WARNING! Helena Baker, WSET, is since july 2007 no more fellow-worker nor correspondent of our magazines. Editor´s office of the GastroPress publishing is disavowing from all her activities and declares, that no articles of this person will be published.
As they say there is no smoke without fire... So let us take a look into the background of this statement and why my articles are no longer being printed in their magazines:
On 27 July 2007 Hervé Lalau, the Secretary General of FIJEV (an international organisation of journalists and wine writers with HQ in Paris - www.fijev.com), sent out the following message to FIJEV members:
Dear FIJEV Friends,
This message is to inform you of the exclusion of Mr Lubos Barta from FIJEV. Please find herewith the message sent today to Mr Barta.
On behalf of the Bureau,
Attention: Mr Lubos Barta,
The FIJEV Bureau, assembled on July the 27th, has decided to remove your name from the FIJEV members' list, in accordance to the Art 6, alinea 4 of the FIJEV statutes.
The Bureau has found that your behaviour (plagiarism, false claims, unfriendly demeanour toward fellow members...) was not compatible with the quality of FIJEV member.
This decision follows several warnings sent to you and an official examination of your credentials, which proved to be incorrect.
This decision has been made known to our Czech delegate. It is effective as of today.
The FIJEV Bureau
(Louis Havaux, Isabel Mijares, Hervé Lalau, Yves Paquier, Jacqueline Jensen)
Luboš Bárta's reaction to his expulsion from this prestigious organisation was to send out a series of complaints and "calls for help" as an unjustly injured party to all and sundry, the most ridiculous one addressed to the author of Encyclopedia of Czech and Moravian Wine, the venerable professor Vilém Kraus, and his publishers, Bohumil Vurm and Zuzana Foffová (also members of FIJEV), apparently asking them for confirmation that he has not plagiarised anything from their book as far as they were concerned. Unfortunately for him, he hit the nail right on the head. It was exactly this title, an OIV Award winner in 2006 from Paris, that was misappropriated by Luboš Bárta in his list of published books, by quoting it (including a grammatical error) as one of the titles he had written himself (also omitting to mention the name of his co-author) as follows: Encyclopedy [sic] of Czech and Moravian Viticulture.
As a FIJEV Delegate for the Czech Republic, it is my duty to inform fellow members of any perceived wrongdoing by any of their colleagues. I was also asked, prior to his expulsion, to question Luboš Bárta regarding some of the alleged discrepancies and to examine a book he had allegedly written, entitled How the Wine Should be Tasted [sic], which he claimed was published in 2002 by Unicorn. Since he had remedied his own website to include his co-authors in the list of his publications and insisted that the book mentioned above had been widely distributed, even though the copy I eventually received looked decidedly hot-off-the-press, I reported back to the Secretary General that I was satisfied as to the investigation of Luboš Bárta and considered the matter closed.
Alas not so Luboš Bárta who, in the meantime, bombarded FIJEV with aggressively-worded emails demanding to know by what right I had been authorised to investigate him. The Secretary General was not best pleased at the tone of these messages and with the words, "For me the door to FIJEV is simply either closed or opened", decided to put the case before the Board of FIJEV for consideration. On top of this, he also remembered objections to Luboš Bárta's initial acceptance to FIJEV by fellow member Richard Stávek, who claimed that two of his photographs have been misappropriated in one of the publications Luboš Bárta co-authored.
Further examination of this case was therefore carried out by the FIJEV Treasurer, Yves Paquier, who observed Luboš Bárta during the Vinoforum 2007 competition in Pardubice, and based his report to the Board of FIJEV on his findings, recommending Luboš Bárta's expulsion.
Of course, Luboš Bárta blamed me for all this and did not give up, even suggesting that he, Dr. Bárta, would offer his legal skills to help FIJEV re-draft their statutes so that such a misfortune need ever befall any member again in future! The expulsion stood. Meanwhile his common-law-wife, Ivana Kováříková, sent nasty emails to me and the Ladies of Wine circle stating, inter alia, that she would not participate in any sessions I was going to attend...
A year went past with Luboš Bárta still complaining about his "misfortune" to the President of FIJEV, to a French wine writer Christian Callec, to a Euro MP Vladimír Železný and others. Little did he realise that all these "heartbreaking letters" were sent to me in copy by the Secretary General... After a year Hervé Lalau, by now fed up with this constant harrassment, finally suggested to him that he re-apply for FIJEV membership whereupon all the Czech members of FIJEV would vote on the issue.
During this period lots of people, both within and without the FIJEV membership, voluntarily came forward with information on Luboš Bárta. Who is he, anyway? A few simple clicks on Google would reveal some disturbing facts:
For instance, Luboš Bárta, who boasts the title JUDr. (Doctor of Jurisprudence), was on the court register in Prague 10 district serving in 1983 as a judge for the then Communist regime. There is no JUDr. title before his name on this list - see here .
An even greater shock, however, was the reference to two investigative television programmes dating from November 2007: Reportéři on CT1 and Na vlastní oči on TV Nova. Both these programmes exposed the nefarious practices of a certain Agentura Praha 5 a.s, which was charged with debt-collecting of monies owed on properties owned by the council of Prague 5 led by the controversial mayor Jančík and charging outlandish fees for this service.
You can see these TV programmes by clicking on the links below, with full scripts and relevant pdfs in the Czech language: http://www.kauza5.cz/Agentura-Praha5/Reporteri-CT-Podezrela-smlouva-starosty-Prahy-5-dnes-2611-ve-2135.html
There have been regular updates on the story of the ex mayor of Prague 5 and the above debt collecting agency, e.g. on 29 March 2010 on CT1 Reportéři programme and on 16 August 2011 TV news (you can even see a photograph of Luboš Bárta in glorious technicolour in the first one of these) :
However, you might think what has he got to do with all this - but lo and behold - the Register of Companies revealed that the Chairman of the Board of this joint-stock company that has allegedly been ripping off the citizens of Prague 5 is none other than our Luboš Bárta of Hrusice, alias K. Mikeš... and our "renowned wine-writer, wine critic, photographer and nominated wine taster at international competitions who is so highly regarded both at home and abroad", as trumpeted on his e-sommelier.cz website!
( see here )
PS: And what were the results of the re-admittance vote? Of the 14 members of FIJEV (CZ), 8 voted against, 4 deliberately abstained from voting, while 2 did not react in any way whatsoever.