Julian Zado is the father of the failed rent cap, critic of the course taken by Franziska Giffey and Raed Saleh at the Berlin SPD leadership and, as state party deputy, put pressure on the continuation of the coalition with the Greens and the Left Party: Ironically, one of the most prominent representatives of the party left of the Berlin SPD should now be involved in an affair in the Federal Ministry of Defense involving money. More money for Zado. But it is also about old ties in the SPD in the capital, which few at Berlin official level are surprised by.

Zado is the office manager of Secretary of Defense Margaretha Sudhof, a comrade from the Berlin SPD. Sudhof herself was Finance State Secretary in Berlin from 2012, and in 2019 she became State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Justice under the current Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD). She then went with Lambrecht – now in the traffic light coalition – to the Ministry of Defense, Zado also moved with him, rose from department head in the Ministry of Justice to office manager in the Bendlerblock.

Jan Stoess, former head of the SPD state party in Berlin, who was considered Zado’s political mentor by the influential party left in the capital, also came to the Ministry of Defense and has headed the legal department there since March.

Now, from mid-June, after half a year in the Ministry of Defense, Zado should be given a level 6 salary, as reported by Business Insider. That would be 10,600 euros a month, about the same as a brigadier general.

This is unusually lavish for an office manager, he would probably have to skip several pay grades for it. There is also talk of other tasks that he should take on. Defense Minister Lambrecht is also said to have been presented with the process – and according to the report, she is said to have stopped the plans.

It is not clear whether Lambrecht pulled the ripcord because she herself would have been harmed. It is clear, however, that an approval could hardly be kept under cover, then the minister would also have to explain a supply affair among comrades in her department.

Lambrecht is ailing anyway – the flight of the adult son with the Bundeswehr’s readiness to fly, the visit to the posh nail salon at the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the troops see no interest in her, and the newcomer has little support in the ministry.

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It has not yet been decided whether the intervention in her comrades’ affair will make her look better as a doer – or whether it will only confirm her chaos at the Ministry of Defense.

In any case, the Department of Defense has now told Business Insider that “there are no plans to raise the office management function to level B6.” The expensive promotion to the best-paid office manager of the secretaries of state was called off, according to the report, they are usually classified six salary levels lower, at A15 and A16 with 6000 to 6500 euros a month.

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A lot is at stake for Zado. The 37-year-old lawyer and political scientist had gambled high politically. First the rent cap disaster, then he had successfully put Giffey and Saleh under pressure so that the Berlin Senate could continue with red-green-red. He was also said to have ambitions for a post as State Secretary in the new Senate. Now he will not appear again at the party conference of the Berlin SPD on June 19 in order to become state vice again – “for professional reasons”, as Giffey and Saleh explained.

Zado’s wife Julia Plehnert had recently set an example for the party left. She, who is also considered a critic of Giffey and Saleh’s course, defended the district chairmanship in Mitte – and fended off attempts to trim the district association to a pragmatic course for the party leadership.