Blueprint for character assassination: The case of Ákos Hadházy

In a piece I wrote for the Christmas issue of Népszava I described Ákos Hadházy as “a very sympathetic man who unfortunately has chosen the wrong party.” It now seems that his colleagues in LMP, with substantial help from Fidesz, are doing their best to end his career as co-chairman of his party.

Let’s start with Hadházy’s “friends” within LMP. On January 4 Magyar Idők reported that Antal Csárdi, LMP’s candidate for the mayoralty of Budapest in 2014, will challenge the newly elected Ákos Hadházy. Csárdi explained that he had been toying with the idea of running for the co-chairmanship right after the resignation of András Schiffer but decided against it, wanting to see in what direction Hadházy would take the party. Obviously, Csárdi doesn’t like Hadházy’s friendly relations with the other opposition parties and thinks that “the independence of the party should be more strongly emphasized.” A few days later, in an interview with András Stump, he was even more explicit. As a faithful “Schiffer man,” he stressed that the “independence of the party” is “the legacy of András Schiffer” and must not be abandoned. “When Ákos keeps talking about dialogue with the left-wing parties, when he doesn’t unequivocally exclude cooperation with them, he does harm to LMP.” The leading lights of LMP, including András Schiffer, obviously want to get rid of Hadházy.

Although Csárdi in his interview said that he doesn’t consider Hadházy’s anti-corruption work all that important, Fidesz thinks otherwise. Shortly after the holidays Origo came out with articles that tried to blacken Hadházy’s name. The first stab was a dud, but about two weeks later “investigative journalists” in the pay of the government tried again. I guess they needed time to gather all sorts of unsubstantiated stories about the “Hadházy clan,” as they call Hadházy and his family.

First, let me summarize the bare facts. Hadházy’s father, Árpád Hadházy, is also a veterinarian. He works as a toxicological specialist for the agribusiness Szekszárd Zrt. owned by Baron Georg (György) Twickel, son of the late Countess Mária Terézia Zichy. In addition, he is the county chairman of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture.  He grows wine on 6.5 hectares, which he purchased over the years, some of which he planted himself.

Origo presumably stumbled on an article in the local online news site teol.hu, which reported that the Szekszárd chairman of Jobbik had accused the elder Hadházy of buying land through proxies. The initial Origo story was feeble. The story was not really about Hadházy but about his boss Georg Twickel, who apparently is known around Szekszárd as “the green baron.” He was the one who was accused of buying land at auctions, apparently using his employees as cover. The only connection Origo could come up with between Ákos Hadházy and Twickel was that Hadházy and his wife were “friends” with a certain Mrs. Gescheidt on Facebook, whose husband “was connected” to Twickel.

Four minutes after the publication of this article, Ákos Hadházy replied. He stated that he has “no connection with von Twickel, a dual Hungarian-German citizen,” who is his father’s employer. As far as he knows, Twickel and his mother had the right of first refusal on those lands that have now been auctioned off to others under the program “Land for Farmers,” and therefore Twickel has legitimate grievances. Otherwise, Hadházy reiterated that his father still has only 6.5 hectares. Well, one couldn’t do much with this story.

Ákos Hadházy

After two weeks of silence, the onslaught, such as it was, began. First, on TV2’s news, called “Tények.” That’s a real laugh since “tények” means “facts” in Hungarian, and ever since Andy Vajna purchased TV2 Tények has become notorious for distorting the facts. TV2’s shot across the bow missed its target by a mile. The most it could come up with was two young employees of Twickel who were allegedly used as proxies for Twickel’s purchases. As an attack on Hadházy, it was totally beside the point.

Ripost then came out with an article that dwelt on Hadházy’s “darned expensive hobby.” He has a pilot’s license and “flies here and there with a private plane, which is harmful to the environment.” This is how he provokes his party. Moreover, the only way Hadházy has enough money for his hobby is from his family’s shady business practices. This accusation was completely unfounded. In fact, those who watched “Private Sphere” on ATV could see Hadházy pulling out a rickety-looking little plane built in 1965 which new cost about 50 million. It isn’t even his; it is owned by a club. Hadházy only rents it for about 20,000 forints an hour here and there.

