Roland Out Today Party

Duchâtelet in Sint-Truiden

  • In 2004, when Koninklijke Sint-Truidense Voetbalvereniging (STVV) was in financial difficulties, Duchâtelet stepped in and bought the football club. The club had recently completed construction of the new east stand, which had severely impacted on finances. The club's debt at that time was around €700,000.
  • On 18th June 2006, NV Stayen purchased Blavier Farm, with a view to converting this historical farmstead for use as a STVV player hostel and carpark. This area had an agriculture designation in the Sint-Truiden strategic plan.
  • In October 2006, Duchâtelet contested the Sint-Truiden municipal election. At that time he was not living in Sint-Truiden, in fact he lived on Eduard Van Steenbergenlaan, Deurne, Antwerp. One of the key qualifying requirements to run as a municipal election candidate is to be a local resident. However, in the case of Duchâtelet, because he owned a house at Staaien, right next to the stadium of STVV, he was allowed to stand for VLD-Vivant regardless.
  • On 14th October 2006, Duchâtelet was elected to the Sint-Truiden city council. As part of a coalition between SP.A, VLD-Vivant & CD&V, Duchâtelet became chairman of the city council. The results of the 2006 and 2012 elections are to be found here:
  • On 19th May 2008, during a council meeting, Councillor Filip Moers (SP.A), requested that Duchâtelet (Open VLD), leave the chamber while the provincial spatial implementation plan (PRUP), giving demarcation of the city limits, was discussed. This was significant because Duchâtelet hoped that Blavier Farm would be brought within the city limits, thereby offering greater development options. It would seem that there were insinuations of deceit and conflict of interest aimed at Duchâtelet by Moers. These insinuations were rebuffed by Duchâtelet. "I am rich, if I want I can swim in chocolate, so why would I steal another bar of chocolate'" he said.
  • Staaien, the home of STVV, was owned by the City of Sint-Truiden. On 18th August 2008, Duchâtelet announced the sale of his shares in STVV to his life-partner Marieke Höfte. In doing so he avoided a clear and obvious conflict of interest, paving the way for STVV to purchase Staaien from the city council (of which Duchâtelet was chairman), at a price significantly less than the true market value.
  • On 20th August 2008 mayor Ludwig Vandenhove (SP.A) and councillor Filip Moers (SP.A) again filed a complaint against Duchâtelet (Open VLD). Duchâtelet refused to leave the chamber during the recent Council meeting, when a vote was taken on the demarcation of the city limits. The quarrel about demarcation has been dragging on for many months now. The new PRUP stipulated that Duchâtelet's Blavier Farm was outside the city limits. Vandenhove and Moers therefore accused him of a conflict of interest and didn't want him to take part in the vote on the plan. Duchâtelet insisted he had a right to take part in the in the discussion and the vote and only when former mayor Jef Cleerens decided to postpone the vote until the next council meeting, did Duchâtelet leave the meeting. Duchâtelet said, "Filip Moers acted as if I was obliged to leave the chamber, and this is a serious mistake, so the Hasselt prosecutor's office will receive a complaint from me against Ludwig Vandenhove and Moers.
  • Duchâtelet filed a complaint with the court against Ludwig Vandenhove and Filip Moers on 10th January 2009. "I'm not going to be called a liar," said Duchâtelet. SP.A Limburg responded, "this is a step too far", said SP.A leaders Herman Reynders and Peter Vanvelthoven. The governor must now mediate. As long as there is no solution, there is no council meeting. There was no council meeting in Sint-Truiden the previous day. In the afternoon, the SP.A group in the headquarters in Hasselt explained why they had called off that meeting. The Sint-Truiden councillors themselves did not say anything, Herman Reynders and Peter Vanvelthoven spoke in their place. 

    "Duchâtelet has filed a criminal complaint against Vandenhove and Moers", explained the leaders. This means that an investigating judge must study the case. The court then decides whether a court case will be brought. In that case, the parliamentary immunity of Vandenhove will be lifted. The complaint concerns slander, defamation and influencing civil servants. 

    The reason for the quarrel is the demarcation of the small urban area in Sint-Truiden where Duchâtelet's Blavier Farm is located. "In politics there are often a dispute, but taking legal action against a coalition partner? That is something we've. That is why it is no longer possible to meet in the council chamber. We want Duchâtelet to withdraw his complaint immediately. We have now asked the governor to mediate." 
  • On 5th October 2009, Blavier Farm was listed as a building of historical interest.
  • The new north stand was completed at Staaien stadium in 2009. As well as facilities for football match-days, the new building included the Stayen Hotel, various offices, Grand Café Stayen, La Cantina, Synergie Employment, Eldi Electrical, Lampiris Energy, & Game Mania. These were in addition to Tom & Co and Toy Champ, retail outlets already established in the east stand.
  • On 16th February 2009, the city council agreed to sell Staaien to STVV, - the price was set at €551,500 - roughly the price of a modern villa in nearby Zepperen. Duchâtelet was happy to announce that the purchase was for the benefit of STVV, but in the event it was used as the basis to build Marieke Höfte's multi-million Euro property company.
  • On 16th November 2009, the contract of sale for the disposal of Staaien, was signed by all relevant parties. Shortly after the sale, ownership of Staaien was transferred from STVV to NV Stayen.
  • On 24th August 2013, following the city council's issue of socio-economic permit for 9,249 sq m of new commercial space at Stayen, Filip Moers expresses concerns regarding the potential for a negative impact on businesses in the city centre.
  • By 2014 the west stand was completed, with more commercial space occupied by the Rvue nightclub, Stayen conference facilities, more offices accommodating various professional services, Qlife Fitness, AE+ Architects , Lidl Supermarket, Decathlon Sports, Kruidvat, Bel & Bo, Action, Albert Heijn, Big Bazar, Wash 'n Go, ConceptC Hair Salon. 
  • Adjacent to the stadium, two new apartment buildings were built. As well as the residential dwellings there was also a large Callexcel call centre, Uno Due Restaurant, Nero Bianco Restaurant and the Café du Soleil. 
  • The council decisions taken while Duchâtelet was chairman; firstly to sell Staaien to Duchâtelet's interests at a knock-down price, and then to grant planning permission for extensive new commercial space, have arguably caused distress to long-established hotels, cafés, restaurants and shops in the city centre, - just as Filip Moers warned. A stroll around Grote Markt and the adjacent streets reveals many empty retail business premises. Has the city council been complicit in causing this sad situation? Is this Duchâtelet's Sint-Truiden legacy?