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|Mayor of Marbella|
15 June 1991 – 24 April 2002
|Preceded by||Francisco Parra Medina|
|Succeeded by||Julián Muñoz|
|Born||Gregorio Jesús Gil y Gil
12 March 1933
El Burgo de Osma, Castile and León, Spain
|Died||14 May 2004
|Resting place||Cementerio de la Almudena|
|Spouse(s)||María de los Angeles Marín Cobo|
Gregorio Jesús Gil y Gil (12 March 1933 – 14 May 2004) was a Spanish businessman and politician. He served as Mayor of Marbella between 1991 and 2002, and presided for a 16-year tenure as president of the Spanish football club Atlético Madrid.
Born in El Burgo de Osma, Soria, Gil made most of his money in the construction business. He was arrested and spent time in jail in 1967 when one of his buildings in Los Ángeles de San Rafael collapsed, killing 58 people. He was eventually released by order of dictator Francisco Franco.
In 1987, Gil was elected president at football side Atlético Madrid (his first signing was that of 21-year-old Portuguese winger Paulo Futre), where he initiated a volatile relationship with fans, reporters, players and head coaches. In 1992 he shut down Atlético's youth academy, which saw talented 15-year-old Raúl switch to crosstown rivals Real Madrid and eventually achieve legendary status there. He quickly became disdained by much of Atlético's following. Winning La Liga became an obsession for Gil as he impulsively went through head coaches before Raddy Antic finally delivered the league title in 1996, the club's first in 19 years.
An infamous event was his row with José María Caneda and José González Fidalgo (SD Compostela club's president and chief executive officer, respectively) in front of the Professional League headquarters in 1996. After a first verbal exchange with both Caneda and Fidalgo, Gil punched the latter in the face and a noisy altercation ensued, both in front of the building and along its hallways and stairways, during all of which Gil, protected by his bodyguards, and broadcast live via TV and radio, boisterously uttered such comments as "¡Ha insultado a toda la gente de Marbella, el hijoputa éste, que es un ladrón!" ("This son of a bitch, this thief, has insulted the people of Marbella!")
Most of Marbella's local police were recruited indirectly by Gil among legionnaires and members of other elite military forces throughout southern Spain and Northern Africa during the 1980s/90s, and some of these officers comprised Gil's own private garde de corps.
In a March 1997 incident as the two teams met in the 1996–97 Champions League quarterfinals, Gil referred to Ajax Amsterdam, due to its many players of Surinamese origin, as FC Congo.
In 1991, he founded and led the Grupo Independiente Liberal (GIL) as his political vehicle. In April 2002, he was banned for 28 years from holding public office, forced to stand down as mayor and briefly imprisoned.
Gil was famous and controversial for his extreme right-wing political views, summed up in a unique brand of foulmouthed, low-brow populism punctuated by self-aggrandizing, sexist, homophobic, racist, xenophobic and otherwise derogatory remarks and, occasionally, by pre-democratic nostalgia.
He publicly referred to former Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) town councilor Isabel García Marcos as a "whore" during town council meetings and, on one occasion, dubbed journalist Carmen Rigalt as "la jinetera del periodismo" (prostitute of journalism). The Málaga coastline, effectively under the area of economic and political influence of the Gil family, became a popular residence for British, Italian, and Russian gangsters while he was mayor, as well as a haven for former Nazis either awaiting or avoiding extradition, such as Otto Remer and Léon Degrelle. At the same time, however, Gil instigated several crackdowns on drug users and prostitutes. He was involved in several criminal cases, including the so-called Caso de las camisetas. and Caso Atlético.
Crime rates and open manifestations of poverty decreased dramatically during the first years of his administration but this apparent success was obtained at the expense of civil liberties and freedom of speech. [clarification needed], including the beatings of delinquents and prostitutes, deportation of foreigners with low incomes, handouts of money to homeless people in exchange for leaving town, etc. The subsequent apparent improvement in the lifestyle of a segment of the population was cited as a main reason for his re-elections.
In popular culture
- La FEF abre expediente a Gil, Caneda y al gerente del Compostela (Spanish Football Federation investigates Gil, Caneda and Compostela's chief executive) (Spanish)
- Jesús Gil pelea contra Caneda (Jesús Gil fights Caneda) on YouTube (Spanish)
- El Supremo pone fin a casi dos años del "caso de las camisetas" (Supreme Court ends almost two years of the "Shirt affair"; in Spanish). El Mundo, 4 May 2002.
- Las claves del 'caso Atlético' (The keys of the "Atlético affair") (Spanish)
- Hormigas blancas documentary (episode 1) on YouTube
- Hormigas blancas ("White ants") documentary (episode 2) on YouTube
Francisco Javier Castedo
|President of Atlético Madrid
Francisco Parra Medina
|Mayor of Marbella