József Mondok, the Fidesz-backed mayor of the town of Izsák, lives in a hunting lodge built from HUF 35 million entirely covered by EU funding. The media was keen to hear an explanation at the annual general meeting of the coach-driving committee – chaired by Mondok – of the Hungarian Horse-riding Association, but the mayor literally ran away from the uneasy questions, reports hvg.hu.
Mondok is said to have a grip on the Bács-Kiskun county town of 6,000 as he and his family operate a gas station and a national tobacco shop as well. In addition, he has been the chairman of Horse-riding Association’s coach-driving committee for 12 years, and prepared to be re-elected without a challenger at the general meeting near Kecskemét on February 2. Hvg.hu’s journalist writes that the general meeting and the formal vote had the atmosphere of a “party congress in the 1960s”. Mondok clearly did not welcome the considerable media attention at the event, as he called a vote to declare a closed session instead of the originally planned open one. The journalists were given ten minutes to leave the room – save for a “friendly” one connected to the state media sports TV channel M4.
The journalists still had the time to talk to some members of the coach-driving committee, who anonymously said so much that Mondok’s re-election is happening “automatically”, and no-ones dares to ask questions about his spending of EU funds. Someone commented that horse riding “is only about the money”, and “there is no way to keep out politics” currently, as the day before the government gave an extra HUF 6 billion funding to the Mezőhegyes National Horse Farm, on the condition that famously pro-Fidesz media personality Philip Rákay is made a board member.
The unanimously re-elected Mondok kept running away from the media during the breaks of the general meetings, and in the end made for the backdoor of the venue through the kitchen in order to avoid meeting any journalists.