Thursday, September 30, 2010

If this don't beat all!

Following is a letter we received from TSD (Trust for Sustainable Development) Loreto Partners, the company used by Citigroup to manage the Loreto Bay development, which they then used to hide behind after they decided to stop construction in June 2009. Since abandoning the Loreto Bay project, TSD has been nothing more than a shell company - stripped of assets and acting as a dummy company to shield Citigroup from litigation and public scrutiny. But before we get to the letter, I've got a few things to say...

A brief history should explain this situation: This is the company that left us with unfinished homes and no idea if we'd ever be able to recoup the MILLIONS of dollars we'd all sunk into this project. This same company is now very upset that people have decided to seek redress for those losses in a court of law. Wow, the nerve!

These folks also stole money from home owners in the amount of $1.3 million for infrastructure work that was never started. This work was signed off on by representatives of TSD who knew the work was not done. But what nerve for home owners to call them on it! (And, of course, special thanks go to Stewart Title International for being a party to that theft.)

So now they're upset that home owners are fighting back? How dare those of us who were left high and dry show some totally righteous anger and seek legal counsel!

It's just incredibly surreal to hear them whine about how badly the abandoned home owners have treated them. These folks are the real deal when it comes to crazy.

But after re-reading this self-serving piece of garbage, we should thank Mr. Embree C. "Chuck" Bedsole for one of the funniest letters we've ever read, because this has to be a joke.

Let's recap: This is the company that abandoned construction, tore up the only road through the project leaving it a pot-holed, barely passable nightmare, absconded with our $1.3 million in utility infrastructure money, left Mexican contractors and workers unpaid, left a huge local tax and utility debt unpaid, who never bothered to communicate with home owners in any kind of meaningful way after leaving us high and dry and they're upset with us? See what I mean? It's gotta be a joke.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear Homeowners,

As you know, TSD Loreto Partners S. en C. por A. de C.V. (“TSD” or the “Company”) has been diligently working with its secured lenders, FONATUR, local and state government authorities, federal tax authorities, contractors, homeowners, Beck Construction, and unsecured creditors to try to secure new funds and develop a reasonable plan to provide continuity to Loreto Bay (the “Project”) as a whole. Unfortunately, the Company has not been able to secure sufficient funds to continue the development of the Project as originally envisioned.

During this process, many homeowners have not met their obligations, creditors have exercised their contractual and legal rights and Company assets have been subject to liens and foreclosure actions. Nonetheless, the Company has used its limited resources to work with creditors to reach agreements on substantial reductions in the amount of their legal claims, and to work with homeowners who defaulted on their contracts prior to June 6, 2009 to arrange payment programs. The balance of our resources have been committed to defending claims from third-parties who have attempted to take an unfair advantage of the current situation based on false, unfounded or misleading claims.

TSD understands that despite the significant efforts expended by the Company to achieve the best outcome for the overall Project, not every homeowner has been or will be satisfied with these results or with TSD’s responses to their inquiries regarding the status of the Project or his or her individual unit. Even though TSD has tried to resolve many of the issues for which TSD is legally responsible and to keep the lines of communication open on these issues, TSD cannot resolve the remaining outstanding issues to the homeowners’ complete satisfaction, regardless of how many times or in how many different forms the issues are presented. Nonetheless, TSD believes that it has responded candidly to all issues raised by homeowners when and where possible.

Finally, there has been much speculation regarding the purchase of certain assets of the Project by Homex and the relationship between Homex and TSD. To set the record straight and avoid future misunderstandings, TSD has no contractual or legal relationship with Homex. An affiliate of Homex is the owner of certain assets of the Project that were previously owned by the Company and foreclosed by TSD’s creditors. TSD, in its efforts to assure the continuity of the Project, is cooperating with and providing information to Homex as required even though this acquisition of assets by Homex did not create any legal or economic relationship between TSD and Homex. TSD continues to be a separate and independent entity solely responsible for its obligations and prepared to defend its rights against third-parties that continue to try to affect TSD’s interests, including defending against those homeowners that have opted to initiate a harassing and defamatory battle against TSD’s and its officers based on false, unfounded or misleading claims.

It is unfortunate that the Project, as originally envisioned by TSD will not be achieved; however, we believe the foundation has been set out for future development companies to make Loreto Bay a destination homeowners may enjoy.

Best Regards,

TSD Loreto Partners S. en C. por A. de C.V.
By: Embree C. “Chuck” Bedsole, as attorney-in-fact.

But just in case this self-serving piece of garbage isn't a joke: Bring it on, Mr. Embree C. "Chuck" Bedsole! And best regards to you, too.

