di Fausto Cicciò
Rome, January 23 - Italian consumer group Codacons thumped for patience in escalating furor over the restoration of the Colosseum on Wednesday, saying unnecessary alarmism over its condition threatened to bias the outcome of a pending judicial decision over its fate. "News arriving with ever-increasing urgency over new (structural) collapses and risk of breaking (stone) appear aimed at creating an unjustified and generalized alarmism, and seems to have the precise purpose of pushing the judges of the Council of State (administrative appeals court), which will decide next April 16 on the merit of the appeal presented by Codacons, to rule in favor of giving a go-ahead to restoration work by Tod's," wrote Codacons Chairman Carlo Rienzi. In recent weeks, Roman Mayor Gianni Alemanno has pressed hard for clearance to begin 25 million euros worth of work on the Italian landmark, to be financed by the Italian luxury shoemaker Tod's, and called upon on judges to issue a ruling. Meanwhile the Roman Superintendency of Archeology began work in January to create a safety-zone around the ancient Roman arena to prevent injuries from possible falling materials. The press reported that pieces of facade and other bits fell with increasing frequency during 2012, also cited a fire department report from August that spoke of disintegrating stone material. Codacons has an on-going legal complaint against the Tod's-backed renovation plan for the Colosseum, claiming the bidding process lacked transparency and yielded too many concessions to Tod's in exchange. The regional administrative court ruled against Codacons' complaint last summer, but Codacons filed an appeal to Italy's highest administrative court. The Codacons president concluded his message on Wednesday calling for "a clear and transparent bidding process, which rewards the most capable operators without 'pawning off' assets that belong to the public". Reinzi said he "mistrusts the Superintendency of Archeology's issuing of declarations" about the Colosseum's state of decay "that can, on the one side, bring unjustified alarm and on the other illegitimately influence justice decisions."