Mayor’s Mon Chéri praline not poisoned

A Mon Chéri praline left on the windscreen of a Styrian female mayor’s car last Saturday was not poisonous, provincial authorities said today (Fri).In an earlier incident, another Mon Chéri praline left on the windscreen of Mayor Hannes Hirtzberger’s car in Spitz, Lower Austria, on 9 February 2008 was laced with strychnine. He became brain damaged after eating it.Alexander Gaisch, the head of the Styrian office for the protection of the constitution and the fight against terrorism, said today that a detailed report on the incident involving Margarete Franz, People’s Party (ÖVP) mayor of Eibiswald in Deutschlandsberg district, would be ready next week.He added that the stunt had clearly constituted a dangerous threat. A note accompanying the praline said: “You are special to us. Keep on working.”Three other notes found in objects in the town claimed that the mayor would no longer be alive by the time an upcoming youth festival had begun.Walter Ernhard, the Social Democratic (SPÖ) mayor of Ansfelden, Upper Austria, received a box of pralines containing two dead mice and a threatening letter accusing him of responsibility for the town’s alleged financial problems on 2 February 2010.He said he was shocked, adding that “the changes in values at this time will not stop for anything.” At the time, Ernhard told his secretary he would not eat the pralines since he remembered what had happened in Spitz.Ernhard hanged himself on 3 March, police said.In the Spitz case, police arrested Heuriger (wine tavern) owner Helmut Osberger, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Hirtzberger.The praline was laced with strychnine, and the poison caused irreversible damage to his brain. He returned home after nine months in intensive care at a local hospital but remains in a vegetative state.Police said however there was no indication of foul play in the death of Ernhard, who left behind a wife and a son.