On second thought, though, the joke is on Mr. Bedsole and company because Agua Viva home owners have left them far behind. Sorry, guys, but you're ancient history at this point. We picked up the pieces and made something good from the mess you left behind. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun, but we have a community now that has nothing to do with Citigroup or TSD. We did it without your help and in spite of your hindrance. Good for us. Now go away and leave us alone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A mixed blessing

Yesterday’s rain was a real blessing here in Loreto Bay and the surrounding area. The mountains and landscape have taken on a soft green glow that we haven’t seen all summer, or for that matter, since we moved here. It’s an amazing transformation that seemed to take place almost instantaneously.
It’s a blessing, too, for the scrawny livestock that have had slim pickings alongside the highway for the past few months. Now they’ll have something green and tasty to eat. Thank God! It’s such a pitiful sight to see the cattle, goats and horses foraging in the dirt and rocks alongside the highway. At least now there’s some greenery poking up through the scrabble.

The downside to the rain is the mess it makes of the road - the Paseo - in front of our home. We’re on the north end of Agua Viva, which is one of the lowest points of the Paseo. So we’re left with a totally flooded road even though we only got about an inch of rain (I’m averaging the guesstimates we’ve heard). The problem with the road is serious for all concerned. How can the new owners expect to sell homes when the main road through the project is in such bad repair? Any prospective buyer would be taken aback to see the road when it’s dry. When it’s wet, it’s a nightmare.

We’ve heard via the LB grapevine that Homex knows they’ll have to do something about the Paseo. It’s a shame the main thoroughfare through the development ever got in this shape in the first place. Shame on Citigroup, Re:Play, TSD and all those responsible for the road conditions here in Loreto Bay. Here’s hoping Homex steps up to the plate and takes care of this problem soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Every little bit helps

George and I have lived through many firsts since moving to Loreto Bay last February, but today was the first time we've seen real rain since we got here. Yippee!
We missed the big four-inch downpour in August as we were on our six-week 'Adventure in Gringolandia' tour. That particular storm wreaked some havoc with our casa in the form of leaks in the ceiling of the upstairs master bedroom. But the good news was that the repairs were all completed before we arrived home and from what we've heard, the rest of the new homes in AV fared better than we did. We were lucky that we had such a good property manager in Robert Ortola. He and Donella did a fantastic job looking after our house and cleaning up after the workers left.

Today's rain has managed to tamp down the dirt (another big Yippee!!) and it's possible we may see more precipitation in the next couple of days thanks to Tropical Storm Georgette (click on the weather widgit on the right side of this page for more weather info).

We ran some errands in town this morning and were treated to a brief deluge while we were at Gustavo's checking out his new offerings. If you haven't been to his store in a while, plan on a trip as he's got some really great new furniture and accessories.

We also had brunch at the new Gourmet Guaycura Restaurant on the Malecon by Augie's. In fact, it's in the same second floor location that Augie's restaurant used to be.

It's one of our favorite spots on the Malecon and we're glad to see that space being used again. The restaurant has some really nice touches like orchids in vases on the tables, nice color schemes, great background music (Spanish guitar instrumentals of Beatles tunes. Awesome!) and one of the best views on the Malecon. And the food was great!

It looks like Loreto proper got more rain than we did here in Nopolo this morning, but right now it's coming down pretty steadily here at home. Wish I had a rain gauge!

We'll keep you posted on any significant developments.

In other good news:

When we left here on August 4 work was just beginning on the improvements at the Inn.

We were very surprised and pleased to see that the pool work was done and other cosmetic touchs could be seen throughout the grounds, including some new contrasting paint and really nice new palapas and outdoor restaurant furniture.

The changes have succeeded in making the Inn look a lot more alive and vibrant.

The evening we got back the Inn was hosting a Viva! Mexico fiesta in honor of Independence Day with dinner on the beach (ala the old Loreto Bay sales events), a scrumptious buffet, music and even fireworks. There looked to be about 40 or so joining in the festivities. Talk about a nice homecoming!

All those changes can be credited to the Inn's new manager, Peter Maxwell. Ironically, Peter, a native of Britain with an impressive resume in the hotel industry, was responsible for getting the original Inn - the Camino Real Hotel - going back about eight or nine years ago.

Peter (one of those managers that jumps right in no matter how small the task and how often do you see that anymore?) told us that for now Homex is taking baby steps in getting the Inn back in shape. That's obvious with the pool which could look better, but we're not complaining. The improvements are real and the whole ambience of the place has changed for the better. So congrats to Peter and his staff.

As for the outdoor dining area that was being demolished before we left, Peter said that renovation is on hold due to a lack of funds. But on the plus side, 90 of the rooms have gotten a facelift.

And we were very happy to see the fitness room full of equipment again. We did hear that some of the equipment isn't working, but hey, some of it is! That's good news for us as we managed to gain a good bit of weight while we were in the states. Sometimes it feels like we ate our way up the West Coast!

On a totally inane note, I was relieved to see that our resident frog (or maybe he's a toad) was still here when we got home last week. He's no friendlier than he was before we left, but it's still good to see him hopping around the courtyard every night.