Sick and Crippled...

ISSUE #768: July 7-13, 2019


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 #114, #116 and #124


Paradisus: Nothing available

Los Jardines: Units #106D and #113

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #116: $ 195,000 $ 189,995 / See Unit
Unit #124: $ 125,000 / See Unit

Unit #106D: $ 1050 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #113: $ 1,200 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 #116
$ 195,000 $ 189,995

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 and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

UNIT #124
$135,000 $ 125,000

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 #106D
$ 1050 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1227 + parking
Total area (Sq M): 113 + parking
Bedrooms: 1 + den (bedroom possible)
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 2nd. floor
Type: 4-plex
Furnished: Yes

This 2nd story, 1,227 sf (113 m2 + one parking space) is a georgous home with one of the best views at Los Jardines. The very large front covered terrace faces east and is suitable for entertaining; the off-bedroom covered terrace faces west for sun sets. This very tastefully furnished and fully equipped home offers a lifestyle envied by many.

UNIT #113
$ 1,200 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

Rainy Season... Rainy season kicked back in... nice for everyone and everything...

What Happened This Week

Vacancies: Casual lookers / nothing serious.

Volvo: Still being assessed. As of now, the thought is a blown "manguera de turbo"... hose from the turbo to the engine... makes some sense since the resulting sound was a "boom followed by a 'pffffff'; will have to wait to confirm.

INS suit: I am told the decision will be delivered on or by July 30... another couple weeks... if my suite is dismissed, that is the end of the road... why it would be I don't know since it is the same as a number of others which have been found valid... If found valid and I am awarded what is claimed... legals, principle, and interest... it won't mean much since INS has appealed to the SALA 1 to have all cases annulled... why??? who knows...

Sick and Crippled: Yep... air conditioning at the beach got me... down and out for a week with a cold... and while pampering myself in the hammock, I twisted my back... even in CR / even in a hammock, life can be complicated... but I recovered in time to host the usual group of hungry / thirsty / mostly tolerant (food wise) Sunday social group...

A couple weeks ago we were advised that unit 110 had no electricity... mmmmm... 111 and 109 and all other units had electricity. Well, check to see if the main breaker had tripped.. no... checked to see if CNFL had cut their power... no/ call CNFL to see if their meter had failed... no... checked to see if there were any intervening breakers that had tripped... no; mmmmmm ponder, scratch, repeat the before sequence... nope, nothing... aaaahhhh look over the fence and see a wire laying on the ground... on further examination, this is what happened... the neighbor's old block wall had collapsed / a back hoe had cleaned up the mess along with removing debris... the lot is being developed... it seems our electrical supply line had gotten attached to the neighbor's wall... none of our other services were attached but that one was at that point... we fixed it... there is always something...

New Development: to the south of us, is the only remaining vacant lot. It has been vacant and for sale since I bought here 20 years ago. It is now being developed into lots which will be sold for individuals...a community club house and pool will be developed. This will provide some additional protection to our only exposed side. We see it as a plus ...but it adds more traffic on the now well over used only access street...

Morovia "La Trinidad" Foreclosure: I am trying to sell it before closing on it... I have had talks but nothing substantial... will keep plugging away at it... Not what I want to do but it comes with the territory. Just want to develop a quit exit plan... there is no future in it for me... but for someone, yes, I can make it attractive... at my expense... but that is life .

News Items of the Week


1. A Study in Total Mismanagement: See if you can count the obvious errors on two hands... this is typical of infrastructure projects in CR:

2. Count the Savings: When the government needed money to pay for the multi million non recorded interest payments that was carried over from the previous government, they borrowed from sources within CR... these sources really stuck it to the government and charged them big interest rates. Now the government has gotten the permission to refinance via Eurobonds... there is still some issues regarding this…the legislature is concerned about giving the government carte blanch to borrow all they want at once…instead the legislature wants to approve $1.5 billion vs. the full $8 billion requested. They do not believe the government when it says, we will cut our expenses... the legislature says, here, take the $1.5 bil. And show us the cuts... then we may approve the next tranche. This would be the result... on the cost side.

