CR Banks... Earn their Scorn!

ISSUE #684: Nov. 5-11, 2017


Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly newsletter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have re-sales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Developer / Property manager
Residencias Los Jardines


rentals & sales

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser
Visit our website

Paradisus Condos - click to visit

Each of the units consists of two bedrooms / two bathrooms, and a large living/dining/kitchen area. The floor plan of each of these units has eliminated the optional "den / office" divider. The result is a larger area offering more flexible furniture arrangements while still maintaining the option of including an office area. At 105m2 plus two parking spots each and storage locker, they offer a great opportunity for someone seeking views, security, central location, and first class, all round living...

Semi furnished unit: For sale: $235,000
Fully furnished unit: For sale: $245,000
Floor 12 -west view

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #106A, #114 and #124


Paradisus: Nothing available

Los Jardines: Several calls but nothing available

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #124: $ 135,000 / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #106A
$ 165,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units on the ground floor and two units on the 2nd. floor. Each unit is the same size (1,250sf) divided into 800 sf of interior space and 450 sf of covered front and back terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5" concrete slab prevent sound transference.

UNIT #114
$ 199,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 2 bedroom/2bathroom,1,290 sf single floor end unit home includes a 150 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. This house is fully air conditioned and has recently been professionally decorated by international decorator Alcides Graffe and has undergone a complete renovation—new modern furniture, finishings, window coverings, and art work by Carlos Gambino. It is arguably the nicest furnished unit at Residencias Los Jardines and only steps from the pool

UNIT #124
$ 135,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + covered parking for one car, is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple.

Our Lives

Weather: The dry season... is not here yet... but it is definitely coming...

CR Banks earn their Scorn: I spent three days in banks this week and had one more day but I decided I couldn't handle another day...

If the slow service, arbitrary cancellation of accounts, arbitrary freezing of accounts, ​endless and frequent documentation and re-documentation under the guise of "know your customer", slow decision making on mortgages, high interest rates on loans, incredible, userous interest rates on CC balances (25%-75% with 40-45% being the norm), inability to provide statements of accounts... this is all "normal" and is pretty come to all banks in varying degrees... with perhaps Scotiabank ranking the worst in ALL categories... this week I got into a battle over the acceptance of 5-$20 bills which I had received from tenants... they got these bills from other banks... Scotiabank would not accept them... we exchanged words... lots of them... I finally took the bills to Banco National and paid a bill with them... I would love to cancel my Scotiabank account but changing to another bank is like changing into another pair of dirty jeans... and it will take several months and several hundred dollars... but I have developed a battle plan for Scotiabank... I will use the same stupidity when receiving colones as they do when receiving US dollars...stupidity knows no nationality... I will love rejecting colones and demanding a bill with no writing on it, with no crinkles in it, with no torn corner... and when I tell them I have had an account with Scotiabank Canada for 40 yrs... never a problem... a blank stare comes over their faces... disbelief? embarrassment? I don't know...

​During this week, I have been communicating with a lawyer / money manager who looks after a tenant's funds -and many other people I believe... he had spent his week fighting with banks as well... at one time I stated that hell must be full of CR bankers... his reply was that he didn't know about that but at least it was full of CR bank compliance officers... and many of my friends could tell you about their banking experiences... However, if you are a powerful CR, you can get a $50 million loan with virtually no security and no accountability, no questions asked, payout some is called "cementgate" see below...

Eye Exam: nearing the end of my 70's health check- up, and in between banks, I found time for an eye exam -hadn't had one for 20 or do years... checking for the usual culprits... glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and vision deterioration... ended up with a clean bill of eye health and a prescription... $100 at CIMA if anyone wants to know... amazing technology!!! Ordered my glasses on Thursday and got them this morning... wow... yes, I can see better with big boy glasses vs the off the shelf $4 readers and should be able to see better for distance driving. All pare of aging and it can be done in CR easily...

News Items of the Week


1. Carlos Bolanos: here is an incomplete bio of the guy at the center of "cementgate". Supposedly he and a buddy are in jail... temporarily...

2. British Tourism: direct flights have resulted in increased tourism... understandably

3. BCR bank: downgraded again... this is a government bank which lent the $30 mil to Bolanos...

1. Who is Juan Carlos Bolaños? The Main Character in the Cementazo Scandal in Costa Rica

The name Juan Carlos Bolaños has been appearing in all media outlets throughout Costa Rica almost daily for the past six months; he is the main character in the corruption scandal known as “Cementazo”, but who is this man? And, why, all of a sudden has he become one of Costa Rica’s most polemic characters.

