Why this story matters:
Having a house in Florida sounds quite posh, right? Some of Slovak dignitaries have fallen for the allure of this perspective. Especially as, in fact, these houses are usually cheaper than real estate in the Slovak capital.
Deputy chairman of the Slovak parliament, Andrej Hrnčiar, bought a house for 70,000 euro and rents it for about 800 euros per month. He claims to be one of many Slovaks in Sarasota, Florida.
"This place is better than Miami -- it is a pleasant small town with 80 golf courses and beautiful beaches. Also, you can be 100% sure of renting the house," Hrnčiar said.
He sounds pretty convincing for someone who had never actually visited the house and sold it in 2017.
The Minister of Health, Tomáš Drucker, is another real estate owner in Florida. His is half of a condominium with a pool, worth 50,000 euros. He promised to invest the same amount in the reconstruction of the property. The rest of it is owned by his friend and co-owner of the Holiday Inn hotels in Slovakia.
Officially, the Drucker's Florida house was bought by his wife Lucia Druckerová. The minister explained that, as a high rank dignitary, he is allowed to have a bank account only in his country and therefore cannot open one in America.
Though many suspected these politicians of financial corruption, our findings show that the transactions and funds used to buy the Florida homes are above board.
Though this is not a corruption scandal, perhaps we can use the attention the story has gotten to take a more serious look at housing prices in Bratislava to ensure that they are not growing into a bubble.
Details from the story:
- The prices of flats in Bratislava are similar to how much a house in Florida costs. It is really hard to buy a two-room flat in Bratislava for less than 100,000 euros.
- Numerous Slovak officials own property in Florida, including minister Tomáš Drucker, chief of the police inspection, Milan Lučanský, and deputy chairman of the parliament, Andrej Hrnčiar.
- Some politicians also own apartments in Croatia, where they spend summer holidays.