Madonna caught up in Lisbon council row after being given ‘bargain’ parking spot

Madonna is at the centre of a political storm in Portugal after being handed a city hall-owned car park for her fleet of vehicles at a knockdown price.

The singer has been told she can use land behind a palace near her Lisbon home with space for up to 15 cars for just €720 (£636) a month. 

Lisbon mayor Fernando Medina has provoked the anger of the Portuguese capital’s opposition parties and local residents with the deal.

City hall officials released a copy of the contract on Monday after Portuguese newspaper Expresso revealed the agreement and got Lisbon’s leader to admit Madonna would pay nothing until it expired.

But the furore sparked by the deal is showing little sign of dying down as local business owners complain the US-born star is receiving favoured treatment and a monthly rental well below going market rates in Lisbon’s congested central area where metered street parking costs more than £1 an hour.

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Mr Medina, who met Madonna before she moved into Ramalhete Palace, an 18th century townhouse, at the start of the year, has faced claims he is using the city’s heritage to cosy up to the singer.

The Portuguese capital is much loved for its picturesque streets and cultural heritageCredit:
PEC Photo/Moment RF

Joao Goncalves Pereira of the conservative CDS – People’s Party and one of the opposition councillors leading the attacks on Lisbon’s mayor over the deal, took to social media to rage: “Fifteen car parking spaces for Madonna.

“We cannot allow Fernando Medina to use Lisbon City Council’s heritage for his own convenience.

“The CDS has been left speechless by this extraordinary situation. Madonna is welcome in Lisbon but this should not mean anything goes.

“What we are seeing is a city hall management along the lines of ‘I want, I can and I will’ in which subjects that should have been discussed at chamber meetings weren’t.

“The CDS is seeking an urgent response from Fernando Medina about what’s happened.”

City hall chiefs said in a statement the agreement was designed to “avoid disturbance and problems with local traffic in a narrow and fairly busy street” and the price it was charging for the 309 square-metre plot was in line with normal council rates.

The statement said the contract was not open-ended because the council was negotiating the possible handover of the currently empty Pombal Palace to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste as its future embassy.

Madonna’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment. 

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