Die administrative assistance from Offenbach came promptly. At 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, Offenbach Mayor Felix Schwenke received a call from his Frankfurt colleague Peter Feldmann. The SPD politician Feldmann, who was under enormous pressure at home because of various allegations, asked his party friend to welcome the evening reception “Frankfurt meets Davos” at the World Economic Forum alone. Feldmann gave a statement scheduled for the following morning as the reason. That’s why he had to return home, said Schwenke of the FAZ on the sidelines of the reception. That wasn’t a problem for Schwenke: “I can’t complain about the way Peter Feldmann was treated, it was always professional between us.”
And so, a few hours later, Offenbach’s mayor opened the event organized by the Euro Finance Group and Frankfurt/Rhein-Main GmbH, which is responsible for regional location marketing, in the Swiss Alps. A small consolation for all Frankfurters: Schwenke was born in Frankfurt, only later did he change sides of the Main. And just two years ago he said in the same place that both cities had grown so close together that he felt like Frankfurt anyway. At the microphone, he explains the change in line-up to the audience as “related issues within Frankfurt”, before praising the Rhine-Main economic region as a worthwhile investment destination for business partners around the world.
A video broke the camel’s back
Even Feldmann’s trip to Switzerland was dubious and controversial, as he was heavily criticized at home because of the public prosecutor’s investigation into the AWO affair and his behavior when receiving Eintracht im Römer after winning the European Cup. He had promised restraint in public appearances. A video that gave rise to the accusation of sexist degradation of flight attendants on the flight to the final in Seville in view of a dumb saying was the straw that broke the camel’s back at home. Even in his own party, the voices for Feldmann’s resignation from office were now increasing.
The organizers of the regional Frankfurt/Rhein-Main GmbH put the supervisory board of their chairman Feldmann in a double awkward position: first with the rigid will to travel to Switzerland and want to open the event, later with the abrupt cancellation. Managing Director Eric Menges confirmed the course of events to the FAZ, but did not want to comment further. Hardly any of the guests wanted to comment publicly on Feldmann’s non-appearance. However, the resentment from all sides was clearly evident behind closed doors. One property called the process unworthy. Another said, however, that he only decided to comment shortly after Feldmann’s cancellation became known. Otherwise he would have stayed away from the event. A very clear indication that the controversial mayor as a representative of Frankfurt no longer suffered.
So it was up to Offenbach’s first citizen Schwenke to push the evening properly. Will he at least adapt to the role as temporary head of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main supervisory board if Feldmann announces his resignation the next day? He really hadn’t thought about it at all, said Schwenke with a laugh.