Tag Archives: civil associations in Mexico

No manches (You’ve got to be kidding)

 

ceramic pinata

La cantera da muchas vueltas!

 

My recent involvement in La Yacata business has been nearly non-existent especially since I last tried to quit the Mesa Directiva (Community Board of Directors) some time ago. (See Trying to bow out of La Yacata). I still answer questions and attend to people who brave the ferocious Chokis and knock at my door, point them to their lots, issue new certificates when lots change owners, and so on, but not much more.

So I was surprised when a few days ago, SuperPrez called me. However, I missed the call. He then sent me an email. Guess it was pretty important. He told me NOT to sign anything that R2 brought to my door and requested a meeting. In case you don’t remember, R2 is the brother of R1 who resembled Ronald McDonald and wanted to be president of La Yacata. R2 is also a lawyer and former presidente (mayor) of Moroleon and presented our case at court when we were slammed with 3 demandas (lawsuits). (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3).

Anyway, I met with Super Prez to find out what was going on. It turns out that R2 (otherwise known as Rata (The Rat)) arrived at his office and threatened to sue La Yacata for nonpayment of services rendered. All righty then. When we had the discussion with R2 about payment for his services (see Negotiating for La Yacata) he gave a figure of 15% of the first lawsuit and 10% of lawsuit 2 and lawsuit 3 which gave us a rough amount of 300,000 pesos. However, we never signed anything that agreed to that sum either then or later. This was a verbal estimate on R2’s part, just so we could approximate what we could offer the well-hole driller.

As acting treasurer, I pulled together a list of colonos (community members) who have paid the $250 we requested from them to pay the lawyer’s bill and a list of the receipts I received from Rata when payment was made. Not including SuperPrez’s payments, the association has already paid 75,000 pesos to Rata. There is currently just under 3,000 pesos in the treasury. That 75,000 seems like a big chunk of money to me, especially since Super Prez and I did most of the work and he just handed it in all lawyered up and all.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Rata’s receipts for this 75,000 were unofficial. He didn’t have copies. He crossed out things and wrote other things right on the receipt, technically making them invalid or at least suspicious. One receipt was on a sheet of torn notebook paper. He did this so as not to declare the income and pay taxes on it. Hmmm.

Another interesting thing is that Chuchi is living in La Yacata. Yep, without water, electricity or sewer, just like the rest of us. Reportedly the reason is he lost his house in a debt payment. If you’ll remember Demanda 2, Chuchi tried to present into evidence the lien on his house in town that he took out to purchase the water rights for La Yacata. However, he had purchased the water rights in his own name, rather than in the name of the association. Furthermore, the person who sold him those rights listed as the lien holder of his house was a friend of SuperPrez and informed him that Chuchi defaulted on the payment and returned the water rights so as not to lose his house.

Chuchi also has several outstanding judgments against him in Ministerial Publico (Public Ministry) for lots that he sold that he did not have the right to sell, in other words, FRAUD.

Now I don’t know if Chuchi lost his house because of those fraudulent sales or the water rights issue or some other shady deal he had going on, but it just goes to prove La cantera da muchas vueltas. (What comes around goes around).

What strikes me as odd is the timing of R2 threating to sue La Yacata. R2’s earnings increased every single time a demanda (lawsuit) landed in our laps. It was in his best interest for these lawsuits to keep coming. He used the same defense for all three–so no additional work on his part. Then there was that comment Chuchi made to Rata “le encargo mio” (Keep my issue in mind) after we received the response to our offer from the pozo guy (See Negotiating La Yacata–The Response) What was that all about?

All of these thoughts, I shared with SuperPrez during our meeting. The approach he’s decided to take is to offer Rata (R2) Chuchi’s house in La Yacata, where Chuchi is currently living. HA! As Chuchi has no documentation giving him rights to that property, SuperPrez is in his legal rights to claim it and sell it (or in this case give it away). If Rata finds that deal unacceptable, well, we can start talking legal again. We could sue Chuchi for injury and hardship to the community in order to pay Rata a sum he feels is fair. Of course collecting it would be Rata’s problem. Or we could call a press meeting and show how Rata, the former president of Moroleon, is trying to squeeze the poorest of the poor for money. Remember, we have no electricity, no water or sewer. That would be fun!

SuperPrez is to meet with R2 (AKA Rata) sometime next week and lay our cards on the table. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Trying to bow out of La Yacata revolution

community board

The La Yacata community board, or as I like to call, Vitrina de verguenza, wall of shame!

