Berlin Culture Minister Wins Award Despite Tax Scandal

André Schmitz was awarded the Cultural Manager of the Year Award despite his recent tax scandal Photo: Jörg Krauthöfer via Berliner Morgenpost

André Schmitz, Berlin’s former culture secretary, has been named European Cultural Manager of the Year 2014 , Art Magazin reports. But the honor will come as a surprise to many, especially because Schmitz was accused of tax evasion this February and was forced to resign. The former culture secretary had concealed capital gains from tax authorities.

The prize jury stated that his intelligent management of Berlin’s vast cultural budget was the primary reason for his selection as winner.

According to Der Tagesspiegel, when Schmitz took office in 2006, the notoriously bankrupt city of Berlin’s annual cultural budget stood at €343 million. By the time Schmitz left office in 2014, he had grown the budget to an unprecedented €430 million.

The former culture secretary has a reputation for being a resourceful manager with an outstanding network of contacts.

The two other high-profile shortlisted candidates for the 2014 edition of the award were Hedy Graber, cultural president at the Swiss retail giant Migros, and the gallerist Gerd Harry Lybke of Eigen + Art (Berlin, Leipzig).

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