The price of honesty

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The price of honesty is becoming increasingly intolerable. In order to be honest in Italy, you have to pay protection money to the Government. Someone kills your father at work and all that happens is that they are sentenced to pay you some compensation. However, the company’s insurance policy had expired at the time of the accident and the owners are penniless. Having won the court case, the family is condemned not only to pay their own court fees, but also those of the guilty parties, who claim to be completely destitute. 9,000 Euro is the price to be paid for honesty, and for the death of a person.
Samantha Di Persio’s book "Morti Bianche" (Workplace Deaths) is freely available on this blog.

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"Dear Mr. Grillo,
I am writing to you because, while I was browsing on your site today, as I do virtually every day, I noticed the book that talks about "Workplace deaths". On the morning of 28 April 2000, my mother received a telephone call advising her that my father had been injured in a serious accident at work and that he had been taken to hospital. From then, my father spent another 42 days in a coma before sadly passing away on the morning of 9 June 2000. The owners of the company where the accident occurred were insured, however, the policy had expired on the very day of the accident, and so, notwithstanding the many “reassurances” given by their insurance broker, the insurance policy was obviously declared null and void.
The two joint owners of the company were condemned (an investigation had been conducted) and subsequently lost a court case instituted by my family and I, during which the judge also established the amount of the compensation to be paid to the widow and her children (although this would never bring back my Father, who meant the world to me!).
And what do you think happened after this absolute tragedy struck us and changed our lives forever? We never received any compensation (even though, I repeat, my Father meant the world to me) because the then former owners of the company shrewdly decided to arrange things so that, to all intents and purposes, they had no personal assets and so, by law, there was nothing that could be attached. It would appear that one of these two is now earning a salary (apparently a starvation wage) working for a company registered in his father’s name, while the other has gone into hiding and also does not appear to have any personal assets to his name (even though it seems that there is even a boat registered in his son’s name).
Is that the end of the story then? Nooooo…, not even maybe! Two years ago, an account arrived by post, at my home, from the Tax Authorities, demanding payment for certain unpaid court fees owed to the Court of Livorno and amounting to some nine thousand Euro. Through my attorney, I asked what the meaning of this was, since we instituted and won a court case in which the judge ruled that my mother, brother and I were entirely in the right. The response? “Certain costs have been incurred and the court is not particularly concerned about who won the case and who lost, the important thing is that these costs are reimbursed! And so, since the two guilty parties appear to have no personal assets and are, therefore, untouchable in terms of the law, guess who now has to pay up? Kindest regards." Luca Giacomelli

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 03:51 PM in | Comments (7) | Comments in Italian (translated) Post a comment | Sign up | Send to a friend | | GrilloNews | listen_it_it.gifListen |
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Not that it's a big deal but sorry people, I wrote the 6.16 comment because I thought I had lost the 5.45 comment.

Posted by: Lou Pacella | October 19, 2008 06:43 AM


This letter is about the absurd and bureucratic cruelty. If any country can be said to personify bureucratic cruelty that country would be Italy. This letter screams injustice. It embodies the callous arrogance that people face daily in today's Italy. While workers are murdered in their workplaces Silvio dines with his courtesans laughing at his jokes. So much for his entrepreneurial ethic.

Posted by: Lou Pacella | October 19, 2008 06:16 AM


Luca, This is despicable. It re-enforces for me the fact that "justice" is a concept. Morality is the slave of the powerful. My father grew up in Italy and he always said to me that there was a law for the rich and one for the poor. Nothings changed I see.
Regards Mick

Posted by: Mick Radatti | October 19, 2008 05:54 AM


The letter above is about the absurd and bureaucratic cruelty. And if any one country in the West can be said to personify bureaucratic cruelty that country would be Italy. This letter screams injustice. It evokes the absurdities and the arrogance of Italian life today. While Silvio dines with his courtesans laughing at his jokes, workers are murdered in their workplaces and made fun of. Talk about entrepreneurial ethic.

Posted by: lou pacella | October 19, 2008 05:45 AM


Dear Blog,
It's been more than a week since i can't send comments any more: can you please send me an e-mail to clarify the nature of this trouble?
Thanks in advance.

Posted by: alberto arnoldi | October 19, 2008 01:59 AM


This is a sad story and is something which happens frequently. Even in criminal cases, these corporations and their managers disappear in order to avoid paying the fines and then start up again under a different business name/structure (known as 'phoenix companies'). There are many gaps in the law when it comes to workplace deaths which highlight the capitalist basis of global legal systems. This means people don't come first, or, more correctly, workers don't come first - there are definitely people who benefit from these flawed laws.

Posted by: Christina Elisabeth | October 19, 2008 01:11 AM


probabilmente io sono estremista in quello che sto per scrivere, ma la beffa dopo il danno, proprio non lo accetterei.
Al tuo posto li cercherei i signori che hanno ucciso tuo padre e i 9000 euro glieli toglierei a forza di frustate.
Ciao. Mi dispiace per quello che ti e accaduto.

Posted by: Paolo Giangaspero | October 18, 2008 10:05 PM


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