Representatives of the Wrocław Opera did not show the agreement with Bartosz Rybak, a former close associate of Minister Przemysław Czarnek, who organized a birthday party there. This is the result of the post-inspection statement of the Marshal’s Office of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. The opera’s representatives’ actions were assessed negatively. Among other things, the inspectors found irregularities in the use of the stage and the way in which the service was priced.
On February 27, the “Fakt” daily reported that Bartosz Rybak, a close associate of the Minister of Education, Przemysław Czarnek, celebrated a grand birthday at the Wrocław Opera. The event was to be attended by Minister Czarnek and his wife, as well as m. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the State Fire Service, rectors of universities, including Wrocław University of Science and Technology and the Academy of Music, local politicians PIS or the leader of the Bayer Full team.
The birthday party at the opera house was to begin with Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème”, for which guests received free tickets. After the performance, the birthday party initially celebrated in the opera foyer, but eventually the birthday party was moved to the main stage.
After the issue of the birth was publicized, the marshal’s office commissioned it ad hoc control. The published post-inspection statement shows that the inspectors were interested, among other things, in what revenues the opera received from the sale of tickets for “La bohème” (according to the findings of “Fact”, people invited to the opera party – according to journalists – did not have to pay for tickets).
It was also checked how the opera space was made available after the end of the performance and how much the landlord had to pay for it. It also checked what costs the opera had to incur in connection with the organization of the birthday party and analyzed whether it was organized in accordance with the applicable health and safety regulations.
Negative control results
In the post-inspection statement, we read that the actions of the representatives of the Wrocław Opera were assessed negatively. Among other things, attention was paid to irregularities in ticket sales revenue for a birthday party. The revenues obtained – as it was established – did not result from the price lists or other approved documents submitted to the inspectors.
It was also noted that the opera had conflicting internal regulations regarding the method of ticket distribution. The inspectors also emphasized that they could not see some of the original documents, including the ticket price list for the 2022/2023 artistic season.
However, the most doubts aroused the procedure of making the space of the Wrocław Opera available. The inspectors from the marshal’s office pointed out that there were no regulations in the opera house specifying the rules on which the local space could be used.
Low price, “lower than lowest”
In the post-inspection statement, we read that on Bartosz Rybak’s birthday, the rental price was calculated “at his discretion”. It was noted that space was made available at a price lower than the lowest the price of renting the corridors or terrace specified in the opera’s price list.
According to the auditors, the rental price was made unjustifiably dependent on the number of hours of use of the space and the number of participants. This was done, as we read in the document presented by the marshal’s office, at a price proportional to the rental of the foyer.
As indicated, the representatives of the opera during the inspection were not able to present the inspectors with the rental or access agreement concluded with Bartosz Rybak. Thus – as it was pointed out in the post-inspection statement – it is not certain whether he made a statement which would imply that he is familiar with the risks associated with the use of the premises of the Wrocław Opera and the procedures to be followed in emergency situations.
The auditors noted that representatives of the opera “they gave conflicting information” regarding the place of birthday organized on February 17.
“Circumventing the need to secure the event”
This is not the end of the list of objections. The inspection was also to show that an opera employee responsible for health and safety and fire regulations was misled before the birthday. He was given incorrect information about the importance of the event – he was to be informed that it would be “a meeting with guests after the performance, not a rental”. This was done – according to the auditors – in order to circumvent the need to secure the work in terms of health and safety and fire protection.
In the post-inspection statement, it was pointed out that a price list for tickets for artistic events should be developed and implemented at the opera house as soon as possible, and uniform rules for issuing free invitations should be established.
It was also noted that the issues related to renting the opera’s space need to be regulated.
After publicizing the case, the birthday of minister Czarnek’s associate from the position of director of the Wrocław Opera was left dismissed director Halina Oldakowska.
Bartosz Rybak loses his position
After the publication of “Fact” about the event at the opera, Bartosz Rybak was suspended from his duties.
The press spokesperson of the Ministry of Education Adrianna Całus-Polak informed “Fact” that “Bartosz Rybak he was dismissed from his post plenipotentiary of the minister for cooperation with Polish diaspora organizations and non-governmental organizations on March 8.” – Therefore, he was released from all duties arising from the function of a proxy – she added.
The Ombudsman added that Rybak “did not receive remuneration as a proxy”. “He used the office in the ministry and the official cars of the ministry.”
The cost of renting a hall in a building such as the one belonging to the opera can reach tens of thousands of zlotys.
Main photo source: TVN24