ANAC slams Spelacchio spending (4)

Spent what two trees cost in 2015, same firm used last 3 yrs

(ANSA) - Rome, January 10 - Italy'a anti-corruption authority ANAC has found fault with Rome's handling of its maligned-then-praised 'mangy' Christmas tree, Spelacchio. ANAC, acting on a complaint, said that the tree cost about the same as two trees, placed in two parts of the city including Spelacchio's location Piazza Venezia, did in 2015. It also said the transport, positioning and removal of the tree had been entrusted to the same firm for the last three years, without respecting rotation principles.
    ANAC said it had recently sent Rome city hall its dossier on the case, requesting a response within 30 days, both on the contract and the spending.
    ANAC was acting on a complaint from centre-left Democratic Party (PD) member Marco Palumbo.
    Rome will bid farewell to Spelacchio at a party for the now-famous tree on Thursday.
    The once-derided Spelacchio is set for a new life as souvenir blocks of wood and a hut where mothers can nurse and look after their children after its stay in Rome's central Piazza Venezia ends.
    "Spelacchio has won the love and affection of most people over time," Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said Tuesday, announcing what she called the 'Baby Little Home' that will be made of it after it is removed Thursday.
    Recalling the world news headlines it has generated, she said "it has become an international star, and now it will become an example of recycling and re-use".
    She said mothers would be able to look after their children in the 'home', which would have "an armchair for nursing mums to feed their babies, as well as a play table for the young ones".
    One block of the tree will also be handed over to an artist to be remodelled and go on permanent show, the mayor said.
    Councillor Pinucica Montanari said Spelacchio will now gain fresh fame as "the symbol of a circular economy, ever more necessary for Rome's future and that of the new generations".
    Raggi's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement said Spelacchio would get a send-off Thursday with a "farewell party" in Piazza Venezia.
    The messages and wishes that tourists and Romans have hung on its boughs will be turned into a book, they said.
    First slammed as a threadbare disgrace resembling a toilet brush, Spelacchio gradually gathered defenders and ended its days as a 'tree of desires' on which selfie-snapping tourists posted their wishes.