Maroussi is mired in debts

The mayor of Maroussi in northern Athens said yesterday that unless he receives urgent help, he will hand over the running of the municipality to the government, as his predecessor has left debts of more than 280 million euros behind. New Democracy’s Giorgos Patoulis took up the post in January but claims that the previous mayor, Panayiotis Tzanikos, has left the municipality in a disastrous state. Tzanikos, a member of PASOK, held the post for 16 years. Patoulis said he had asked for assistance from government officials but has been snubbed so far. He claimed that if he did not get a response soon, he will shut down his office and ask the Interior Ministry to run the municipality. The new mayor claimed that Tzanikos had borrowed 131 million euros at a high interest rate and signed agreements to pay most of it back between 2007 and 2011, when he knew he would no longer be mayor. Tzanikos did not stand in last October’s local elections. He angered many residents by pedestrianizing the center of Maroussi in 2004.