Sunday, October 31, 2010


The project to extend the Larvotto (Monte Carlo's beach) and construct habitable space upon the sea should have been Monaco's biggest money-spinner ever.

It would have invigorated Monaco's economy, despite a global slump.

It would have been a magnificent legacy for Prince Albert II: significant enlargement of the world's second smallest country.

Ultimately, the Larvotto project was Albert's to lose, and he lost it--manipulated out of what might have been the one redeeming element of his reign (if conceived while he was still Hereditary Prince).

Monaco, and its people, were cheated out of a financial boon that was within reach.

Official reason for quashing the future? "The environment."

However, from the beginning, all vendors had been required to innovate the reclamation of land into an environmental showcase--an example to the world of how modern construction can be executed without negative ecological impact. And they did so.

So the official reason was bollocks.

Here is the real reason: In a clear conflict of interest, one of Albert's top advisers was a secret silent partner in one of the consortiums bidding for the contract. In the penultimate round, this adviser's consortium had been chopped.

So the sore loser/adviser manipulated Albert into quashing the project due to "environmental reasons," hoping one day it would be resurrected and his consortium would have another shot at winning the contract.

Nothing better defines the factions at war in Monaco than the delineation of personalities grouped among the consortiums that had put up huge sums of money just to become eligible vendors.

What most people don't know: Prince Albert had decided, long before the vendors had been whittled down, and even before proposals and budgets had been submitted and studied, precisely which group would be awarded the contract.

And then Albert was manipulated into killing it, the same way he'd been manipulated into firing Jean-Luc Allavena, the most competent, honest courtier in Monaco's palace.

In the days ahead, this blog will dissect the consortiums, thereby revealing who stands opposed to whom in the cutthroat and very corrupt world of construction projects within the Principality of Monaco.