TV chief spends election night in hotel utility closet

  • 2008-10-15
  • By Justinas Vainilavicius

TIPSY: An embarrassing drunken moment from Audrius Siaurusevicius on election night caught on film.

VILNIUS - Audrius Siaurusevicius, general director of Lithuanian National Radio and Television, is expected to tender his resignation soon after an embarrassing performance on election night on Oct. 12.
Siaurusevicius was clearly heavily intoxicated and spent five hours in the Best Western Naujasis Vilnius hotel electrical utility closet. In his official report to police, he claimed to have been "held hostage by journalists," who would not let him out.

"I am going to press big charges on you," Siaurusevicius said to the journalists.
Various reports revealed that he had locked himself in the closet for five hours after a confrontation in which he allegedly damaged a journalist's camera, which is estimated to be worth up to 30,000 litas (8,695 euros).
The hotel was used as temporary election headquarters of the Social Democrats for the night.  Siaurusevicius went there to meet the politicians but opened the wrong doors. The news portal Delfi reports that he probably lost his mobile phone and was trying to find it in the closet.

Photographer Irmantas Sidarevicius of the daily Respublika noticed him and started taking pictures of the director's efforts. Affronted, Siaurusevicius pushed the photographer out of the electrical closet.
During the fracas, Siaurusevicius grabbed Sidarevicius' camera. Sidarevicius called the police, who refused to take action because no obvious damage had occurred.

Siaurusevicius stayed inside the closet as a crowd of journalists gathered on the other side, knocking at the door, which was blocked. Phone calls to the television chief went unanswered and he was not reacting, so journalists called the police again. They arrived at 3.30 a.m.
Sidarevicius was taken in and questioned by police. Police were unable to open the unlocked cabinet doors because Siaurusevicius was allegedly holding them shut.

Police asked for the identification of every journalist who was there, while the hotel administration was trying to get the journalists out, explaining that working hours had ended.
At 6 a.m., Siaurusevicius appeared and began to accuse media representatives of persecuting him, citing that as the reason he shut himself in the cabinet.

After a few minutes, he retreated and shut the door again. This time a cameraman and two photographers got there as well. Siaurusevicius called the police so they could give him a sobriety test.
When asked if he was drunk, at a press conference, the general director of LRT did not deny it, but claimed that journalists were drunk as well. He claimed he did not stay in the cabinet willingly, accusing journalists of holding him hostage.

The LRT committee held a meeting about Siaurusevicius' future as a general director on Oct. 14. The result was unknown when The Baltic Times went to press, but he is expected to leave the organization.