By yesterday Origo discovered that the real culprit of the Hadházy story is Ákos’s mother. “At the end of 2015 she wanted to acquire 150 hectares of land,” which it seems she never got, but it still cost her 30 million forints to bid for the property. Moreover, Mrs. Hadházy’s lawyer was also the lawyer of “the right-hand man of Georg Albert Freiherr von Twickel, Tolna County’s green baron.” And, as if it mattered at all, the article pointed out that this “right-hand man” bought 223 hectares for almost 617 million forints. Of course, none of this has anything to do with either Mrs. Árpád Hadházy or her son. The journalists of Origo were also extremely sloppy in trying to piece together a bunch of lies about the Hadházy family. For example, they misunderstood Ákos’s comments about the right of first refusal of Twickel and his mother and attributed it to Ákos Hadházy and his mother. Since the LMP politician considers the whole program of “Land to the Farmers” a sham, they said, he has completely discredited himself because he and his family think of themselves as victims of the program.

This article also tried to prove that the Hadházys had lied about the size of their landholdings. Instead of 6.5 hectares, they actually own 14 hectares. Origo also found 6 hectares of forest in the possession of Mrs. Árpád Hadházy. Thus, Origo concluded, just in 2015 and 2016 the Hadházy family spent 50 million forints on land purchases, “and if Mrs. Árpád Hadházy had managed to buy 150 hectares they would have had to borrow 270 million.” But, of course, she didn’t.

That was not enough. Magyar Idők found a neighbor whom Ákos Hadházy allegedly wanted to turn out from his apartment by forcing him to pay half a million forints for work done on the roof. Of course, the poor man had no money to pay, at which point the heartless and ruthless Hadházy couple simply turned off the water supply to the old man’s apartment.

At this point Hadházy explained a few things on his Facebook page.  “Unfortunately neither Origo nor TV2 could show me where my father’s 50 hectares are.” His mother did inherit 4.5 hectares of land in Hódmezővásárhely 20 years ago but left it in the possession of of his grandmother. The forest turned out to be a black locust (akác) grove which indeed his parents bought last year and which he didn’t know about. And, he added with a smiley face, “they caught me.” As for the neighbor, the roof had to be fixed and the owner of a small apartment in the building refused to pay his share. Hadházy offered him a contract for support for life in lieu of the price of his share of the cost, which he didn’t accept. As for the water, the Hadházy’s bathroom was being modernized and the plumber closed off a pipe which, as it turned out, supplied the old man’s apartment. As a result of this mistake it was also discovered that Hadházy’s neighbor had been paying nothing for water for the last ten years since the pipe was connected to the Hadházy’s water supply. At this point, Hadházy paid for the work to restore water to the neighbor’s apartment. As it stands, the Hadházys are still paying for the man’s water.

I know this has been a long story, but it tells a lot about the methods of the Fidesz government media. Hadházy is getting under Fidesz’s skin. He is dogged and refuses to give up on his corruption cases, which are getting closer and closer to the top. Therefore, somehow he must be shown to be corrupt himself. That seems to be a tall order.

January 12, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
petofi
Guest

re: Russia & Putin in the world today

Google Molly McKew and her article:

“Putin’s Long Game”

Member

Dr. Akos Hadhazy is one of the few truly admirable and resourceful politicians in Hungary today. Orban’s signature smear and FUD campaign against Dr. Hadhazy is yet another page out of that arch-criminal’s familiar and odious foul-playbook, of which the 2011 “philosopher affair” was far from the first. (His anti-Gyurcsany machinations were still by far his foulest character assassination crime to date.) Dr. Hadhazy is far too good, and honest (and intelligent) for LMP, Hungary’s faux-green party, which is really just the Schiffer cult. I hope he will soon join one of the genuine opposition parties, preferably DK. With his indomitable integrity and artful detective work on corruption he can become a formidable force in Hungarian politics once freed from the ideological duplicity and looniness of LMP. Let him gracefully hand over its helm to Csardi and abandon the rudderless LMP ship.

Guest

I fully concur.

pappp
Guest

totally OT:

84% (!) of American police officers voted Donald Trump and only 8% voted Clinton.

Now how many of the Hungarian police force would vote for any Hungarian leftist opposition party?

I guess it’s clear that in any dictatorship the loyalty of the police is of paramount importance. Personally I also think that 80-90% of them would be Fidesz-Jobbik voters.

http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2016/09/the-2016-police-presidential-poll.aspx

Ferenc
Guest

I think this basically questions the selection procedures for police officers in the USA. Is that done in a ‘balanced’ way and also ‘checked’ afterwards?

webber
Guest

Police officers are recruited differently in each state, each county, and each city.
Nowhere is there a political selection of police officers. Potential police officers are not judged by their political views.