MOPT mismanagement in ¢ 17,000 million via 27 km between Chilamate and Vuelta de Kooper

Comptroller opens investigation to find responsible and orders the MOPT not to start more works without having ready expropriations and designs

The poor management of the MOPT influenced the construction of the 27-kilometer highway between Bajos de Chilamate, in Sarapiquí, and Vuelta de Kooper, in San Carlos, to end up costing ¢ 17,000 million more than budgeted.

A report from the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR) reveals that the project had an initial cost of ¢ 25,318 million and an execution period of two years.

However, a series of deficiencies attributed to the mismanagement of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), caused it to rise to ¢ 42,363 million and take a total of four years and eight months.

The plans to build the road were born in 1973, but its construction began until 2013 and its inauguration took place in August 2017 when the then president Luis Guillermo Solís cut the ribbon.

This road meant a radical change not only for the country's exports, but a saving in the travel time of the drivers, who went from traveling 87 kilometers to only 27 between the start and end points, because they avoid going through Aguas Zarcas , Venice (San Carlos), Río Cuarto, San Miguel and La Virgen (Sarapiquí).

As it appears from the audit, of the four years and eight months that the construction took, one year and 10 months more were due to delays attributable to the Administration.

These delays arose, among other things, by starting construction with outdated designs, which implied additional works and new permits.

In addition, the construction company Sánchez Carvajal received the start order without the expropriations, tree felling and environmental permits having been completed, which in turn generated the need to grant additional days to both the construction company and the supervising company, thus causing higher costs.

The Office of the Comptroller General also determined that the MOPT recognized extra deadlines for the company due to bad weather conditions without having enough evidence to prove that situation.

In another of its findings, the comptroller said that this ministry decreased resources in some of the lines of payment, which put at risk the completion of the project. This, because indispensable works were de-funded, for which it was then necessary to obtain more resources, without the certainty that they would be able to access additional sources of financing.

"The MOPT resorted to these mechanisms for not having an adequate planning and project management system that would allow it to manage this project in an orderly and efficient way from its conception until its implementation.

"The management problems originated from the fact of starting the project with the outdated design, and increased by the delays that occurred in the procedures of expropriations and environmental permits, which forced to make changes to the project and extensions of work on the fly, which induced a large number of variations between the different payment lines, "the report indicates.

The Office of the Comptroller General also confirmed that it is currently investigating alleged irregularities and establishing responsibilities.

The road presented significant floods in the two days after its inauguration, as even vehicles that were passing through the site were trapped. These problems were attributed to the obstruction of a channel of a pineapple farm.

Bad habits

In detail, the report explains that the contractor, and consequently also the supervisor, was granted 646 days for compensable events and 321 days for bad weather conditions.

According to the Comptroller's Office, between the date when the designs were finalized and the start of construction, five years passed, during which the project was not updated.

In spite of that, the order to start with obsolete designs was given, which caused that the variations that could have occurred in the project environment during that time were not taken into account. For example, works for road safety were not contemplated, which were evident at the beginning of the project.

These works, which included intersections, overpasses, marginal roads and access to farms, implied an increase over a period of 255 days.

In addition, the MOPT was delayed in obtaining environmental permits, which meant the recognition of another 122 days.

According to the Office of the Comptroller, on this point, the Administration argued that the project was turned into an order "assuming that the permits for cutting trees and riverbed works would be obtained in a timely manner", as they had requested them since July 2012.

Meanwhile, the delay due to the lack of expropriations meant that the company Sánchez Carvajal was granted an additional 59 days.

The company also filed claims to be recognized for damages due to administrative cost overruns, due to the additional days the project lasted, claiming that they were not included in its offer. That represented an extra payment of ¢ 1,831 million.

