THE KEY to the future of hundreds of homes illegally built in a beautiful Costa Blanca valley lies with a town hall, said a top barrister this week.
Bernardo del Rosal Blasco is representing members of Abusos Urbanisticos Lliber No – victims of an alleged construction scam involving some 300 villas built on rural and protected land.
Following a Guardia Civil probe, 18 arrests have been made so far including a former mayor, town hall architect, promoters, and builders.
And an investigating judge at Denia is currently hearing allegations of how building licences were fraudulently issued by a former Lliber Town Hall regime between 1999 and 2003.
Speaking to nearly 100 AULN members on Saturday 29th May, Mr Blasco said the criminal court system – which in Spain would also deal with compensation – had no power to legalise the homes.
But the former Ombudsman – forming the group’s legal team with solicitor Monica Mas – said the local authority was responsible for the actions of earlier mayors, councillors and civil servants.
“If the people who ran the town hall committed crimes, then the town hall is liable – if an ex-mayor is tried as an individual, who was mayor at the time, his acts were as official acts of the town hall,” he said.
He argued homeowners - described as “law abiding citizens living in illegal houses” - who bought in good faith on the basis of allegedly scam town hall licences, would be entitled to their money back from a cash-strapped local authority.
“It is cheaper for the town hall to legalise the situation where it is possible to do so, rather than give back the money for the house.”
Mr Blasco, warning the case could last years, said: “What we are looking to do is negotiate with the town hall – the key to your problem is the town hall.
“And we want to get the Valencia government involved because we feel they also had the power to control the situation.
“A criminal judge cannot force the town hall to legalise the situation; that is the province of the town hall and we have to get the town hall involved in the solution.”
Mr Blasco said he had offered his services to the prosecution in a bid to accelerate the trial process but warned the law in Spain was “unpredictable”.
Explaining the AULN battle plan, he said one aim was to get the people responsible for the conspiracy behind bars.
Mr Blasco said he could not guarantee success in any trial and any subsequent action. “But I believe the main aim is to legalise your homes. At the end of the day, having X or Y in jail does not solve anything.
“What I can guarantee is that without the court process you and other neighbours have nothing; inside the process you have something. To get that something you have to invest a little money: it is worth it.”
Also at the meeting with words of support from the AUN were Charles and Lisa Svoboda, Enrique Climente and Jacqui Cotterill the deputy mayor of Parcent who we would like to publicly thank for their ongoing support and advice. Thank you!