Taipei Mayor Ko says Farglory concession fee offer rejected

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (�_����) yesterday claimed his administration has rejected Farglory’s offer of a huge sum of money to settle the Taipei Dome row, as the city gives top priority to resolving public safety issues arising from the baseball stadium project.

But Farglory responded to Ko’s claims by alleging that the city rejected the offer because the sum the developer offered was insufficient. Ko made his claims while addressing a forum on the safety issues surrounding the Taipei Dome project.

The meeting, which brought together city officials, representatives from the central government’s Construction and Planning Agency (CPA), and executives and architects from Farglory, was looking to reach a consensus on how the row could be resolved. But the effort apparently failed, as the city administration and the developer continued to trade blows without showing any signs that a solution would be possible.

Ko, condemning the greediness of businesses, claimed Farglory had attempted to buy its way out of the trouble by offering NT$3 billion in concession fees to the city government. But the mayor said his administration rejected the offer, because the core of the row is about public safety. He said the present impasse is down to two factors: the greediness of big businesses and the complicated relations between politics and business. Farglory should have focused on finding ways to improve safety at the stadium, but instead it chose to avoid responsibility, Ko said.

��The greed of this generation will become the burden of the next generation; the neglect of this generation will become the disaster of the generation,�� Ko said. But the Farglory side refused to take the blame.

The Central News Agency cited Farglory representatives as claiming after the meeting that the developer had actually offered NT$4.5 billion in concession fees, but the Ko administration rejected it, thinking the amount was not enough. Farglory General Manager Tang Chia-feng, speaking during the forum, said his company has been ignoring what he called ��constant smears�� by the media over the past two months over the Dome row, but it has been listening carefully to what the government has had to say. Tang added the messages received at the forum show confusion within the city government. He said Farglory would have had no objection to holding such a forum on public safety before the contract was awarded, but the project is now almost complete. He claimed the city government is misunderstanding its role by rejecting what has been previously approved. Tang questioned the legitimacy of the safety inspection task force that Ko has appointed, asking whether it could take over the authority of the CPA that approved the Dome project. He said the city government has so far failed to clearly state which laws that Farglory have allegedly broken.

He said much was said during the meeting, but a solution remains elusive. He demanded that an independent third party be employed to examine the facilities that have already constructed at the Dome to see if they are safe. The city has suspended construction on the stadium, but work on bolstering the foundation has been allowed to continue to prevent cave-ins in neighboring areas.