“When I was elected mayor, in 2012, I was 29 years old, I had an important affirmation in terms of electoral consensus and then because it had been a victory against the opponents were the political historians, political administrators of the city of Pizzo. That was a moment of renewal and that tenure lasted until 2017; then I ran again and won the elections that year too and began the second term which ended in December 2019 because after the “Rebirth-Scott” operation I resigned from the office of mayor”.
That’s how it starts Gianluca Callipo, former mayor of Pizzoaccused in the maxi trial for external competition in a mafia association and competition in abuse of office by omission aggravated by mafia purposes, during his examination and cross-examination which took place just before Christmas. An entrepreneur with a passion for politics, so much so that he was mayor of Pizzo twice: “I considered myself an excellent administrator – he said – and I think I was. I carried out my political activity with passion and commitment and I had aspirations of continuing my career towards a regional or national commitment”.
The “Mocambo” affair
The local historic Napitino is one of the reasons why Callipo is accused of aggravated abuse of office which in 2015 had been the recipient of the revocation of usability by the Municipality for the lack of a regular connection to the sewerage system, which had followed , addressed to the “Future Ltd” – company that managed the restaurant of Francesco Isolabella who, according to the indictment, also had two hidden partners: the alleged bosses Gregorio Gasparro and Saverio Razionale – the revocation of the authorization for the administration of food and drinks with an adjoining swimming pool and l authorization of landlords.
Nonetheless, the Mocambo continued its activity and between June and July 2017 first the commander of the urban police, Enrico Caria, suspended the revocation of the authorization to administer food and drink and then the head of the town planning sector of the Municipality, Maria Stuppia, suspended the revocation of the usability. On 12 September 2017, the venue had been bought, through bankruptcy proceedings, by the Cts, a company in which Callipo was a partner and his uncle Maurizio Fiumara was the sole director for 819 thousand euros, following which the Cts allowed Isolabella to maintain management of the venue, now free from revocations and municipal ordinances.
The prosecutor’s exam
In the prosecutor’s examination of the Dda, Annamaria Frustaci, the former mayor retraces the story: “I was informed by Daniele Pulitano that substantially there was an interest from my uncle Maurizio Fiumara to take part in the bankruptcy procedure which concerned a company that had managed the Mocambo up to that moment and of which there was a declaration of bankruptcy. I know that the company participated in the auction on 12 September, presented the offer and I know that the contract was then signed, therefore operationally it became the owner at the beginning of 2018. But I have never been aware of the payments. Furthermore, from what I remember, it does not seem to me that anyone has ever told me, therefore neither Pulitano nor others, of the existence of other interested parties, so I do not remember having had this information”.
Question by prosecutor Frustaci: “Regarding that famous meeting with Pulitano, on June 13, 2017, I ask you to clarify this passage: in addition to acknowledging your uncle’s interest in participating with the Cts in the bankruptcy procedure which he will then ask for confirmation, it is that the meeting in which he was aware that instead the uncle of Pulitane, the uncle of his friend, Isolabella Franco wanted to maintain the management of that, shall we say, commercial activity, of that hospitality activity?”; Callipo’s answer: “Pulitano asks me for information because he says “My uncle would like to continue managing the restaurant even with the new owner who will emerge from the bankruptcy auction and if it were you he would like to continue managing it”, but he feared that, given the background they had with the old “Mocambo” affair in the late nineties, if my uncle won the auction he would want to remove him from management and therefore indirectly Pulitano told me that his uncle was interested in continue to manage”.
Authorizations of the Municipal Police
And on the accusation of interests in the matter of the municipal police authorizations which had to be issued or which were not valid, etc. towards and with respect to the management of the Mocambo company, the witness replied by stating that “as I would have done for any citizen who asked me a problem, who asked me for an interest in the sense of informing me, of checking how the situation was, even in this case I spoke to Commander Caria, who was also in charge of the trade sector and who therefore dealt with the commercial licenses, asking him how the facts of this affair were and he replied that in fact he understood that they had presented a series of documents to the technical office, which, however, he had not fulfilled, despite also some reminders that Caria had made in the following year, I believe in 2016.