Unfortunately, the scheduled date for the junta (community meeting) was the Sunday Mexico determined should be daylight savings time. This, of course, meant attendance problems. Additionally, in order to save money, the date of the junta (community meeting) had been included on the aviso (announcement) to go to the office and fill out the survey. Since it was obvious that very few bothered to read the flyer, we weren’t expecting a great multitude.

It was surprising then to see about 70 colonos, representing about 200 lots, at the meeting. SuperPrez read the results of the survey and was greeted with silence. These die-hard junta attendees were those who most want to see some progress and were naturally disheartened.

SuperPrez made the comment that really the members of the mesa directiva (meaning he and I) were very busy in other things and that perhaps what the colonia needed was someone who had nothing else to do than take care of these community obligations. Additionally, he commented that we apparently weren’t motivating enough if people wouldn’t even come and fill out a form expressing their opinions, not to mention pick up certificates or pay the $250 pesos each lot that we still owe the lawyer for the demandas (law suits). Perhaps the role as president of the association should be held by someone like Chuchi. After all, he did manage to swindle the majority of the property owners $4000 per lot for the imaginary pozo (well). (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2 & Demanda 3)

We opened the floor up to discussion. An elderly, well-educated colona, then asked how it was possible that Chuchi has not been held accountable for all the things that he has done when everyone knows he’s a ratero (thief). She went on to say that on Saturday, Chuchi had come to see her and brought some papers that showed the second and the third etapa (section) did not have public escrituras (deeds). Chuchi accused SuperPrez of illicit activities in that he had the government officials destroy or redo the papers that listed the escrituras. She said she didn’t believe it, but she wanted to present the information that Chuchi gave her. She handed the “proof” over to SuperPrez.

Oh, the nerve of that Chuchi! Even now, after losing 3 demandas against the community, he continues with his smear campaign. But as my husband said, “El perro que come gallinas no se compone.” (A dog that begins eating chickens never changes).

Here’s the true story. Only the first etapa (section) has public escritorias (deed). This was done way back in the day when Chuchi was given the reins in 1997 or thereabouts by SuperPrez’s father. The other sections were owned by SuperPrez’s mother and in fact are still in her name. In seems she had the intention of getting the escrituras, however, was killed in an accident 8 months or so before I went to plead on behalf of the colonos for SuperPrez to become involved. (See Phase 4) Therefore, there were no escrituras issued.

This was to our advantage in all three demandas. Chuchi sued La Yacata, but as you can only sue a community that has escrituras, this only involved the first section. However, the hole in the ground that pretended to be a pozo (well) was located in the second section and had no escrituras. Therefore, our argument was that neither he nor the pozo guy, could sue a community over a pozo that was outside its defined boundries. Case closed. (See Demanda 1, Demanda 2, Demanda 3)

The M the horse guy (See Good Neighbors make good fences and No honor among thieves) began to go on about how we needed to go and put a demanda (lawsuit) against Chuchi. He was looking really to point fingers because J. the previous president of La Yacata (See Phase 2) was in attendance and we had been unable to proceed with a community lawsuit because J. failed to show at the Ministero Publico (Public Ministry) when we went en masse. Well, I tried to shut M down by commenting that Chuchi has several pending lawsuits that were brought against him by individual members of La Yacata and that M was more than welcome to take his proof of fraud documents and make a similar case. After all, the ministero Publico is a free service available to all citizens. He said he did not feel supported by the community in such action. SuperPrez then quietly asked me if M had paid his lawyer fees. He had not. So SuperPrez told M that he should understand how we, the mesa directiva, feel when colonos (community members) such as himself have not paid their dues so that La Yacata could pay the lawyers for their legal defense of the entire community. M had nothing further to say on that matter.

However, M brought up another point. He had this idea of organizing by street or block in order to get the services needed in the community. He happened to be standing next to his neighbor and patted him on the shoulder saying that between the two of them they would put in the sewer lines for their properties. Hate to break it to you M, but your neighbor has shown himself to be non-participant just like yourself. Good luck trying to get him to commit to installing the sewer.

Another colono (community member) asked about the feasibility of going service by service rather in one lump sum. He commented that perhaps the lump estimate of $50,000 pesos for water, electricity, sewer and pavement scared the colonos (community members). If it were broken down into segments and presented to the colonos, perhaps they would respond more favorably. So supposing the estimate for the sewer system was between $6,000 and $8,000 pesos it seemed much easier to handle as compared to $50,000. He even suggested that the amount be even further broken down by square meter per lot. M chimed up again and said he was only going to pay for one sewer system (or one payment of $6,000) although he has 4 lots because he was only going to have one house on the property. Super Prez said amounts could not be figured like that since each property was, in fact, paying for the central system and the line to Moroleon, which would be about $6,000 pesos per lot, no matter if the lot were 6 x 20 m or 20 x 50 m. In addition to the central line, each property owner would pay for the connection to the central line. For example, we have 2 lots, however, we only need 1 connection, so our price would be $12,000 plus the connection fee. A bit steep, but given time, could be done.

