Scam / Scruff / Chaos

ISSUE #732: Oct. 21-27, 2018


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

Distrito Cuatro / Guachipelín / Escazú
Price reduced: $ 99,000 to $ 90,000

about Distrito Cuatro

Rendering proposed
Distrito Cuatro - click to Download full PDF

Real de Santa María / Borreal de Heredia
$ 185,000
Private financing available

See location on Google Maps

Real de Santa María / Borreal de Heredia

Download more pictures (8.35 Mb)

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #114 and #124


Paradisus: Nothing available

Los Jardines: Unit #113

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

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

Unit #113: $ 1,250 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit

For sale

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.

For rent

UNIT #113
$ 1,250 mo.
Available immediately

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

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.

Our Lives

Weather: Transitioning to dry season: Normally, November is a transitional month... rains back off and gradually more sunny days. The last few years, November has been pretty wet but we are beginning to see this transitioning happening... so maybe we will dry up.

What Happened This Week:

Heredia House: Looking good / looking lonely -one call... showing scheduled for tomorrow... we'll see.

Gardening: After having lost our key go-to guy / gardener, I have been looking for a replacement. This has not gone as expected. We hired one company to test them and our plan out. It is not working as I had hoped. They are outclassed, too inexperienced. I don't think they will make it. We are trying another person/company on Monday to see what they can do. Interviewing doesn't achieve much... we have to see them in action to actually know if they can do what they claim. Most gardeners don't come with very impressive resumes...

DistrictCuatro: I am moving ahead on this. Concrete and rubble will be removed this week. Electricity and water permits have been applied for. Remodeling plans are being drafted and should be completed and submitted by the end of next week. In the meantime, I continue to show it to clueless people with no money, no experience, no ambition, but full of rosy dreams...

INS suite: I sit at the table this week.

But all the above is "noise" for this week's multiple dramas:

Scams / Scruffs / Chaos: For a year and a half, I have had a tenant... I'll call him "George". Lived with his girlfriend / daughter, quietly for about a year. Proposed to her with Mariachi band, always paid on time EXCEPT for one period when he had a driving accident, messed up his foot/leg. He kept me advised and made good within the month. His wife wanted to move to a unit with a washer / dryer... understandable. I arranged for it to happen... she left him before that happened. He moved anyway because he would have partial custody. So far, no problems re. our landlord-tenant relationship. About 4 months ago, things started to go off the rails. One night he asked me to attend his place where he said an angry girlfriend was on his terrace / he had installed cameras an could see her... he was off site. I went, spoke with her, she refused to leave, I told him there is nothing more I could do. An hour later, several people arrived and she was gone. The next month, he was a full month late in paying. His explanation was that an angry girlfriend had broken into his car, stolen all his documents and since he was a Ukrainian refugee from Odessa (he had left to avoid the draft), he had great difficulty in getting new documentation and could not access his bank account. He kept me informed more or less along this story. He promised to get back on track. Again he was late and did not pay until the third week. This is after multiple broken promises. The next month was the same... evasive, broken promises, disappearances... In the previous months I had told him that this record was not acceptable and that I would begin enforcing the provisions for late payment... I had done this the previous month by cutting off his Internet and cableTV and charging him a re-connection fee... always encouraging him to get his life straightened out. My tolerance was used up... I did this again this month... after giving multiple warnings and announcements. I also turned off his water... this is a questionable legal issue... but I believe it is legal because water, shower, toilet, cooking, refrigeration are all available within 100' of his house... so, while an inconvenience, it is not a health or safety issue. By this time, he had disappeared for several weeks. About 10 days ago, I received a call from a girl claiming to be his "partner". She asked questions and we compared notes... we had substantially different information. A few days later, she called again, and again we compared notes... and again the information was very different. On Tuesday night at 12:45, Lita answered the door... I was asleep... it was the girl desperately trying to corroborate info. I approached her in the unit... we spoke and continued to find out the person each of us thought we knew, actually didn't know George at all. My information was that he worked for Mondeleze as a responsible data base IT guy. He had been called out of the country for work and had been delayed in getting back. (I was having difficulty believing this info. but until now, I had no basis of comparison.) According to her, he did worked in some shady, Internet business, possibly sports book or some scamming operation, he was not out of the country but hiding away in Guanacaste, he was not a Ukrainian refugee (his parents were) but he was 100% tico. She also said he always seemed to have a lot of money and hung around with some nasty people. According to what she had been told, he had paid regularly for the previous months and was up to date for this month. I filled her in. At that moment, the electricity went out as well... CNFL cut the power. (I later found out that he had not paid for 4 months -I paid and it got turned on the next day). I had had enough of this guy, so told the girl, who had no legal standing (technically a squatter) that she needed to move out (she was always very nice, bewildered at everything.) I removed his belongings to a secure location and I changed the locks because according to her, someone had entered and removed items and according to her, she and he were the only ones with keys... That could not have been the case. Yes, he hollered and screamed and threatened via emails... my response was to test me and asked him if he really wanted me poking around in his messy life, and does he really want one more enemy... Multiple emails and multiple broken promises later, he says he will attend to pick up his belongings. I am now getting it cleaned, cat urine eliminate, and marketed. I really hate cleaning up after people's messy lives... However, this story isn't over yet

