After the conviction for tax fraud, the star couple of Levallois-Perret had to return the keys to the town hall. Tale of the last hours of a picturesque reign.
Funny Last Supper. It is played at dusk, Tuesday, February 11 at Nini, a Tunisian Jewish restaurant in Paris in the 17th arrondissement, the one that adjoins the kingdom of Levallois-Perret. In place of the apostles, nearly two hundred inhabitants, elected officials and representatives of the different religious communities of this neat city of 66,000 souls. Isabelle Balkany sits at the head table, surrounded by imam Saïd Assougdam, father Jacek Mleczko, Ali Essebki, president of the city’s Muslim Union. The pastor is there too. Atmosphere for family reunions, laughing although a bit sad. This is because a ritual meal is missing a figure. That of the godfather, Patrick Balkany, their historic mayor, elected for the first time in 1983. He dines for his part in the prison of Health, as every night since September 13 and his conviction for tax fraud. In his absence, it was his first assistant, and wife for forty-four years, who spoke. Before attacking the tuna bricks which she loves, “Acting Mayor” praises living together, fraternity. “I want it to continue,” says Isabelle Balkany. One “moving” scene, remembers one of the guests. It has the bitter flavor of the last few times. “What are you going to do next?” Asked the priest. Impossible to go to confession: “I can’t even project myself. We do not easily cut the cord with this prosperous commune, this “third child”, as she says.
In the office of Isabelle Balkany, the poster for the 1983 municipal campaign © Samuel Bollendorff
It will have to be resolved, however, justice has decided. Forced and forced, the earthy tandem has given up standing for municipal elections on March 15 and 22. It was not what they had planned: he wanted to organize the succession during a next mandate, and she, to continue to officiate in his office on the ground floor of the town hall. Struck with the seal of ineligibility for ten years for having avoided tax (on wealth and income), they had to hastily revise their plans. After decades of lavish power, an end to reign in pudding water is emerging. Monsieur is between his cell and a room at Cochin hospital, in Paris, when Madame designates the heiress, Agnes Pottier-Dumas, 34, of whom ten passed alongside the mayor Les Republicains. She was his parliamentary attache or his chief of staff. As the candidate begins her campaign, the inmate’s health falters. Isabelle Balkany begins a tour of the TV sets to alert about the fate of her husband. ” Stopped ! Choke her children. It persists. “It threw the tokens to the judges, the idea that it slams”, she justifies herself. His show pays cash. After five months behind bars, Patrick Balkany is released from prison on February 12, for health reasons, before finding his Norman home in Giverny. He did not stay there long.
“It threw the tokens for the judges, the idea that Patrick could slam in prison. »Isabelle Balkany
On the Levallois market, the Sunday ritual. © Samuel Bollendorff
The cigar cellar donated by Nicolas Sarkozy and a statue of De Gaulle. © Samuel Bollendorff
Three weeks later, on Sunday March 1, a murmur runs through the gardens of the town hall. With small steps, a familiar silhouette walks on the forecourt, in the middle of the numerous onlookers, on this market day. It has been almost six months since the Levalloisiens saw their councilor sacrifice to the Sunday tradition. ” We missed you ! Are you okay, Mayor? Says a passerby. “Softly,” replies the fallen baron of Hauts-de-Seine, short of breath. He lost weight. “You are very beautiful,” flatters a groupie of at least 60 springs. Isabelle Balkany, she kidding between the stalls, in the middle of an enamored fan club. ” Hold on tight ! What a wonderful woman! Praises Josette, 74, before offering her a bouquet of roses. Compliments are raining. Please do not be surprised. “It’s Monaco here!” Swears Samir, who presents himself as a “grain of semolina”, alluding to the nickname – “grain of rice” – whose first assistant has dressed up a municipal employee. She laughs: “Here, it’s United Colors of Levallois. Nothing seems to reach him. The motto of this concert of praise is immutable: cleanliness, safety and proximity. Deals ? We bump into it! Boast their disciples. Understood ?
The entire article can be found in our magazine No. 3873, currently on newsstands.