The Member of the Parliament from the predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Alexander Metodiev, known as Bro (Brother) Sali, has swapped in 2007 a seventh category meadow near the village of Maritsa with a central property in the town of Samokov. At that time, Metodiev was a municipal councilor in Samokov, while late Angel Nikolov, from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), was the town’s mayor. Bro Sali, who has long been a leader the Roma party “Euro Roma” in the town, gained national prominence after an investigation of Nova TV in which he was exposed as chief of the private “Roma Electric Power Distributor” in Samokov.
The deal reveals the exceptional merchant flair of Alexander Metodiev. He obtained the meadow at a price of 19 cents per square meter only two years earlier, in 2005, when he purchased a total of 7 decares of fields in the area.
In 2007, a licensed appraiser estimated that the lawn of 3290 square meters, which was bought for 19 cents per square meter, already cost 92120 levs or 28 levs per square meter. The municipal land was estimated to have a slightly higher price: 96432 levs for 2296 square meters or 42 levs per square meter, but this included the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Bro Sali paid the difference of 23 984.13 levs to take possession of the property. Together with the value of the meadow, about 60 levs, the square meter of this lucrative urban land cost the Roma leader about 7 levs.
Other than as a private person, as municipal councilor, Bro Sali swindled real estate deals between the municipality and his private business of which he is the sole owner. Also in 2007, Alexander Hristov Metodiev bought from the Samokov municipality a property of 1400 square meters for 29098 levs (about 20 levs per square meter), the Property Registry shows.
For comparison, the most modest prices for land plots in regulation in Samokov currently start from 50 euros per square meter, a check of real estate sites reveals. In Maritsa, which is 10 km. away from the winter resort Borovets, one can now buy a house of 140 square meters with a 450 square meters yard for the same price, which was estimated in 2007 for the meadow of Bro Sali.
In the cadastral register it is noted that inside the property acquired by the Roma leader there was a one-story building for dining and catering with an area of 37 square meters. The reality is way more prosaic: the building was actually an abandoned public restroom, as Google Street View shows.
The property, which is located on a main road on the shore of the Iskar River, has great investment potential. A new upscale building was built in its vicinity. Alexander Metodiev, however, decided to part with it in May this year – on May 29, 2013, the property has been sold for the “modest” amount of 36276 levs. This way, Bro Sali also settled an old debt to a third party that had levied distraint on the same property in 2011.
Approached for comment by Bivol, the DPS MP saw nothing wrong in the fact that as a councilor he has benefited from such profitable swaps. “I am not an expert in this case. There simply are experts who appraise these properties,” was Metodiev’s excuse. “There was a public discussion. There is a record of this discussion … everything is legal,” he was firm. Bro Sali confirmed that he sold the property, which, according to him, was not attractive because it was in the “Gypsy quarters.”
Metodiev further developed his vision of the role of municipal councilors, as, he says, nothing depends on them, and there was no way for him to influence the decision about the land swaps. “A councilor is what factor?” he asked. “We are public figures, dealing with the public affairs of a municipality, what factors can we be?” To the reminder that at that time he was the leader of “Euro Roma,” a party with substantial electoral base in the town, Metodiev renounced his former party: “The “Euro Roma” page is closed for me. I do not want mentions about this party … Because it did nothing for the Gypsy minority. It declared that it was doing some things for the Gypsy nation in the Republic of Bulgaria, but on the contrary … it piles up dividends on the expense of poor gypsy kids,” is how the former Roma leader advanced his thoughts.
Although Metodiev is neither a factor nor an expert in property appraisals, he participated in the Commission for Pricing Municipal Property in the Borovets Resort. This is indicated in Resolution # 1490 of the Municipal Council of Samokov from 2006. The municipality did not respond to an insistent request to provide the expert appraisal, according to which every square meter of the meadow bought by Bro Sali for 19 cents, in just two years has appreciated to 28 levs.
Another interesting fact is that as MP, Metodiev recorded this same property in his declaration under the Prevention and Disclosure of Conflict of Interests Act. It was filed following his induction as lawmaker on July 18, 2013, two months after the sale of the land plot. The declaration listed this property with a cost of 116 104 levs and not the 23 984 levs actually paid for it.
This listing in the Declaration, in reality, “whitewashes” the origin of a solid amount of 92 120 levs – the difference between the declared price and the 23 984 levs paid by Bro Sali.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian