Notre Dame: ‘Big donors haven’t paid, not a cent’

Millions of dollars were pledged to help the rebuild

Friday, June 14, 2019

Notre Dame has revealed it is still waiting for the French billionaires who promised massive donations in the wake of April’s devastating fire to pay up.

They say hundreds of millions of dollars were pledged, but the cathedral is yet to see a penny.

Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot said: "The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent.”

“They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over,” he said.

Some of France’s richest families and companies engaged in a bidding war to show support for the Paris icon after the fire.

The blaze destroyed the cathedral’s roof and caused its famous spire to collapse.

LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton and Dior, pledged £180 million toward restoration efforts, as did the foundation in control of the L'Oreal fortune.

The head of Artemis, which owns Gucci and Saint Laurent, promised £90 million, which was matched by the chief of energy company Total.

But Mr Finot said none of this money has come through.

Total said it is waiting to see if the restoration plans are in line with the company’s vision before they agree to transfer the money.

Instead it is mainly American donors, through the Friends of Notre Dame foundation, who’ve footed the bill.

This month the foundation is handing over a cheque of £3.2 million to cover bills and pay the salaries for up to 150 workers.

French president Emmanuel Macron said the work should be completed within five years.

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