For the supervisory firm, when the original contracted term was passed from 27 to 58 months, the cost went up from ¢ 1,688 million to ¢ 3,630 million.

In the case of compensations for climatic conditions, the CGR established that although 33% of the days recognized were attributed to the climatic factor, there was no evidence to guarantee that condition.

Disorder in payments

"During the execution of this project, the Administration used the practice of increasing the work quantities of some payment lines, and even creating new lines, by means of the de-financing of other items necessary for the adequate fulfillment of the contractual object, which it carried out through the so-called Modification Orders (OMs) of 'Adjustment or Variation of Quantities' ", details the report in one of its statements when describing the results.

Those orders implied changes in the payment lines and several increases in the amounts. Thus, for example, one of the most important was for ¢ 10,687 million, which meant an increase of 42.2% to the contract and an additional term of 225 days.

Another situation that was found in the processing of these modification orders was that in some of them, payment lines were created to cover new needs of the project that appeared during the process. These were also financed by removing resources from other payment lines that had not yet been executed.

"One of the consequences of using these mechanisms to carry out modifications to the project by the MOPT is exposure to the risk of not being able to complete the project satisfactorily, given that the payment lines associated with essential works are de-funded for the correct completion of the project, without having assured the attainment of more resources for the restitution of those funds ".

This was materialized in the supervision contract, since the closing phase was left without financing, for transferring the funds to the execution phase, in the end the supervising company did not elaborate the termination of the contract.

Way more expensive than expected

The 27-kilometer stretch lasted 4.8 years and cost ¢ 42,000 million


Works without pre-engineering do not go

Among its provisions, the Comptroller General was adamant in reminding the MOPT that for future projects the start order should not be given without completing all the necessary prior processes.

For this, he ordered the ministry's hierarch to issue binding regulations to all the executing agencies of projects, as well as to his councils, that prior to startup there are updated designs, as well as permits, expropriations and relocation of services, in concordance with the work program proposed.

They also ordered him to regulate the rules used to make adjustments and modifications in payments and that expressly states that you can not de-finance lines of payment to increase or create others.

Regarding the project in question, the Office of the Comptroller General also requested to review the payments that were made for price adjustments to determine whether they complied with the regulations. In case this has not been the case, the Administration must recover the money spent for more.

The same would apply to additional days canceled due to unsustainable weather conditions.

The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Rodolfo Méndez Mata, said that what the Comptroller ordered is in line with the discourse that they have been promoting in the current administration. "First the technical and then the policy, we have already talked about the need for pre-engineering before any work begins."

In addition, he assured that decisions had already been made with respect to the improvements of regulations in relation to the lines of payments and compensable events.

"It is not possible that if it rains, but the contractor is not working, how will he be entitled to a rainy day? That can not be, "he said.

2. Hacienda will save $18 million a year by issuing Eurobonds

According to INS Valores, the issue of Eurobonds would save the Treasury about $18 million each year, and about $396 million due to the difference in local rates versus international rates.

As an assumption, we use two terms that are relevant and attractive for international investors, 10 and 30 years. If the bonds were sold in the international market considering the current yields of sovereign debt bonds with a risk rating similar to Costa Rica and the current yield of the US treasury bonds, for the Treasury the savings at maturity with respect to domestic yields would be around the $396 million,” said Gabriela Fletes, Director of Markets at INS Valores.

Currently, there is a differential greater than 120 basis points between local yields and external debt.

Among the benefits of the placement of Eurobonds for the country, is the visibility and access to investors and international markets, the possibility of financing at lower interest rates and longer terms compared to what the local market offers, says a report by the entity.

In addition, it would be possible to favor the conditions of the financing according to the conjuncture of international rates and thus reduce the pressure on the interest rates of the internal debt, taking into account that there would be less competition for the resources, in that this capture would be made in the international market.

The legislators approved in the first reading an issue for $1.5 billion, but there is still a second approval so that the government can ask for that debt abroad.


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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