Complaint: Jalisco police have arrested a real estate developer accused of fraud and extortion by dozens of Mexicans and foreigners who purchased units in an advertised pleasantly affordable beachfront complex in Nuevo Vallarta. According to news reports, Eduardo Valencia Castellanos, 39, was stopped in Guadalajara while driving his Porsche Cayenne on Avenida Patria, close to the Tres de Marzo soccer stadium. One report suggested he had left his house in the Universidad neighborhood to purchase croquettes to celebrate his pet dogs first birthday. No one who pre-purchased apartments in Valencias 2**-unit Acqua Flamingos beachfront condominium complex ever received their properties at the promised time. The few who managed to take possession of their apartments found them to be unfinished and of a much lower standard than agreed in their contracts. Buyers said Valencia subjected them to verbal threats and cut off essential services if they didnt pay him for extras such as balconies, balcony rails, bathroom suites and electricity meters. One complainant wrote to ripoffscams.com that owners were required to pay between an extra 1,500 to 7,000 dollars for outdoor furniture, depending on the size of their unit. The development turned out to be anything but pleasant. Purchasers were told the units would all have marble floors. They were in fact concrete. The L shaped kitchen with granite counters was actually a small galley kitchen. The upscale fixtures promised were all of the lowest quality. On taking possession of the properties, the owners had no running water, no light fixtures and no cable TV or phone lines. Touted as a Miami-style showpiece, Acqua was supposed to boast numerous dipping pools and picnic areas. None were built and the tiled pool was actually made of vinyl. The complex even lacked a place for trash disposal. Valencia is also accused of failing to sign the Escritura constitutiva del regimen de propiedad de condominio, a vital legal element needed so that homeowners can get titles to their properties. After receiving the keys to his unit, one buyer described his apartment as an empty box. Another described Acqua Flamingos as a development straight from hell. Valencia demanded that buyers sign delivery contracts, even though the units lacked basic elements. If people refused to sign, they said he would not allow them to take possession of the properties. Valencias lawyers have managed to keep their client out of jail as the complaints of fraud, extortion and threatening behavior at least 70 according to one local newspaper mounted on the desk of the Nayarit district attorney. But legal maneuvers couldnt prevent a Bucerias judge from issuing an arrest warrant for Valencia for dispossession and theft committed in October 2009 against a Canadian citizen, referred to in the official police press release as Silvaink Owens Gauther. Valencia is accused of illegally entering two apartments in the Acqua Flamingos complex belonging to the Canadian and removing beds, washing machines, televisions, refrigerators and clothing. The developer had claimed the Canadian was in illegal possession of the apartments. According to the Sol de Nayarit newspaper, this claim was proved false and the matter became a diplomatic scandal following the intervention of the Canadian consul. Carlos Davila Hernandez, a lawyer representing many of the affected condominium owners, has asked for a meeting with Nayarit Governor Ney Gonzalez to discuss the case and explain the precarious position of his clients. Writing an open letter to Ney in Noti Vallarta this week, Davila said the affected parties are truly concerned and frightened that justice in this case will not be followed in strict accordance with the law. He said they are particularly concerned at the extent of their responsibility regarding Valencias many frauds, which are likely include a long list of unpaid bills while building the condominiums. These may comprise unpaid property taxes, water and electricity fees, workers benefits and severance pay for dismissed staff.
Tags: Builders & Contractors
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