The mayor of the town of Izsák, southeast of Budapest, has a lot on his plate. In addition to his mayoral duties, József Mondok (Fidesz) and his family operate a gas station in the town of 6,000, and they were fortunate enough to win a government contract to operate a national tobacco shop, which they’ve done since 2013. Mondok, mayor since 1998, is also the vice-president of the Hungarian Horseriding Association, the president of the Bács-Kiskun County Horseriding Association, and the master hunter of the Hubertus Hunting Club.
According to a 444 report, Mondok, a hunting enthusiast, applied for HUF 35 million (USD 121,000) in EU funds for the construction of a hunting lodge through his company Mondok Kft. Coincidentally, at the time Mondok’s company submitted its application for funds, Mondok sat on the jury of the local association which manages such applications. A stroke of good fortune saw Mondok Kft. win the funding, and construction of the hunting lodge was completed in Izsák at the beginning of 2015.
Shortly thereafter, the lodge was registered on Izsák’s website as an accommodation. However, there is no way to book the lodge, and it doesn’t appear on any accommodation websites. In fact, according to locals, the town’s new lodge is always fully booked: mayor Mondok himself has moved in.
444 journalists traveled to Izsák early one morning and found a black Nissan Navara pickup truck parked outside the hunting lodge. This is the truck the municipality provides the mayor to conduct his mayoral duties, and sure enough, Mondok emerged from the lodge and drove to the Town Hall to commence his day’s work. Journalists tried to reach Mondok by email on numerous occasions to ask why he had moved into the EU-funded hunting lodge, but never received any response. They called his office in the morning but Mondok hadn’t arrived yet. They called in the afternoon and he’d already left. When they tried his mobile phone, someone else picked up and said the mayor was in a meeting, and that he would call back. He never called, and no calls from that number were ever picked up again.