On Tuesday, I received a call from someone claiming to be from "Hacienda"... tax department. They were assigned to help me set up my electronic billing if I would work with them... (I was totally, bloody stupid here since I had been a target of Canadian Rev. Canada scams)... but since I was / am really concerned about the new law and how to comply, I fell for this. Well, the voice took me through the Hacienda websites which asked for various pieces of information / When we got to my bank account, I objected and told him "no way". I immediately went to my bank and had a freeze put on my account just in case / I called my IT person to remove any malware. So far, no damage... except to my ego... and then I learned from the girl that she thought this guy could well be involved in Internet scams... well, hello dummy -wake me the f.... up! ....was this a coincidence (I now don't think so) or was I the target..???

Oh my Gosh! We have a returned tenant... they were fine before so am happy to have them back. The unit they rented does not have laundry... they have use the on-site coin operated units. Not their preference but that is the only unit I had at the time and the price was right which was important to them. After getting the coins and trying several loads in the "washer" she complained to the property manager. He attended the laundry site. She had put the clothes into the dryer thinking it was the washing machine!!!!!! wow!!!!! that is one I would never have considered having to explain to anyone. Now it seems we have to remove the powered soap...

"Gustos" Restaurant: It is new and very nicely decorated. Unfortunately it is not great food, mediocre service, and high prices. This is the second and probably the last time we will be going. We had promised to take a friend. We've done that. Don't need t make that promise again.

NETFLIX: We did get it up and running... very smoothly... after several years of various problems... limited band width, slow modem, lost passwords, lost control, seemingly burned out Apple TV box (actually it was just the HDMI cable but we had purchased a new Apple TV)... we we are streaming seamlessly and over the next year, may catch up on what others have been talking about.

Costa Rica Chaos: If the political chaos in the USA combined with the Wall Street carnage weren't enough of a distraction, CR is finding it very difficult to stave off financial collapse by continuing to kick the can down the road. CR is on the edge of a financial cliff and I suspect social unrest... more so than in the past 6 weeks with the general strike, some (teachers) are still on strike and vow to continue. Students have now lost all learning they would have achieved (no much in public schools) and the teachers have had a paid holiday and have not, and probably will not, be held accountable. Businesses are counting up their losses... tourism down, restaurants closing, consumer consumption down due to unemployment / income disruption... The colon continues to fall (currently 590 : 602) great for those holding wealth in dollars but it will soon or has started to eat into those earning in colones and borrowing in dollars... ticos are not great savers... everything is bought on CC...interest rates vary from 25% to 50+%, with most around 35-45%... wow... The government just announced that the minimum wage would increase about 3%... this is supposedly based on a formula which takes inflation into account I haven't seen any data (perhaps the government is burying it) but the rate has to be getting up there... The fiscal reform proposals will not be ruled on by the judiciary until the end of November. and unless the government amends the proposals and exempts the judiciary, they are likely to veto the proposals... and then there is Christmas which shuts down the government from Dec. 15-Jan 10 or so... The school year has all but been written off / the teachers will go on their scheduled holidays as per usual... The government tried to reschedule $400 mil in loans... it didn't get even close -no one wanted to buy CR bonds... they have no confidence in the government's ability to pay... and the rates were 10% percent... we are going to hell in a wheel barrow and the cliff is getting nearer and nearer!... see below... but drugs are flowing freely through CR... and who knows how much dark money is being washed -again see below.

