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RBB should be able to raise possible claims against Schlesinger

Created: 08/16/2022 Updated: 08/16/2022 3:53 p.m

Fall Schlesinger
The managing director of the RBB, Hagen Brandstätter, and the head of the RBB board of directors, Dorette König, in the special session of the state parliament in the Schlesinger case. © Jens Kalaene/dpa

After the dismissal of RBB director Schlesinger, it is about the termination of the contract. There is still no final information in a state parliament session.

Potsdam – After the dismissal of Patricia Schlesinger as RBB director, the board of directors is working on the termination of the contract. In a special session in the Brandenburg state parliament, the acting head of the board of directors, Dorette König, did not give any precise details. “I can only tell you that we do not rule out dismissal without notice.”

There had previously been speculation about a severance payment for Schlesinger because she had brought her lawyer into play in a letter to the RBB committees. König also said: Everything will be done to ensure that the RBB remains able to “assert claims against Ms. Schlesinger”.

Channel chief: No bonus system at RBB

Reports of a bonus system for executives in the public broadcaster ARD broadcaster Hagen Brandstätter rejected. Instead, he spoke of a variable salary system. “There is no bonus system in the RBB.” There are non-tariff employment contracts. Accordingly, 27 of them receive variable remuneration. In addition to the management, there were also department heads and department heads, including radio wave bosses.

There is a so-called base salary and a so-called base salary. The latter is the standard that is in the employment contract. First, a lower base salary is paid and the base salary can be achieved by achieving the agreed targets.

Brandstäter did not present any bonus payments for Schlesinger at the meeting, which was televised by RBB. The broadcaster has so far kept special reports under wraps. Schlesinger’s goals were agreed between her and the head of the board of directors, Wolf. As far as the management and the directors are concerned, that was agreed between the director and the respective management staff.

According to Brandstätter, the goals in the station for executives also included cost savings in the program. At RBB, the TV program “Zibb” was canceled the night before. Affected employees had expressed great displeasure at the time because their future at the station had initially remained open.

König said that she did not have the target agreements between Wolf and Schlesinger. She has been trying in vain for days to get the documents from the station. Wolf called Schlesinger’s “key data” about the salary increase.

She herself did not classify Schlesinger’s salary of 303,000 euros – there was a sharp increase of 16 percent – as critical, said König. You can see things differently in hindsight. She also pointed out that the last salary that Schlesinger’s predecessor, Dagmar Reim, received was 280,000 euros.

special session of the state parliament

Because of numerous allegations of felony and nepotism against Schlesinger and the resigned chief inspector Wolf-Dieter Wolf, the state parliament had again scheduled a special session, in July the 61-year-old had declined the invitation. There were no conclusive answers to many of the questions asked by the MPs. Reference was made to the ongoing public prosecutor’s investigations against Schlesinger and her husband, the ex-“Spiegel” journalist Gerhard Spörl, and also to an external investigation by a law firm.

After several hours of sitting, Deputy Steven Breetz (CDU) asked Brandtäter in a louder tone whether he had understood the dimensions of the entire case. Breetz spoke of a “sitting out kind”. The station manager replied that he was serious about answering questions. He still trusts himself to lead the RBB out of the crisis. Friederike von Kirchbach, who sits on the Broadcasting Council, also said that the council backed her in the Monday session in which Schlesinger was recalled.

Those are the allegations

Wolf and Schlesinger had rejected allegations directed against them. It is also about questionable orders for Schlesinger’s husband Gerhard Spörl at Messe Berlin, where Wolf was also head of the supervisory board there until his resignation. The online medium “Business Insider” got the whole case rolling at the end of June.

The Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating against Schlesinger, Spörl and Wolf on suspicion of infidelity and acceptance of benefits.

The case involves allegations such as controversial consulting contracts for an RBB construction project that has since been put on hold, an expensive company car for Schlesinger with massage seats, the catering of guests in their private apartment at RBB’s expense with allegedly false bills, the salary increase plus a bonus System. The renovation of the executive floor with chic furniture for 1.4 million euros caused resentment, and Schlesinger’s London trip is also being questioned.

Brandenburg’s Secretary of State for Media, Benjamin Grimm (SPD), said, “regardless of the current debate, we as the states of Berlin and Brandenburg had already planned in the draft of the new RBB state treaty to further expand control, for example by the state audit offices. We are sticking to this and, in view of the events of the last few weeks, will significantly increase transparency and supervision – even beyond what is already planned.”

The coordinator of the state broadcasting commission, Heike Raab (SPD), called for clarification on the bonus payments. The Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary for Media, who is the most important media politician in the Federal Republic, told the German Press Agency: “The RBB and its committees must completely clarify all allegations and points of criticism, for example awards and bonus payments. All in all, we need more control, uniformity and comparability in terms of transparency and compliance.” Raab added: “Because there was great damage beyond RBB.” The case plunged the station into an unprecedented crisis. dpa

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