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'Bling bishop' blew €213,000 on a fish tank

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'Bling bishop' blew €213,000 on a fish tank
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Photo: DPA
12:02 CET+01:00
A disgraced German bishop who resigned on Wednesday after building costs at his new headquarters spiraled to at least €31 million, spent €213,000 on a fish tank. On Thursday he passed some of the blame onto his deputy.

The 108-page report into extortionate spending at the Bishop of Limburg's headquarters was published by the leadership of Germany's Catholic Church on Wednesday.

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst handed in his resignation to Pope Francis the same day. He had been suspended in October after details of his spending emerged.

Despite unrelenting media attention and being summoned to answer to Pope Francis in Rome last October, he only officially offered a statement on Thursday.

In it, Tebartz-van Elst admitted his handling of the role was “in many respects a disorderly, unfocused and primarily a personally-driven management position”.

Yet he then claimed that the reported total costs were inaccurate.

He argued that his out of control spending was a result of other construction projects he had seen go wrong.

As soon as it began, he felt he needed to “observe the quality and the durability of the entire project”. His spending choices should have been overseen by his deputy, Vicar General Franz Kaspar, but he maintained they were not.

"As I am not an authority in the area of church management, as my qualification is in pastoral theory, I have to relinquish the responsibility to Dr Kaspar who was [according to the report into the spending] 'the only person with an overarching view of the seat's assets'."

The Limburg diocese in central Germany said on Thursday it was looking towards a new beginning.

But it added filling Tebartz-van Elst's position would not be easy, due to a lack of suitable candidates in the Catholic Church.

Below are some of the most lavish aspects of the bishop's spending.

Fish tank: A tank for ornamental fish with a depth of two metres cost €213,000.

Hanging an advent wreath: After the chapel was completed, Tebartz-van Elst decided he wanted a fixture fitted allowing him to hang an advent wreath from the ceiling. To do this, the chapel roof had to be opened up again and a crane deployed - at great expense. The commission said they were not able to tell exactly from the available documents how much this building work had cost but believed it to be €18,000.

Bronze window frames: The window budget, originally €910,000, was almost doubled to a whopping €1.73 million after Tebartz-van Elst decreed that they be fitted with bronze window frames.

Floors: €205,000

Spiral Staircase: €171,000

Light switches: €20,000

Stone facades: €730,000 - Natural stone facades were added to many of the interior walls and ceilings in the main building. The raw materials alone cost €108,000, the labour a further €275,000.

A further €344,000 was spent lining the roof and the facade of the chapel with natural stones.

Heated stones: €19,000 - Outdoor paths were built with electrically heated stones.

Furniture and joinery (excluding doors): € 1.15 million

Doors: €490,000

Bathroom: €37,000

Decor and artwork: €1.17 million

Premium LED lights: €650,000 - Special LED lights were fitted in floors, walls and windows.

CLICK HERE for photos of the project

SEE ALSO: 'Bling bishop' resigns from Limburg role

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