Raggi rejects Berdini resignation (3)

City planning chief allegedly chided mayor in denied interview

(ANSA) - Rome, February 8 - Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi on Wednesday rejected the resignation of city planning chief Paolo Berdini, saying he had "apologised" for a press interview criticising her, which he denied giving. "I rejected the resignation, with reservations, because Rome is facing complex issues, such as zoning plans and the (AS Roma) stadium," she said.
    "Berdini didn't mean those words, he doesn't think them. I was able to clear it up with him and he apologised.
    "He was mortified for what he said." Berdini had tendered his resignation after criticising Raggi in an interview with La Stampa, which he denied giving. "I reaffirm my esteem in Mayor Raggi and tender my resignation," he said in a statement. In the interview, which was confirmed by La Stampa, Berdini allegedly called Raggi "unprepared" and said she had surrounded herself by a "gang" of allegedly incompetent officials. He also allegedly claimed she and her former cabinet chief Salvatore Romeo were "lovers, and ill-equipped" for their jobs. Raggi is being probed in two separate cases, over Romeo's appointment and over the appointment of Renato Marra, brother of her ex-right-hand man Raffaele, as city tourism chief. Raffaele Marra was arrested in a separate corruption probe in December.
    Raggi also took flak, but is not under investigation, after it emerged that Romeo, her former cabinet chief, made out two life assurance policies to her, months before getting his job.