...and LIta wonders why I cannot sleep at night????

An if all that is not enough to sour a week, three (3)of my long, long time friends are in hospital: (1) one due to old age and stubbornness (90+ years old, living alone, fell and broke a hip... left undiscovered for some time -everyone had told her she was courting disaster; (2) 70 something with 45% lung capacity and getting rapidly worse... biopsies, what to do? he hadn't looked after himself for years because he hated doctors and the pharma industry; and (3) a 64 year old had a planned knee replacement... it is a tough, painful path he has to follow but the chances are extremely good that he will be 100% in a few months... again I dodged the bullet... but sometime it will get me.

News Items of the Week


Below is a medley of comments / articles / opinions: This is contemporary CR...

Oct 24, 2018, at 07:39

Hacienda, per La nacion today, is going to try to extend c2 billion, 62% of the bonds coming due in 2019 and 2020, to longer term 2021 to 2030. Hold on to your hats! If it works, the can just got kicked down the road to explode much bigger, but later on, BANG!, with the higher interest BANG and cummulative redemptions BANG. If it fails, then BOOM! This year!

The fookin bastids dumped more of their reserves to protect the colon from further devaluation. What 'appens when the reserves start dropping too far! BANG!

Fiscal Plan sent to constitutional court (Sala Cuarta) for review. They take a month to come back with an answer. Chances ate not good that they will give their stamp of approval, as the Supreme Court Justice already thinks that it prejudices “luxury pensions,” which he claims are constitutional. By the way, justices are among those who receive the highest pensions - much more than they ever paid into. So the wolves are guarding the sheep, so to speak.

Not looking good...

There are other ways - more creative - to raise revenues. This is the fifth president in a row trying to pass a “reforma fiscal!”

Hacienda came up 'seco', dry, yesterday on bond auctions in both colones and USD. A staffer commented that this was 'atypical!' to not receive a single offer...

The fookin state university management gave themselves big raises for 2019.

The court will not agree to merge their pension funds into the common gobment CCSS pension administration.

Today, Hacienda did a little better, Or not. They swapped c196,000 million in bonds up from c122,091 million yesterday. But, 98.4% of today's swap was bonds due in 2020 extended to 2023... In all, Hacienda swapped only c318.500 million or 15.9% of c2 billion in outstanding debt, much of which is very short term... No word in La Nacion as to the interest rates set today. Wonder why, eh. Hacienda says that in addition they had 'private' swaps on another 78,500 million. Whatever that means???

Hacienda started with a hope for 60% or more to be swapped, but no joy at just 15.9%

Meanwhile, on the Monex, the USD finally penetrated the c600 wall closing at c601.75.

Moodys advised that they are reviewing whether to put CR on a negative watch and downgrade...

The Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Tax package by November 28. Wow, they need over a month to try and hide and cover up their salaries and pensions... and kill the package.

The situation really does not look good...

