- Posted May 31, 2014 by
Costa Rican “David” Stumbles Upon a New Goliath (FIFCO).
Lawyer helps out poor local communities suffering of water-scarcity.
A confidential source confirmed that the one of the Costa Rican lawyers who urged the Canadian mining company Infinito Gold’s to quit its billion dollar claim against Costa Rica, hit the headlines again, now in relation with the Reserva Conchal Real Estate Development (RC) owned by the Florida Ice and Farm Co. (FIFCO).
The Northern Pacific Coast real estate extensive 2.400 acres mega development located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and owned by the Florida Ice and Farm Co. (FIFCO) is one of the most luxurious and massive beachfront real estate projects in Central America and it’s potentially worth billions. Mr. Ramon Mendiola (CEO) and Heineken International are the major shareholders of the beer goliath FIFCO. Mr. Mendiola is considered by Forbes Magazine the second richest person in Central America.
Nevertheless, RC has been in the public eye for many years due to its exorbitant water consumption, leaving poor local communities as Lorena, Huacas and Potrero with non-stopping shortages and forcing the natives to take action by performing several protests and legal claims against local authorities. RC denied technical reports claiming that water shortage is caused mainly by the project’s overexploitation of the wells. RC requires a colossal amount of water for irrigation and supply purposes in order to build and maintain the 2.000 residential units (mostly multi-million dollar residences), four 5-star hotels, a beach club, an 18-hole golf club and an equestrian club, among other amenities.
Furthermore, recently Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) the Costa Rican water utility public company finished the feasibility study that supports the US$9 million infrastructure investment destined to increase the local wells' liquid supply by 188 liters per second. It’s not much considering that RC already has water exploitation permits for 72 liters per second and requires an extra 180 liters per second to continue its own development.
If the natives’ suspicions are correct, the new aqueduct might suffice only the needs of RC.
Apparently diverse social groups within the affected communities reached out to the lawyer Max Esquivel for help last year, the specialist responsible of dissuading the canadian gold mining company Infinito Gold to drop the 1 Billion ICSID claim against Costa Rica. According to his profile in Linkedin, Mr. Esquivel is an expert in coastal properties’ legal scrutiny and validation assessments. Even if the assessment’s conclusions are strictly classified –for the time being-, these should put major pressure into RC in order to even the odds for all parties involved in the water dispute, once the lawyer “urges” the company to reconsider its position.
It’s important to notice that due to Costa Rican legislation, all beachfront privately owned properties which stand on void or doubtful titles are subject to be claimed back by Government authorities at any time.
Usually these types of lawsuits lead to a huge plunge not only in the developments’ real estate value, but also to its major shareholder company stock rating and price (FIFCO).