The conversation became more positive at this point. The colonos present said they recognize our efforts and realize the costs for making things right would be high. They did not wish us to step down. In fact, they offered to assist us in things like getting the rest of the colonos to fill out the encuestas (surveys) by going to their family and neighbors. That was nice to hear, however, entre trato y hecho hay un gran stretcho (there is a great distance between word and deed). So it remains to be seen whether this promised help will materialize. They also said they would be interested in proceeding with the sewer project and that we should present the project at the next junta (community meeting).

So I guess I haven’t been allowed to resign yet. The next meeting will be in about 2 months. In the meantime, I am working on making a list of shame to post in the vitrina (display case) that names those who have yet to register, those who have yet to pick up their certificates, those that have not paid for the lawyer, those that have not filled out the survey, and those who have issues with their lots. But as we have seen, La Yacata is full of sin verguenzas (shameless ones) and I doubt it will cause much of a stir.

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Questionaire for La Yacata revolution

Mountains of paperwork and no appreciation makes being a member of the mesa directiva in La Yacata, pesada (cumbersome).

Mountains of paperwork and no appreciation makes being a member of the mesa directiva in La Yacata, pesada (cumbersome).

As I wrote in the last Revolution update, I was fed up with the general attitude expressed by the Yacata colonos (community members) and had decided to work on my serenity and my plans for a solar powered system instead of all this horse poop. So I wrote my letter of resignation and sent it to Super Prez. However, before I could comfortably throw in the towel, there were a few things that I wanted to finish up.

With the light at the end of the tunnel in mind, I organized the padron (property owner list) into colonias (neighborhoods) and sent out avisos (announcements) to every single one with the date and time of their appointment in SuperPrez’s office to fill out their encuesta (survey). With approximately 450 property owners, scheduling appointments every 15 minutes from 10 am to 2 pm Monday thru Saturday, it took 3 weeks. Each Saturday, my husband delivered the avisos for the upcoming week and SuperPrez had his secretary come into the office instead of where he had her working on a job site, to receive the people. Quite a bit of effort to say the least.

However, after 3 weeks, there was a grand total of 60 surveys completed. Those 60 surveys actually totaled 93 lots, with the addition of SuperPrez’s lots, made a grand total of 33% of all property owners. Disgruntled but determined to finish up, I then compiled the results and sent them on to SuperPrez for consideration.

The survey had 6 questions. Each question had a yes or no box to check and a space for open comments. Here is an English version of the questions and the overall response of the 60 community members who took the time to complete the survey.

Are you aware that since the formation of the current mesa directiva (which is SuperPrez, me, the secretary G. and the 3 vocales (underlings)) the main objective has been to regularize our community and complete the urbanization projects that are necessary? Yes 56 No 4  Why? I go to the meetings.

Are you aware that the only way to get escrituras (property titles) for the lots in La Yacata is by completion of all the urbanization projects in the community? (i.e. water, electric, sewer, pavement, sidewalks)?Yes 55 No 5 Why? It’s the law.

Are you aware that the costs of all of the urbanization projects in the community are the responsibility of each of the property owners in the community? Yes 55 No 5 Why? It’s a private community.

Are you aware that the urbanization already in place in La Yacata must be done again because they do not meet current code requirements and must be done as defined by law in order to get property certificates?Yes 48 No 12 Why? They were done wrong.

Are you in an economic position to begin making monthly installments in order to begin the urbanization of the community? Yes 19 No 41 Why? No work.

Do you have any suggestions about the monthly installments needed in order to complete the urbanization of the community?Yes 24 No 36 Why? Longer period to pay.

Two of the 60 survey participants marched into SuperPrez’s office and carried on a bit saying that SuperPrez is making illicit deals with the Presidencia (town hall) and this is all just a ploy to take their money. Whatever.

It seemed with these results, there would be no advancement with our plans for development. SuperPrez came to chat the evening before the junta (community meeting) and basically said the same. He was also annoyed that after all the time, money and effort we had put into this during the last 2 years, we had such little support from the community members. (Rateros–Really?) We speculated that perhaps the majority of those who had bought lots in La Yacata never had the intention of habitation. (See Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, No Honor among thieves) Perhaps they thought of it as a get rich quick scheme, buy low, sell high. We decided to give them the option of electing other representatives in our place. Seems like what the majority wanted after all.  Until tomorrow morning then…

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