J H // Fri, Oct 26, 11:25 PM

Interesting couple of weeks in Costa Rica! Tail end of strikes raises dollar to colone 3.6% in one week! We have to buy dollars because no tourist want to come to C.R. People talking say huelga killed thier sales. Car sales down, dentist says no body wants to spend money, and on and on... Hotels are suffering tourist transport down,restaurants closing... Ironically, why international people come is because C.R. is cool and socialized. It's a democratic republic, but has socialized medicine and other hang overs from its inception. I take offence at the huelga as it has cost increases in products and availability in my business. I have respect to let persons strike a day or two to make a point, but 5 weeks and now 47 days with other factions,please! What have they gained? Really if you think about it if they tried this #*!@ in Cuba, a socialist communist country, they would put them up against a wall and shot them!In the last year I have seen 2,000 clients leave due to this political situation. We all hear about corporations leaving due to electric costs and so forth. Ironically talking to friends in California, its cheaper to live there than here. At least there they pay you to to go solar. Here ICE does everything possible to not let you go solar.Now from a business perspective you can't hire illegals. All your bank information is visible to the government. A society is almost useless. If you dont have a cedula you cant get a drivers license, CAJA, and in some cases get a bank account! I had client move to Panama, had it with Arenal. One month later, opened a bank account, and had residency! Most others have chosen Nicaragua, Panama, or returned to the USA. Sadly detramental to us whom invested in Costa Rica! This from the perspective of a person whom came to invest in a family project, and created a construction company, and in the meantime had a lucrative business fixing badly built Costa Rican construction to USA or better standards. Now doing ecological new construction and solar.Son of a Costa Rican/ German and an American mother I am a citizen and do love my second country. Things have to change...or?

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

Finance Minister, Rocio Aguilar, made a presentation of the results of government revenues and expenditures in the month of September this year, the confirmed that, "the country can no longer cope with the difficult fiscal situation" due to the absence of a law to increase government revenues.

In addition to the "difficult situation," the minister also refers to the country's problems such as: scarce resources to meet the expenses of the government, the announcement of the next review of the country’s risk rating, the poverty index and the increase in the delinquency of the financial system.

According to the report of the Finance Ministry, in the third quarter of the year, "the government's financial deficit reached 4.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product." This result maintains the trend observed since July, when the largest deficit of the last five years was reached.

According to the ministry, one of the expenses that increased was the payment of interest, which went from "2.4 percent of GDP, in September 2017, to 2.6 percent of GDP in September of this year."

The ministry has reported that, although the expense growth rate is lower than that registered in 2017, the growth of current expenses has reached 7.3 percent despite the actions that the government continues to take to contain spending.

On the income side, the ministry reported that in the third quarter of the year, "tax revenues showed a slight growth, but its pace is much slower than the previous year." The report suggests that this as a result of the decrease in the importation of vehicles, "a smaller increase in the collection of sales tax and the continuous disconnection between economic growth and tax collection." The economic imbalances of the government increase.

Headlines Oct. 26:

Canadian Airline “Air Transat” Cancels All Flights to Nicaragua
Costa Rican Police Rescue Two Live Sea Turtles and Seize Hundreds of Turtle Eggs
Costa Rican Authorities Intercept Boat Carrying 690 Kilograms of Cocaine
Spain Confiscates Six Tons of Cocaine Hidden in Banana Shipment Originating from Costa Rica

Headlines Oct 25:

Labor Strike Generated Losses in 76% of Businesses in Costa Rica
Costa Rican Government Will use All Legal Resources to Recover Losses Resulting From Labor Strike

Re. the latter: Costa Rican Government Will use All Legal Resources to Recover Losses Resulting From Labor Strike

The Costa Rican Government assures that they will use any and all legal actions to compensate and recover the losses and damages caused by public employees that participated in the labor strike in those institutions in which the movement was declared illegal. The labor strike that began back on September 10 is maintained today mostly by the education sector.

“We respect judicial decisions, but the Government considers that it is its responsibility and obligation to resort to all legal mechanism that allow the compensation and recovery of the damages caused and the salaries that were received without providing the corresponding service”, commented the Minister of Presidency, Rodolfo Piza, and he added “we will go to the last consequences to reach this objective”.

Juan Alfaro, Vice-Minister of Work, also mentioned that there is a general discomfort in the population with relation to the unfairness of paying salaries to people that did not work. “Its also about making all efforts possible to recover the trust of the citizens with their institutions”, he mentioned.

50% of Students in public schools and high schools lost important and irrecoverable time and caused great problems for the Ministry of Public Education in the closure of the school year; the Ministry even had to request the help of volunteers to keep watch over students during the upcoming bachillerato tests which are a requirement to graduate high school.

The Commenters to this article ALL agreed that nothing was going to happen to the teachers nor to any of the other “illegal” strikers and that the government wouldn’t do anything...


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+506) 8-455-59-35
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203


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