciplinary hearings against the city's building department head Bernd Streitberger, who is accused of withholding important information that could have prevented the accident that laid waste to half a city block in Cologne’s historic centre.
Over the weekend, media reports revealed that construction managers and city officials saw measurements that clearly showed the archive was sinking weeks before the building collapsed into a nearby underground metro construction site. The revelations prompted Schramma to begin an investigation into city officials admidst calls for some to step down.
Meanwhile the Cologne transportation department (KVB) is planning a special meeting on March 31 to root out any irresponsible action among their officials in the March 3 incident.