Monday, July 20, 2009

Please pass the salt...

Tonight we received a comment on our last post "Mum no more" that was of the "let me rub a little salt in that wound, if you don't mind" category.

Written by someone with the username hammersb, It read: "I wouldn't blame Citigroup for your personal lack of judgement (sic) and due diligence. If your sole source of information is a smiling realtor with a margarita in their hand then you must assume the consequences of your decision.

"Remember how fun it was to jump up and say I'll take it? Well now you can join the legion of real estate buyers who failed to understand what they were getting into. The original developers were the ones who took your money, not Citibank!"

Although it garnered a shrug and "what a jerk!" comment from both George and me, I decided to write a post about it for a couple of reasons. The first being how incredibly duped we've felt over the past few months when looking back on our Loreto Bay journey.

Contrary to the anonymous comment about our lack of judgment and due diligence, George (a successful realtor here in Albuquerque, BTW) did a ton of research before we booked for the sales event in Loreto. On paper, it all looked good. Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing that some of the people involved were not being truthful. Would we have bought if we'd known that Butterfield was (at that point in October 2007) a mere shill for Citigroup? No. But we didn't know and we did buy. And now we have to make the best of a bad situation and that's been difficult, to say the very least.

I'm sure we're not the only home owners who feel foolish. Who didn't want to tell family and friends about the Chevy-sized monkey wrench thrown into our plans. It hasn't been easy owning up to the fact that we could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's been hard not to hear the implied "I told you so" from our friends and family after we deliver our bad news. Actually, though, in our case it's been more of an "Oh My God" refrain from those near and dear to us for which we are very grateful.

Despite what Mr./Ms. hammersb thinks, Citigroup dba TSD Loreto walked away from Loreto Bay after totally mismanaging the project. Yes, the economy went south but the bottom line was that it was easier to walk away with their money (and ours) and that's just what they did, leaving hundreds of American and Canadian investors holding the bag, as well as Mexican contractors, workers and business owners.

Now for the second and most important reason for this post: The good news is that ultimately I think we and all the other LB home owners will prevail. It may take time but it will happen. We have come together as a real and viable community (albeit without finished homes in most cases) to seek solutions and to make this dream a reality. So to all those "I told you so'ers" out there: We may be down but we're not out. See you in Loreto!


getmanassoc said...

Paula, thank you for putting our feelings into words EXACTLY! What a stressful 7 weeks this has been. I still haven't gotten up the courage to tell most of my family and friends. I can just see that pitying, "I would never have done that" look. We're in San Francisco and very lucky that we're surrounded by a large community of Loreto Bay owners. These wonderful new friends have helped us immensely to keep our faith and spirits up. As you said, our path to the LB dream may not be easy or straight, but the strength of our community will see us through. I truly believe that even though TSD, Citi and others have thrown huge obstacles in our path, we WILL have our casas one day and be a much better, closer community because of it. Looking forward to meeting you and sharing sunset margaritas on our terraces.

By the way - we also did extensive research on LB before going to the sales event - and were especially careful since we'd already been burned by Mexico real estate deals twice. If anyone thinks they haven't ever had an investment go south, I invite them to look closely at the results of their own portfolios and real estate holdings over the last 18 months.


Idahogal said...

Wow - it always amazes me just how mean-spirited some people can be. You have to wonder what sort of life they have if they get pleasure out of seeking out strangers' blogs and trying to trash their dreams.

Of course, they can say what they want, but as you know, "living well is the best revenge" and that's just what you will be doing in your beautiful new casa in Loreto Bay early in the New Year. It looks as if our construction dance is taking a few steps forward again and I believe that this time we will make it. I look forward to reading the blog where you describe inviting the "smiling salespeople and their margaritas" to join you on your deck to enjoy yet another spectacular Baja sunset...

Don't let the yahoos get you down Paula - just keep on bloggin'!

Philip said...

I agree completely with Paula, Cathy, and Idaho Gal. We bought at Loreto Bay in 2004, and our house is still not done. We are losing $3000 a month on the second mortgage we took out to pay for this, and that's not counting what we will lose when we sell (probably over $200,000). (We can't afford to keep it now.) Citi obviously doesn't care what devastation they leave in their wake, but then that is not surprising.

But Butterfield deserves condemnation as well. He simply was not competent to complete a project of this scale, and worst of all--he was too incompetent to KNOW that he was incompetent. It would be nice if Butterfield could be made aware of all the people he ruined, and all the sleepless nights spent by owners at Loreto Bay. But in the end, he would probably just rationalize it away, and blame it on forces beyond his control (which is horseshit).