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“Clientelism has always existed in political life”

INTERVIEWAfter more than 50 years of political life, Jean-Claude Gaudin (right) finally retired last year and left his seat as mayor of Marseille, now occupied by Benoit Payan (PS). President of the PACA region, minister under Jacques Chirac, senator or even deputy, Jean-Claude Gaudin has surveyed all the cogs of French political life.

But he has also been regularly accused of patronage. “These are expressions. First, there was no ‘Gaudin system’,” replied the former mayor of Marseille, who publishes his memoirs, entitled: Now I will tell you everything.

“I honor myself for helping everyone”

“There was a team of men and women who got involved. They usually had a profession and also devoted their time to developing this city, reducing unemployment and making this city shine on the map. international. Therefore, yes, clientelism has always existed in political life “, he developed, a sentence which will not fail to react in Marseilles.

“Obviously, there are people we have helped, but I am honored to have helped everyone, everyone who asked me. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn’t. succeeded, but I did it without any desire for patronage or preference for political training “, he justified himself.

“This is not what makes you elect or beat”

“I am happy to have helped, sometimes in my district of Mazargues, the sons of my friends of youth who had made brilliant studies and whom I was able to help to make enter in large companies or administrations. Obviously, one can always give here and there an HLM or even a funeral grant, but that matters very little. It is not what makes you elect or beat. It is the general development of the city “, continued Jean-Claude Gaudin, now 81 years old.

Targeted by an investigation for embezzlement

In mid-February, a search was carried out at the home of the former mayor LR of Marseille as part of a judicial investigation opened on June 11, 2019 for “the main heads of embezzlement of public funds by a person in charge of a public service mission and concealment of this offense “, then indicated the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office. “This judicial information concerns the situation of people who have continued their activity having exceeded the legal retirement age”, according to a judicial source.

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In a vitriolic report made at the end of 2019, the regional chamber of accounts had pinned the management of the city by Jean-Claude Gaudin, from finances to staff through real estate. The chamber was particularly surprised by “management of retirements (…) for the least expensive” to the city of Marseille, with several postings deemed “illegal” in the mayor’s office. For the magistrates of the regional chamber of accounts, the city “knowingly” violated the legal rules on retirement and thus causes a loss of more than one million euros per year to the taxpayer.

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