an american homeowner part II


My next visit to our house in Puerto was mid November 2007. I was coming down to finalize the deed to the house, check on the property and grab a few rays of sun. I could never convince any of my friends to come for a free vacation because Puerto is a hard place to get to. There are no direct flights from the west coast so it is impossible to make this into a one day trip. The cost of staying overnight in Mexico City or Huatulco plus the cost of the ticket, make this Mexican destination expensive. So I prepared myself for six weeks of solitude with my laptop, Ipod, at least five books, Spanish and French lessons and the hope of coming home with a bronzed body. Unfortunately so much of my time was spent trying to track down our Mexican lawyer and complain to anyone who would listen about how we had been deceived, cheated and lied to by Brent Berry and Nancye Radmin, the real estate broker who sold us the house. After checking our bank statements and bills, I was overwhelmed by the amount of money we had to pay to maintain this place. Our electric bills ranged anywhere from $200-$300 a month because the pool pump was on three hours a day,cleaning the pool. I had consulted electricians, plumbers and pool experts last year and again this year and no one ever suggested that the pump was big enough for an olympic size pool and was devouring electric energy. It wasnt until I came down for my third visit in 2008 that the true facts were finally revealed. But as I was still in the dark in 2007, the electric bills were exorbitant. Our Mexican lawyer, a nervous young woman named Irais Rivera, still had not gotten any papers from the bank to close the sale but kept asking for more money. During the past year we had paid her over $6000 to cover Berrys thirteen years of unpaid dues to the bank. I went to another attorney who informed me that before we could even begin the transfer we needed Berrys sons to give me power of attorney and relinquish their rights as benificiaries. As Berrys wife had died, their sons became part owners of the house. At this point, Irais Rivera, our less than trustworthy attorney, had signed over to me her power of attorney from Brent Berry. Naturally this came with a cost of another $200 but she was out of my life forever.
My new lawyer signor Julio Rivera also broke the news that the house and part of the land we had bought were not even mentioned in the deed document so we had to hire an architect to redraw the plans and appraise the house. Overwhelmed with frustration and deciding that our German manager had been overcharging us,I fired her as well and decided to trust a young Mexican, a descendant of East European Jews who had fled the Holacaust to Mexico in the early thirties. He promised he had a trustworthy, responsible woman to take care of our house. I had made this decision a few days before my departure so I trusted his judgement. I usually stayed until mid December, leaving a few days before the high season rentals started. As the day approached for my departure, I realized we still had no legal ownership to the house and Brent Berry,after receiving a request from the notary in Puerto,asking for powers of attorney to be done at the Mexican consulate in Colorado,replied he would do them in English through an American notary. Looking back on my tropical vacation in November 2007, I only remember feeling frustrated and disconnected from this beautiful place. Things are more upbeat when I return in November 2008. To be continued.

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