But is it really a surprise that people who want to be policemen would tend to be more right-wing than the average citizen?

pappp
Guest

It’s bit of an understatement to say policemen “tend to be more right wing” when the ratio is 1:10 compared to the ratio in the general population which is more like 1.03:1.

Istvan
Guest
As I have pointed out before the active duty, reserve, and retired military most likely voted overwhelmingly for President elect Trump. I am a rarity in my opposition to Trump. So support for Trump amongst those of us trained to administer deadly force is extensive in the USA. The police unions, called fraternal orders of police, endorsed Trump. The primary reason was his support for the use of deadly force in situations of resistance to arrest by suspects that has taken on vast racial dimensions here in the USA. Because here in the USA handguns are purchasable and are widely illegally carried by criminals there is a propensity for police to shoot when in doubt. The Democrats showed some sympathy for movements in the African American communities for the police to use greater restraint in deadly force, this alienated numerous police officers, including some who are African American or Hispanic. But some minority officers believe white cops can and do in some cases shoot first and ask questions later. As I have indicated before I am a licensed concealed gun carrier. As of June 1, 2016, there were a total of 181,489 active concealed carry civilian license holders in the… Read more »
pappp
Guest

I spent some time in Texas once upon a time and the family of five I lived with owned two shotguns, a hunting rifle and two handguns. It was a very quiet neighborhood and it was a middle-class, upper middle class family. One of the three children who was 16 at the time went hunting with one of his buddies taking the rifle and one of the four family vehicles with him. It was indeed a very weird feeling to see all those guns and ammo.

bimbi
Guest

Istvan @ 6:34 a.m.

That marvellous New Orleans tenderloin district pianist, Ferd ‘Jelly Roll’ Morton, in his 1938 Library of Congress recordings on his personal musical history put it very well when he said, “I respected the policeman very much because I had learned that it didn’t take much for him to shoot you down” – things haven’t changed much in the last 79 years, have they? But shoot to kill?

A retired (24 year service) US Military Policeman that I know on discussing this issue was amazed that police don’t just shoot to injure and bring their quarry down instead of shooting to kill. A question of skill and training, perhaps?

Good to hear that ol’ Istvan still packs a heard-hittin’ 38 Special. After all shooting murders have risen, what is it, 80 % this last year in Chicago? You never know when you might get the chance to boost the total…

Guest

Afaik in most European countries the police are suppose to shoot to make someone “danger free” or shoot a suspect in the leg to keep him from running away – while in The USA this is forbidden, they have to “shoot to kill”!

Like when a German policeman sees a guy with a gun in his hand he’ll try to shoot him in the arm – but US police will fire to kill and not just one bullet but as many as possible.

There are stats on this – unbelievable!

Matt_L
Guest

To be fair, this shoot to kill training is not necessarily because of malice on the individual police officer. It is a completely different system of training. As Istvan notes above, there are a large number of both legal and illegal handguns in the United States. The police training in jurisdictions around the US reflects this. Germany does not have nearly the same number of firearms, much less handguns on its streets. Personally, I would like to see the police abandon shoot-to-kill training, but it is not fair to ask them to do so unless we also enact some meaningful restrictions on handguns.

Guest

Matt, I totally agree with you – it is a kind of vicious circle! And the US politicians (at least the republicans) don’t want to change the system, even small steps like more checks before someone can buy a gun …
For us Europeans it is really unimaginable – i’ve compared some statistics once on wiki because we had a similar discussion in a German forum. The USA really feels like the Wild West there!

webber
Guest

I disagree. The Guardian has a count of people shot by the police in the US, with the official reports on what happened. Many – perhaps most – were waving guns or had shot guns, and in that case the shoot to kill seems okay to me.
BUT…
What about the guy naked and waving a knife in traffic? Did they have to shoot him to death? Could they not have shot him in the leg?
What about the mentally ill guy throwing rocks? Should he have been shot to death? Couldn’t they have shot him in the leg?

Does it really have to be EITHER we shoot them to death, OR we shoot to disable, but keep them alive?

Aren’t police officers smart enough to make a decision from time to time to shoot at non-vital body parts?

Can’t we have training to do that, now, regardless of gun control regulations?

webber
Guest

Sure. Just as it is an understatement to say that educated Americans tend to be more liberal, or that Californians tended to vote for Trump. So what?

webber
Guest

Meant to say, Californians tended to vote AGAINST Trump.