So that same evening I called the architect Stuppia, who was in charge of the urban planning sector of the Municipality of Pizzo, and I told her: “I’m calling you to be informed about this matter” and she gave me information related to the fact that she had suspended the usability for a problem related to the sewerage and that Caria according to her should have revoked the license to trade. There were essentially different positions between Caria and Stuppia, I obviously inquired about this situation and in turn gave information to whoever asked me. The interest I made was always to ask for information and to report information, I never went into the merits of the acts that had been carried out or which were then carried out and which we can obviously also investigate individually if useful “.
Rational appears in Pulitano’s ring and Callipo doesn’t go to the wedding
Another circumstance recounted by the former mayor was that of his friend Daniele Pulitano’s failure to attend the wedding, due to the presence of Saverio Razionale: “I had been invited to the wedding but I didn’t attend it because two or three days earlier they told me that the Daniele’s ring ring would have been Saverio Razionale, whom I had heard of a couple of months earlier as a person who was connected to criminal circles. Without going into the merits of this thing, I wondered about asking Daniele for information, which I did two or three days before the event by going to the Isolabella restaurant where he worked at the time.
I asked him if it was true that, in fact, the ring mate was Rational and he answered yes. The first time I had framed this person was at Daniele’s wedding vows, which had taken place a couple of months earlier, someone said to me: “Do you know who that person is there at the table with…”, there were other people from Pizzo whom I knew, I replied: “No, I don’t know”, “And Saverio Razionale, is a”… I think they told me “A head of the local ‘Ndrangheta”, something like that, so much so that in that ‘occasion since I never wanted to have connections with subjects that could also be hypothesized as connected to the ‘Ndrangheta, even more so if someone saw them as such, I left before the end of the celebrations of that marriage promise “..
Callipo therefore also asked Pulitano for confirmation who replied in the affirmative: “At that point I told him that I would not participate in the wedding because I did not consider it appropriate to participate, to be able to be associated with certain people and therefore I did not go, I communicated it to my wife. He was sorry, I was sorry too, but then I didn’t participate ”, he concluded, adding that he had never met Gregorio Gasparro.CopyAMP code
The Renda affair
Callipo then answered questions from lawyers Armando Veneto and Enzo Trungadi. With the latter he faced the story of the 2017 municipal election campaign where, according to the indictment, the entrepreneur Vincenzo Renda would have offered his contribution and the former mayor in exchange would have given him the enjoyment of a portion of the beach which instead was in the hands of another entrepreneur, Eugenio Russo: “During the course I never asked for electoral support or votes from the entrepreneur Renda nor did he ever offer it to me – he highlighted – I knew he was a resident outside Pizzo, he is not never been a resident here and therefore is not a Napitino voter”.
Another point, therefore, was precisely the question of the state concession (a matter the subject of a parallel trial in Vibo), on which Callipo offered his version of the facts: “Russo was the holder of this concession for laying deckchairs and umbrellas, he requested the release of a concession for the construction of a bathing establishment, but the Municipality did not issue it to him because there was no beach plan.
Then, in 2020, therefore not by me, but by the Extraordinary Commission that took over after my resignation, these requests were rejected, but the denial of the construction of this seaside lido could not achieve an advantage for Renda: That portion of the Arenile remained always in the hands of Russo, are two different issues. Russo wanted to build a lido and hasn’t managed to do so to date, but obviously nothing forbade the exercise and use of that concession, which has remained with him “. Among other things, the same “appealed to the TAR and lost it”.
The pits in Piazza Mercato and Salvatore Mazzotta
The DDA disputes that Callipo has made a electoral agreement with Salvatore Mazzotta, considered a prominent element of local crime, by virtue of which on the one hand there would have been electoral support for the 2017 Municipal elections and on the other hand the administrative conduct would have made it possible to illegally maintain the availability of these boxes located in the Piazzetta Mercato to Paola De Caria, mother of Mazzotta.
Also on this matter, the former mayor states that “I have never asked any of these subjects to vote, either directly or through other people, nor have I ever received a vote proposal from any of these people and I am surprised that I am have voted because the few events that have concerned these subjects have always seen my opposition to their positions and in particular I am referring to two, one is the activity linked to employment that De Caria and the other is the fire at the Town Hall gate”.
The witness then recalled that the demolition of the pits carried out subsequently by the Extraordinary Commissioner “is the one that realizes the project of my administration which we could not do before as the institution was in financial difficulties even if we had then intercepted ministerial funds. In November 2019 the design process was completed, then the funding was obtained and everything was completed”. (fp)
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