RBB director Patricia Schlesinger offers the broadcaster’s broadcasting board to forego the continuation of her service contract. She informed Friederike von Kirchbach, the chairman of the committee, and the other members of the Broadcasting Council in a letter on Sunday.

“This waiver takes place in accordance with the aforementioned contractual regulation, taking into account a notice period of six months to the end of the month with effect from February 28, 2023,” says the letter, which is available to the daily mirror.

“This step is incredibly difficult for me. However, the personal accusations and defamation have reached a level that makes it personally impossible for me to continue in office,” explains Schlesinger, who had already resigned from her position as ARD chairwoman on Thursday.

On Monday, the Broadcasting Council will meet for its second special session after the RBB affair about allegations of nepotism, compliance violations and wasted fees.

The council’s most important right is to elect a new director – the most difficult duty is voting out. And that is exactly the topic on Monday, when the committee will again have a special meeting about the RBB affair, which has now become the Schlesinger case.

First of all, the question was in which direction the session would develop: discussion or voting out? Because in the meantime new allegations against RBB director Schlesinger have become known. Now there is a third solution: Patricia Schlesinger’s resignation of her own accord.

The meeting of the Broadcasting Council on Monday is the second extraordinary meeting after the allegations against the RBB leadership. Several members of the council have pushed for this, said Friederike von Kirchbach, the chairwoman of the panel. The meeting is not open to the public because it is about a personnel issue.

“Because of the ongoing pressure on director Schlesinger at the RBB leadership even after the resignation from the ARD leadership, we have to agree on whether the trust of the council in Schlesinger as RBB boss is still given,” von Kirchbach justified the short-term convening of the panel. At the meeting, the director herself is also to be questioned.

A few new questions were added over the weekend: The Springer publication “Business Insider”, which had started the RBB affair, followed up with a new report. With reference to leaked information, the portal writes that in addition to her salary, which increased by 16 percent to 303,000 euros in 2021, the director also received a five-digit bonus as a “variable salary component”.

This is not the only extra benefit that Patricia Schlesinger is said to have received: Since the RBB has granted her the private use of company cars – and the two chauffeurs – she has to pay tax on the monetary benefit. According to RBB, taxation is carried out via “components of remuneration”. This would mean that the broadcaster also bears these costs.

In addition, “Business Insider” wants to have found out that Schlesinger’s husband Gerhard Spörl also used the company car for his own business trips – including to the Berlin Exhibition Centre. Spörl had received a well-paid consultant contract for media coaching from trade fair boss Martin Ecknig through the mediation of RBB administrative board chief Wolf-Dieter Wolf.

Since the first special session, at which Schlesinger and Wolf on the one hand rejected all allegations and promised comprehensive clarification – not only Schlesinger’s withdrawal from the ARD leadership has happened. There had also been other new allegations before the Business Insider report – such as the secret contract for the Audi A8 luxury company car and possibly significantly higher costs for the media house construction.

After Thursday, there were already several calls from politics, which also demanded the end of Patricia Schlesinger’s RBB directorship after the resignation of the ARD chairmanship. Party affiliation was not the only deciding factor.

Petra Budke from the Brandenburg Greens openly spoke out in favor of Schlesinger’s resignation as RBB director, “to avert further damage to the RBB!”. For her Berlin party colleague Antje Kapek, on the other hand, “the moment had probably come when the RBB committees had to come to an assessment”.

Unlike Budke, Kapek sits on the Broadcasting Council and is not alone in her reserved attitude. “Schlesinger needs a clear message that the salami tactic must be over. She must provide the names of those attending the dinners. But I don’t see the time yet for resigning,” another council member told the Tagesspiegel. A proposal for a vote was also prepared, aimed at Schlesinger letting her office rest.

The invitation to the Broadcasting Council meeting came from Friday, the report from “Business Insider” from Sunday, on Sunday evening “Bild” followed up. This time it was about furnishing Schlesinger’s office and the adjoining rooms on the 13th floor of the Berlin television center, where the artistic director resides. Since Schlesinger took office in 2016, renovations worth over 650,000 euros are said to have been made there. Almost 17,000 euros are said to have been spent on the new floor in Schlesinger’s office alone. According to “Bild”, there should have been a call for tenders, but due to time constraints there was no such thing, contrary to the objections of internal audit.

However, the invitation to the Broadcasting Council meeting could not have been issued more quickly, three days are the lower limit according to the statutes. In order to have a quorum, at least half of the council members must be present – although it is sufficient to be connected.

In recent years, the Broadcasting Council has not been conspicuous by being harsh on the directors – despite the persistently poor TV ratings and dissatisfaction among the workforce that has reached unimagined heights. On Monday it will become clear how the council will deal with Schlesinger’s offer.