Randjärv: the money aspect has been engineered

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Laine Randjärv Postimehe stuudios.

PHOTO: Erik Prozes

Laine Randjärv, how unexpected was the decision you will not become the head of Estonian Concert?

Considering what has been said behind the curtains the past few days and the media frenzy, it was to be expected. That it came to this is surprising and disgruntling.

You have become a symbol of greed who wanted to leave the Riigikogu with roughly €21,000. Now, it has cost you a position you would have been good in, while it is likely you will get the benefit. Was it worth it?

The debate was worth it. First of all, there was positive will to develop Estonian Concert as an organization. This was the first time in my life I applied for a job. Competition conditions included a set of requirements for candidates but nothing concerning the date of commencement of work.

The first news suggested Laine Randjärv would start work on February 1. After that, it was March 1 and finally April 1. How did that happen?

My successful job interview took place on September 13. The council chose me as the best candidate for the job with five votes to nil. The competition invitation read that results would be published on October 5. I imagined I would be consulted regarding the possibilities of commencement of work. When the council chairman told me I had been chosen and that they were about to release a press statement, I asked them to wait because I wanted to negotiate the conditions of starting work. I found that I should see through my term in the Riigikogu. Once signals that it would be impossible and they would be expecting me from February 1 appeared… The council of Estonian Concert had a meeting on October 5 where it wrote down the condition on which a contract would be signed with Laine Randjärv for the first time. I was not made aware of these conditions for a very long time. I told Postimees I would agree to all conditions on October 17. Unfortunately, it got lost in the news flow.

The council suggests you have changed the time of commencement of office. You said that February 1 would not be good for you, then it was March and finally April. From what you said, I take it council chair Indrek Laul was aware of your position. One of you is lying. Which one?

All I wanted to comment on was that an MP is entitled to a benefit. The actual situation is that there is no benefit in a situation where a contract is signed with me.

So, had you signed the contract now, you would have lost the benefit anyway?

One way or another.

Another discrepancy. When this matter first arose, you wrote on social media that you want the €21,000. Nothing in that post suggests willingness to give it up.

That post served an entirely different purpose. I was accused of willingness to accept an entirely legitimate benefit.

It seems you are not telling the truth right now.

I am telling the truth. I wanted to give further comments, but the council asked me not to talk to the media.

If what you’re saying is true, you worked against yourself. Why paint such an image of yourself?

The image of a politician is stereotypical to begin with.

What stopped you from including the fact you will lose the benefit if a contract is signed in that post?

It was probably a mistake on my part. But I was aware of it.

Your answers come off as evasion. Be frank.

My plan was to concentrate on defending my doctoral thesis that was rejected five years ago when the Riigikogu finishes its work on March 3. I have been reluctant to mention it as it was a fiasco back then: I was allowed to defend the thesis but did not get enough votes. I have rewritten my work. I figured I would not have the time to work on the thesis once I started over at Estonian Concert. I would have had time between the Riigikogu and the foundation.

That fits the plan of which you were suspected: to stay in the Riigikogu until the end, get the benefit and go work at Estonian Concert. You would have gotten your money.

No, not with a contract in place. I would not have been eligible for the money.

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