Robert Golob set up a kindergarten in order to provide child care for his children with money from the state-owned company, but after Istrabenz stopped financing the kindergarten, it could not operate anymore, and all the kindergarten’s equipment was donated to the private company of Golob’s wife, Jana Nemec Golob.
Last year, the media outlet Planet TV reported on the story of the private kindergarten Hiša otrok Sonček (Children’s House – Sunshine), which was set up on the premises of the Istrabenz company in 2011 and 2012, and was run by the Prime Minister’s wife, Jana Nemec Golob, with whom the Prime Minister is now in the process of divorce. It soon turned out that this was, in fact, a job that Robert Golob had forcibly arranged for his wife.
When the aforementioned television station reported on the affair, it first pointed out that one of Golob’s main supporters is the mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, which is, of course, not surprising, given that Golob, as somebody with similar views to Janković’s, was one of the founders of Janković’s Positive Slovenia party (Pozitivna Slovenija). “They obviously have similar views on the interference of politics in the economy,” they pointed out about the Golob-Janković duo. Namely, according to their reports, Janković had a condition when joining Mercator’s supervisory board – he demanded that his company Electa, which was then taken over by his two sons, should still be able to do business and serve Mercator. Golob, on the other hand, has similarly taken care of his family. In 2008, while he was still the President of the Management Board of the Gen-I energy company, he came up with the idea of his own private kindergarten while looking for childcare for his child. Hiša otrok sonček, owned by Golob’s wife, was thus established in October 2010.
Kindergarten closed after three years
“Three years later, when he opened the Istrabenz-Gorenje business house in Kromberk near Nova Gorica, where the then Gen-I subsidiary was based, he also moved the kindergarten into the building,” the media reported, recalling that Golob justified this decision by saying that they had envisioned in-house childcare as an additional standard for their employees. The kindergarten had revenues of 156,323 euros in the first year and 70,389 euros the following year (2012). As the kindergarten was not subsidised, it relied on parents’ payments entirely. But according to Planet TV, the documents reveal that Golob himself had also been making significant contributions to the kindergarten – from the company’s own funds. After all, it is the director who determines where the donations go. In 2011, Istrabenz transferred 96 thousand euros to the kindergarten’s account, and in 2012, it was almost 30 thousand euros. It is also interesting to note that, according to the results of a diploma thesis on the subject, 83 percent of parents of the children attending the kindergarten were not employed either in Istrabenz or in Gen-I.
“Based on the findings of the diploma thesis, Istrabenz turned off the financial tap for the third year and the kindergarten was subsequently closed. The audit of the energy seller reveals not only donations, but also a special “treat” for Golob’s private childcare project. After the kindergarten closed, Istrabenz transferred the entire equipment of the kindergarten to Golob’s wife’s private company,” it was revealed at the time.
Golob claimed that he could not accept that the state was the property of politicians
But in light of all this, it is quite interesting how Golob, when he entered politics, vehemently claimed that political staffing was one of the worst things to ever happen. Golob, who was not able to accept that he was only able to spend 15 years leading the Gen-I energy company, said: “I do not accept that the state is the property of politics. I don’t accept it.” The fact that he was not actually all that bothered by political staffing was evident shortly after he took office. But he seemed to have found the employment of family members even less problematic.
When the kindergarten story ended, Golob’s wife was suddenly the Head of Public Relations and Marketing at the state-owned Gen-I. “She does business with them through her company Star Marketing. The contract is for an indefinite period and provides for a monthly lump sum of 660 euros. According to publicly available data, she earns an average of almost 80 thousand euros a year. If the lump sum is deducted, that still leaves about 70 thousand euros. However, according to her contract with Geni-I, she has an additional rate of 110 euros per hour for consultancy services, which means that she would have to do 2.5 hours of consultancy work every day to achieve such earnings,” the media also revealed about the company, which closed its doors in July 2019.
If anyone else was involved in this kind of operation, NGOs like the 8th of March Institute (Inštitut 8. marec) would probably be screaming with indignation, but that is not to be expected here. Instead, we hear praise, and the dark marks are covered up as much as possible or reported on in a peripheral way so that people forget about them, and the caravan quickly moves on.