By Luis Fayad
A new acquisition has taken place over the real estate properties in Residencial Costa Bavaro (RCB) where for years construction projects have been suspended due to the heavy legal disputes between Intercaribe and Banco del Progreso affecting hundreds of people.
These properties were initially sold to investors by Mrs. Ilonka Castillo, President of the real estate company Intercaribe. Mrs. Castillo had misallocated investors’ capital and failed to fulfill her legal obligation of loan payments to Banco del Progreso, the bank that had financed her real estate development project in RCB. On account of Mrs. Castillo’s default payments, Banco del Progreso foreclosed these properties in the late 2009.
News on the recent transfer of properties and introduction on the new owner was personally announced by Mr. Mark Silverman, President and CEO of Banco del Progreso, during the 1st meeting of the Owners of The Residencial Costa Bavaro, an event that assembled over 50 attendees coming from different countries consisting of attorneys at law, journalists, real estate agents and property owners representing more than 160 units within RCB. Mr. Luis Fayad, investor and principal organizer of the meeting, had invited Mr. Silverman and Mr. Omar Bairán, Vice President of Legal Affairs of Banco del Progreso, both of whom had travelled and arrived together by helicopter to Bavaro a few hours before the meeting landing on one of the properties acquired by the new owner, Mr. Carlos Barjan Stefan.
The properties acquired consist of 3 major projects within the complex Residencial Costa Bavaro which is the residential area and home of IFA Hotels, who’s General Manager, Carlos Jimenez Ruiz together with Mrs. Ilonka Castillo and other shareholder form a company, Inversiones Floripes S.A., to act as the administration for the entire complex. These acquired projects include Villas del Sol II, Villas del Sol III and Costa Bavaro Gardens, projects that enjoy a privileged location within the complex and in Bavaro owing to its strategic adjacent position to the new Touristic Boulevard that also leads to the Cocotal Golf Course and the private Villas Palma Real of the Meliá Resort.
Mr. Carlos Barjan, who was also present at the meeting, was introduced to the assembly by Mr. Silverman, "We have finally found a buyer, here I have to be transparent, a buyer who has received funding through a company affiliated with the Vicini Group…" Mr. Silverman assures existing property owners on the bank’s position in the recent restructuring. As owner of 7 villas in RCB, the bank “…continues as an owner… the bank is going to sit at the table and everyone at this table to defend our common interests, with transparency and creating community.” Mr. Silverman continued, "My perspective is to leave here aligned with the mentality that Luis mentioned earlier: in unity and seeking solutions....We are a community we have to act with transparency and above all we are going to solve this situation."
In the meeting, Mr. Carlos Barjan, spoke on the immediate goals of the new acquisition and what has been done to ensure future progress as summed in his following statements:
· “…to concentrate, define, analyze and propose the appropriate framework on issues that have to do with the community as a whole.”
· “To determine in which way the administration of the condominium and its general maintenance is going to be regulated. And especially the next steps to take regarding IFA and Floripes.”
· “We also appointed a recognized law firm to meet any present or future contingent with respect to the rights of ownership of our acquisition.”
When asked by DT on the purpose of the meeting, Mr. Fayad clearly explained that it was“….to begin to heal, once and for all, 5 years of old injuries. I thought that the appropriate topic for the meeting was to establish a COMMUNITY, enforce and implement TRANSPARENCY and find SOLUTIONS.
Although we come from different walks of life and have different nationalities and languages, we share many things in common: we all have invested in the same small piece of paradise, we all became victims of the negligence of Mrs. Castillo as representative of Intercaribe and now we are all still dealing with the same lack of respect from the current administration run by the same people. We have essentially become a COMMUNITY by our parallel experiences and have chosen to make this declaration official in the meeting.
We as a COMMUNITY are asking for TRANSPARENCY from the administration who has for years been collecting monthly maintenance fee from owners but do not render the services that has been paid for and who continue to refuse to provide us with a financial statement on how our monies are being used. We hope to find SOLUTIONS facing the entire Residencial Costa Bavaro and gain our legal rights as owners. We also hope that the new acquisition will bring positive changes in the area and mark a new beginning for a more dignified place.”
"My wife and I have been diplomatically and legally fighting for over 5 years to recover the dignity of the entire complex. Not for one specific project/stage of the complex , but as I said at the meeting, for the unity and dignity of the entire Residencial Costa Bavaro which includes the property owners of IFA Hotels all the way to the new owners of the projects bordering the new boulevard. I believe in good will, and I hope that individual interests do not continue to interfere with the progress of the complex and the development of the beautiful Bavaro."
Mr. Fayad’s statement is the latest round in the years long anguish unleashed by the illegal actions of the residential’s original developers. DT’s various articles on the litigation have hopefully brought awareness among investors, and the need for the authorities to proceed in this type of case. Jorge Pineda, Chief Editor.