The Almuñécar Town Hall will have to find 1.3m euros over an urban development deal with a real-estate company almost 14 years ago.
This is the result of a judicial decision handed down by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía (TSJA) and this sentence is final; i.e., there can be no further appeals lodged.
However, this blow is the second one of this kind as Almuñécar is also facing a 2m-euro pay out. The Town Hall has already paid out 630,000 euros in recent years. All these court cases are coming home to roost from the period 14 years ago when Juan Carlos Benavides was Mayor.
The Mayor is trying to reach a deal with the development company whereby the Town Hall coffers can pay by instalments rather than a lump sum, as handing over such quantities of money would seriously hamper the Town Halls projects and duties.
In the case of this latest court finding, the problem dates back to 2006 when the Benavides Town Council signed a deal with an estate agent where the Maravillas area (La Herradura) would be divided up into sectors. The plots of land were classified as ‘residential’ but under the deal the land would have a build coefficient of 0.5 sq/m per square metres of plot. This publicly owned land was sold to the company for 2.3m euros.
The Town Hall was to receive 20% upon signing and another 30% when the Plan Parcial was approved (alteration to the standing Urban Development Plan) thus 1.2m euros flowed into the municipal coffers between 2006 and 2007.
The trouble was that the Plan Parcial was never fully approved, so the company demanded that the Town Hall returned the money. This is the demand that the Supreme Court found in favour of.
According to the Mayor, this is a never-ending nightmare because there are around 40 similar cases making their way through the law courts.
The first of these 40 cases winging their way to conclusion concerns a deal struck over Las Tejas (also in La Herradura) whereby the Town Hall received 2.1m euros but which will now have to be returned for the same reasons.
According to the Mayor, the money received back in the day was spent by the previous mayor on election campaigns; i.e., vote-catching public works, some of which proved deficient in their construction.
(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)