How to waste public funds

Drone video: 2.4 billion HUF international tennis academy near Kisvárda stands empty

We visited the luxury tennis academy near Kisvárda, built with a net cost of HUF 2.4 billion, and financed by a foundation linked to former Development Minister Miklós Seszták. Although the tennis paradise between opened a year ago, there is no sign of academic teaching had started in the five-years school, and it is a kind of art to find a booked appointment in the sports facility. The publicly-funded foundation did not respond to our request for information on how many people used the pitches and how the academy is being maintained. More than 1 billion forints have also been spent on tourism development in the neighbouring lake, but we were mostly greeted with closed doors.

The Tennis Without Borders Academy is located in an outlying part of the country, close to the Ukrainian border, just 8 kilometres from Kisvárda. The city is the stronghold of corruption in Hungary. When Miklós Seszták was the Minister of National Development of Hungary from 2014 to 2018, more than EUR 61 million (HUF 20 billion) of public money poured into the city. He is currently a Member of Parliament for Kisvárda.

It was revealed in 2019 that the sports school could be built with a net investment of HUF 2.4 billion. Even the dreamed tennis academy between the fields seemed odd, but the VIP clubhouse with a swimming pool has clearly indicated that the project was meant to serve for the local elite. There are not many rational explanations why the sports paradise was built on the shores of Lake Rétköz, 50 kilometres from the county seat.

Drone video: this is how the EU-funded “Disneyland” of Kisvárda looks like

Atlatszo visited the native city of Miklós Seszták, Hungary’s former minister of national development (2014-2018), which has received more than…

Sports academy education has not started

Alkossunk Várost Foundation, which invested in the sports school using taxpayers money, did not respond to our request for public data. Among other things, we would have liked to know how many people have used the tennis courts so far and whether they can afford to maintain the academy.

Source: Átlátszó

The tennis academy opened its doors more than a year ago and anyone can book a court. In the online booking system it is almost impossible to find a date that is booked, moreover there is no sign that the academic education has started, and on the website it is not shown if it was possible to enroll for the school year either. It is promised that the education will be entirely in English, with five classes. The dormitory can accommodate up to 50 students, they are waiting children from Subcarpathia, Slovakia or the Hungarian regions of Romania. The dormitory is currently advertised as a hotel.

Miklós Seszták’s circle

The project was built by the Carpathian Basin Tennis Academy Nonprofit Ltd., and the company is owned by the Nyíregyháza-based Alkossunk Várost Foundation. The foundation is clearly one of Miklós Seszták’s favourites, as it won several billion forints grants for projects in Kisvárda. The contractor for these project was Kermi-Szolg Ltd., the company is owned by Zsolt László Mikucza, the brother of the founder of the investment foundation.

Source: Átlátszó

Over 1 billion for tourism development – closed gates

The foundation received HUF 785 million from the Ministry of National Economy for the complex tourism development of Lake Rétköz. The money was to implement the following projects, worth HUF 565 million:

  • “Gateway to the Rétköz” visitor centre,
  • water base and event hall,
  • a 100-seat filagory and observation centre,
  • nature trail.

The hobbit house. Source: Átlátszó

The contractor for these projects was also Kermi-Szolg Ltd. The so-called Bucka-Lak, a “hobbit house” and forest school, was built with another EU project, with net investment of HUF 500 million.

Drónvideó: kihasználatlan a 2,4 milliárd forintból épült luxus-teniszakadémia Kisvárda mellett from on Vimeo.

Written by Szilvia Zsilák, video by Gergely Pápai. The original, more detailed Hungarian version of this article can be found here.

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