Ferenc
Guest

I don’t mean political selection, just selection. The police are there to serve all the people, right. Therefore for all people should it should be possible to identify themselves with police(wo)men. And criteria for selection should be based on just that.
Do ‘left-wing’ want less law-and-order than ‘right-wing’? Don’t think really, just law-and-order with a slightly different emphasis, e.g.same treatment of elite and of ordinary people.
There’s one thing I can image to be used to justify the difference in (political) support, and that is that the Obama government was a few times critical about certain police actions. In my opinion this criticism was fully correct, and therefore for me not valid in this discussion.
But please let’s not go further in this, and concentrate on our main concern here: Hungary.

Matt_L
Guest

I believe this ratio Trump to Clinton supporters is reversed for public school teachers, but I don’t have the actually poll figures to support that assumption.

e-1956
Guest

Hillary sympathizers may complain about the cops.

While the Hungarian left is a little slow and disorganized, but surely more informed about the State of Russia than Hillary.

Even Russia felt it necessary to dump her.

Tyrker
Guest

“Personally I also think that 80-90% of them would be Fidesz-Jobbik voters.”

Jobbik – perhaps. Fidesz – not so much. Remember, Fidesz humiliated the country’s police force by implying that all the violence that took place on 23 October 2006 was entirely the police’s fault – and then proceeded to take away the preferential pension of armed forces personnel, including policemen and -women. I have a gut feeling that most police officers simply hate Orbán. But yes, they might be Jobbik voters.

bimbi
Guest

Throw enough excrement and some of it will stick. It is the oldest game in town and Orban/Fidesz is happy to dig into the slop bucket when it suits. Worked well with Gyurcsany, didn’t it?

Ferenc
Guest
In 3 months (since I started to follow things ‘Hungarian’), this is the 2nd ‘character assassination’ campaign (the other being against Vona). It seems these are done with the same ‘tools’ (TV2 Tenyek – Magyar Idok – mouthpiece internet media -etc), also I understand that in the past more of such campaigns were done. Best method against these sort of things is not to wait and be a victim, but be prepared for such things and able to immediately discredit the ‘tools’. If this can be done there is no need to even go into the accusations. I suggest the following: 1.make a list of all such previous campaigns 2.get clear the procedures the ‘tools’ followed 3.define the weak spots of the ‘tools’ (which can discredit them in the view of the people) 4.prepare caricatures of these ‘tools’, which make a complete fool of them 5.when sensed the start of a new campaign, publish these caricarures (e.g.articles, videos, posters, etc) 6.on top of that, the target of the new campaign, should be given extra support in the things he’s working on and put an emphasize on those in the media (so that the campaign sizzles out and the real things… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

Yesterday wanted to watch the TV2 Tenyek item myself. Found an official link to the tenyek site, after going there the first thing which appeared was………. COF clown advert (with Gyurcsany and Vona).
The item itself started with pushing the ‘strawman’ word, a lousy report followed, at the end Hadházy Ákos himself was given the microphone (at his ‘corruption info #50’) and he ridiculed TV2 (to be present now for the first time, but for reasons of a campaign against a member of the opposition).
When checking the link today (to prepare this comment), the COF clown didn’t appear anymore. Probably they (COF&co) are working on a new one……. So herewith I recommend Hadházy Ákos, to start ridiculing COF in advance of any billboard/advert/etc. against him, like:
“I’m awaiting to see the COF or similar billboards about me, and if they don’t appear, unfortunately COF and similar might have stopped preparing, because of my remark now here.”
Be one step ahead of the disgusting bunch! Hajra!!!

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Just read about an interesting Hungarian film ‘Az állampolgár’
article: http://444.hu/2017/01/13/egy-magyar-film-ami-nekifutasbol-teli-ruszttel-torkon-rug
trailer: http://indavideo.hu/video/Az_allampolgar
Has anybody here seen it?

Guest

Reading this on Ákos Hadházy makes me happy in a way but sad in the end!

Happy to hear that there are honest people in Hungary who stand up for their and other people’s rights and sad because even LMP ( a party which I had hopes for in the early days) has shown that it is essentially full of crap like Jobbik and Fidesz!

Of course it’s not the best idea to start another new party in Hungary but I feel that a “real” Green party might make an impact – or are Hungarians just not “green enough”?

If I listen to my wife I have to believe that most Hungarians are “eco-pigs” who don’t care for the environment and the future (their children?) at all but are happily destroying it by all means, polluting their own air and water like crazy!

Every day we see a lot of thingshappening that might get you a big fine in Germany eg or even send you to jail! Is this comparable to the (in)famous Hungarian suicide urge?

Ferenc
Guest

May be and Anti-Green Party could be successful………..BBrrrrr (shivers down my spine)

wpDiscuz