July 19, 2020 – Dagmar Meneghello, a famous former journalist and current gallery owner and patron of arts, living on Sveti Klement island near Hvar for the last 50 years, has been found guilty of illegal construction on the island and sentenced to six months in jail, suspended.
Over the years, we’ve written a lot about Dagmar Meneghello and the tourist, artistic and botanical paradise she and her late husband were able to create in the last half-century on Sveti Klement (often called Palmižana), one of the several islets near Hvar town, called the Paklinski Islets (again, often erroneously called Pakleni otoci, which would translate to English as “Hell Islands” – they literally have nothing to do with “hell”) – you can read some of those stories here, or here, or here… Now, the dream has once again found itself in the Croatian media, but this time because of these less charming reasons.
Vladimir Urukalo writes for Slobodna Dalmacija how the Split Municipal court found her guilty of illegal construction work performed on her property, and sentenced her to six months in jail, suspended. They claim that, back in April of 2015, she built two walls, a septic tank, some stairs on the terrain, and a small room, without any permits and against the law and zoning plans. She did all that, they say, while knowing that the construction was being performed on a protected area, one of the special interest for the state.
She claims that she’s innocent and has been wrongly accused, as the wall has been there for over fifty years, it has deteriorated significantly and the authorities were supposed to take care of its condition, but never did, so she had it redone, to prevent the slippage of the soil into the sea of the bay. As for the septic tank, she claims it was built 20 years prior, and the stairs were built entirely on her property, to allow visitors to descend to the beach. Her lawyers provided evidence that the wall has been there for at least 50 years, as well as the evidence that she had indeed requested interventions on it by the authorities. They admitted that the slippage of the soil has occurred, but that they have no money in the budget or the time to fix it – so Dagmar went ahead with the construction on her own.