Juan Carlos Bolaños was born in San José, Costa Rica in June,1979 and he was raised by his middle class family in Grecia, Alajuela; he went to law school but never graduated, he has been married to Ana Laura Suárez since 2007 and has three children with Ana.

His career as a businessman began around 2002, when he invested in acquiring construction equipment which he rented in the areas of Limón and San Carlos to build canals in pineapple plantations; with the profit from this business he was able to purchase more equipment and strengthen his business. He founded JCB Corporate Group in 2004 and JCB Distribuidora S.A. as one of its businesses with offices in La Uruca dedicated to renting construction equipment, excavators, backhoes, wheel loaders, compactors, bulldozers, forklifts, among others; some of the equipment was imported from China.

It was while doing some construction work at the dam in Nosara, Guanacaste (after winning a public tender of the National Emergency Commission), when he became interested in the cement business; Bolaños in an interview with Semanario Universidad explains that he requested a quote for cement for the two companies that had the duopoly in the country, Cemex and Holcim, and it was then that he realized that “they had it all fixed”, and decided to import the cement he needed at a cheaper price. After seeing the results he decided to look into the possibility of importing the cement to sell in the country and with this end he created Sinocem in November, 2014.

The problem he encountered at the time, as we have explained in our other articles regarding the China Cement scandal is that a law in the country prevented the entry of cement that which was over 45 days from the date of fabrication (cement can spoil with time); the law which prevented the cement to be imported from such a remote destination and allowed Holcim and Cemex to maintain the duopoly. This law, coincidentally, was changed in 2015, since the Government wanted to open the market to offer better prices, resolution that helped Sinocem. (Several visits from JCB to the Presidency are registered prior to the approval of the change in regulation).

What happened next has been explained thoroughly in our previous articles.

Bolaños has stated several times, that he has done nothing wrong and that everything that has happened started out due to a dirty commercial war created by Cemex and Holcim that according to him used their “influences” in media outlets such as CRHOY and Diario Extra.

The fact of the matter is Bolaños does have important friends in high places, ministers, congressmen, members of different political parties, etc.

Bolaños lives in Escazú with his wife and children, but has properties in Grecia, Atenas, and reportedly Guanacaste where he also owns a luxury vacation home with helipad. Luxury cars, purebred horses, a helicopter and a plane are part of his assets and also part of what has called the attention over Bolaños.

Juan Carlos Bolaños was detained November 3 on charges of embezzlement, influence peddling, criminal simulation and false accusation, and has been sentenced to three months of preventive prison which as of yesterday he is discounting at the San Sebastián jail.

2. Tourism From the UK to Costa Rica has Grown 9.1% in 2017

The efforts done by the Costa Rica Tourism Board with the objective of increasing the visits of tourists from Europe to the country have paid off, especially when it comes to tourists visiting the country from the United Kingdom.

The number of tourists from the UK to Costa Rica has grown by 9.1% in comparison to the previous year; this 2017 the country has received in the period from January to September a total of 47,826 English tourists.

Now, the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) continues with activities to reinforce the actions to continue growing in this market. The fact that British Airways is now offering direct flights to the country, is one of the biggest contributors to these numbers, according to the Minister of Tourism, Mauricio Ventura.

The ICT and 53 tourism companies took part of the international fair World Travel Market (WTM) which took place November 6 through the 8th; this as part of the actions to consolidate the destination. The World Trade Market is considered the most important of the English market.

The stand, of 366 square meters was inspired in cultural elements that showed another aspect of Costa Rica and not just nature and adventure.

3. Moody’s downgraded the BCR again

Risk rating firm Moody’s lowered BCR’s base credit rating to B1 on Wednesday. Previously it was located in BA3.

Despite this, the ratings agency confirmed the long-term local currency deposit ratings and unsecured foreign currency ratings at Ba2, as well as Ba3’s long-term foreign currency deposit rating. The outlook of all the ratings remains negative.

The rating agency explained that the short-term downgrade reflects the deepening concerns about corporate governance following the arrests of the bank’s manager, interim manager and members of the credit committee on November 3rd.

The preventive arrests are related to accusations of alleged embezzlement of public funds.


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+506) 8305-3965
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203


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