GT on Wednesday succeeded in unveiling that a unanimous board of Gothenburg city parking companies has fired longtime CEO Maria Stenström.
The unusual measure, which also applies to another senior manager within the company, comes after the municipality was notified of the so-called whistleblower function that Stenström and the senior manager hired multimillion-dollar advisers, who are said to have private relationships.
These orders are difficult to detect because they have been made by other large procured consulting firms.
"My assessment is that this is not unusual or anything," Maria Stenström told GT on Wednesday.
Private bands of 17 years
At the same time, she denied any involvement in hiring just one of the three multimillion-dollar consultants.
Just an advisor who was involved in a major 2012 and Maria Stenström scandal.
An audit by SVT Västnytt at the time showed that CEO Maria Stenström had bypassed the municipality's framework agreement and hired a consultant with whom she had had private relations for 17 years.
Among other things, it has purchased consulting services for 2.5 million in the form of ball boards and phone calls to the management team. This is a job with 38 employees.
And the Swedish competition authority found that the company had broken the law.
So the advisor is busy again.
It negates interference
And now GT may find that Maria Stenström has personally signed the last million-dollar agreement, a so-called call agreement from the municipality's framework agreement, with a controversial advisor.
It was held on August 5 this year and included a thousand hours worth SEK 1,251,000 excluding VAT.
But that she should have been involved in some way in hiring a consultant, she emphatically denies it.
– No no no. I am not.
When GT refers to a contract worth more than SEK 1.2 million, Maria Stenström says the other thing is that she signs all the contracts in the company, including this one.
"It's just me signing the contract," he says.
If you cannot sign a contract, for example, if a difficult situation arises, then would the CEO come in well?
– Yes, absolutely. if I thought it was a nasty situation, if I thought it was inappropriate, if for example it affected me.
Mountain holidays and sailing
A review of the consulting account, which Parking has been collecting since 2016, also shows that Maria Stenström has been registered as a client and final certificate on at least four occasions, that is, the one that finally approves the purchase of the consultant in question.
In total, this consultant alone has been hired for SEK 7.7 million excluding VAT since 2016.
And now GT may find that Maria Stenström's and consultant's private relationships do not belong to the past. Several sources within the Parking Company, both former employees and current staff, describe them as friends.
As early as April, Counselor and Maria Stenström were on a short ski holiday in the Norwegian mountains, where they shared a cabin with a jacuzzi and sauna at Trysil, along with several other employees within the parking company.
The cottage was rented by another employee of Parking.
Maria Stenström: "Not My Cabin"
– It wasn't my cabin, it wasn't my trip. It's clear that we meet in private, I work with a lot of advisers, says Maria Stenström.
But "bumping" is probably something you do on the bus or in the city. Going to a cabin together in the mountains is another matter?
– I mean, I can meet him at private parties in someone's home. Now I haven't come across other advisers in the same context, but for me it's a private relationship if I'm bidding with him or he bids with me.
A few months later, you sign a $ 1.2 million contract.
– I don't really see that connection. To have a clutch.
Considering what happened in 2012, when the connection with that particular advisor was on the rise. Wasn't there reason to think of a relationship?
– I don't like it because we don't spend time in private. Maybe you have a different opinion, others too. But I didn't make that connection.
At a sailing competition in Lysekil
In early August, just when the last million-dollar contract with a consultant was signed, Maria Stenström and the consultant participated in the Lysekil Women, an international sailing competition with several competition sections, which took place from 5 to 10 August.
– Last summer we were sailing a lady in Lysekil and then went there by his boat, says Maria Stenström when asked how often she is at sea today with a counselor.
She says that she was occasionally in front of a consultant's boat before the 2012 scandal, but that this time she would only go to Lysekil to greet an old colleague and mutual friend.
A friend they worked with when Maria Stenström was a senior manager at Gothenburg Energi – and she also hired a current current advisor.
She also employed the same advisor at the former Maria Stenströma post in Alingsås.
There are skis in April and you go together in the summer. It still sounds like some private contact.
– We meet in private. But this is not a private contact, it is through another old colleague who worked for Gothenburg Energy who would compete in the World Cup, says Maria Stenström.
Pure free time
Gothenburg AB Parkerings AB City Board Chairman Margareta Broang, M, said Wednesday that the board was unaware of the company's old scandal when an anonymous whistleblower report arrived.
"We take the claims very seriously," said Margareta Broang.
GT was in contact with an official who rented a cabin in Trysil. He states that it was pure leisure activity with no affiliation with the company. He states that he also invited staff and advisors involved in food and travel to the cabin last weekend.
GT sought a current advisor who did not respond to our contact requests.