Prison sentence looms for radical right-wing mayor

Zoltan Mihaly Orosz, the right-wing mayor of Erpatak, a town that has appeared several times in Atlatszo.hu’s recent coverage, is not only a controversial figure but also the defendant in several court cases which could potentially put him behind bars. These range from traditional white-collar crimes such as abusing public funds, all the way to physical violence.

Our sources have informed us that Zoltan Mihaly Orosz, the mayor of Erpatak in eastern Hungary’s, has been quite stressed recently. As previously reported, the model township is experiencing serious issues, largely because Orosz has failed to keep the budget records in order. These records are a prerequisite to keeping the locality functioning, in no small part because of his personal involvement in spending public funds.

In the past, Orosz organized the public ‘hanging’ of effigies of court officials who acted in a case brought against him. He held a similar show against former Israeli state leaders that featured an outburst against Israel which was difficult to interpret in any way other than as anti-Semitic. His antics received extensive coverage in the press and social media, and authorities charged Orosz with inciting violence and smearing minorities.

However, here are other issues which are equally significant, such as the fact that he tends to channel state and town funds towards his own interests and political efforts, as Atlatszo.hu recently explored. He has since used administrative tools to dodge appearing in court, even though it was clear that on a court day when he got a doctor’s pass he was actually at a political event elsewhere.

The real estate appropriations of Orosz’s NGO are suspect to say the least, especially since recently he allegedly approached several residents, urging them to sign a statement that they were never forcefully made to cooperate with the charity’s dealings. Atlatszo.hu reported these accounts, since it raised suspicions that the defendant was trying to manipulate witness testimonies, but to no avail.

Strong-arming isn’t new to Orosz, as our reporter who has been covering his dealings for a while has learned; After being pursued on the road and then hassled by police, the comments on Orosz’s social media page under the account of the events actually encouraged action against our colleague along the lines of extermination, like in the „good old days” of people being hauled off in train wagons.

Since Orosz tends to violently evade any queries about his legal affairs, it seems reasonable that even he doesn’t fully know how many ongoing cases he is involved in. During his 10 year tenure as mayor, his lawsuits numbered around 200. He lost most of them, but this wasn’t too inconvenient, since even when he felt personally attacked, he could claim it was actually targeted at his office of mayor, so there were no legal fees that he had to pay from his own pocket.

Things are heating up now. Our latest coverage has prompted the authorities to investigate and there was also an incident where he was charged with physically attacking a tax authority official, who was filming at a violent incident that took place at a public event.

All the cases racked up against Orosz point towards him ending up in prison fairly soon. There are currently 6 police investigations in progress because of his handling of the state’s money as well as his exuberant public performances that tend to feature hate speeches or downright racism. A conviction in two out of the six would almost certainly mean actual prison time.

Original article in Hungarian