Expat property owners complain about Campeche real estate developer
On Friday February 17th, Mrs. Jane Erway from Connecticut USA sent an email to The Yucatan Times, complaining about the situation with Playas Palmeras real estate development in Campeche, where she bought property 10 years ago.
This is what Mrs. Erway told The Yucatan Times editor (verbatim):
Hello my name is Jane Erway and I am contacting The Yucatan Times to expose the crooked dealings of Playas Palmeras in Campeche, Mexico; operated by Peter Scott, who is married to a prominent lawyer’s daughter in Campeche.
I believe his office is combined with this lawyer at Calle Bravo 5 (entre 10 y 12), San Roman. They have stolen millions of dollars from many people and never fullfilled our contracts. They have been living off the money they have stolen from us. They refuse to respond to our demands to provide electricity, water and waste disposal.
We cannot use our houses or even build because of this. There would be many jobs open for the people of Champotón if they would complete this project.
My house is unfit to live in as it is. It has been robbed of everythiing twice, stove, lights, sinks, electric
outlets, fans, doors broken, etc.
So we as a group of owners are trying to find a way to get some help. We know a court battle would be useless going on for many years and expensive.
However, we know that they are well known in Campeche as crooks and we would like to expose them in the media so the people of Campeche know what kind of people they are.
It is sad that they can cheat, steal and live off the money of people who used all their savings to buy property, and hoped to retire there and have nothing while they have lived off our money.
Those Brits have given the entire area a bad name and most people do not realize it is not the Mexican people but those foreigners who are doing this.
Whatever comes of this, I thank you with my whole heart for listening and believing in us.
Lebanon Ct. USA
After receiving Ms. Erway’s complaints, the Yucatan Times requested that any other property owners with similar claims submit them. Each of the emails below is reprinted verbatim.
On Tuesday February 20th, Mr. Steven St Germain sent the following email to The Yucatan Times:
We too were scammed by Peter Scott, and Steve Barker (managing partner at the time). We went there to purchase some lots to build. We were showed plans for a complete infrastructure including sewer systems and commercial power for the homes. We were waiting to build for the infrastructure to be completed. They took off with the cash. They actually took our lots and sold them to someone else saying “we didn’t think you wanted them any more” but we can give you 2 different lots.
There have been homes built that have been broken into by the employees and security guards at that place. Employees have been living in the homes and get very angry when you show up unannounced. They like to clear up their trail before you arrive.
Commercial power was never put in. Just a generator. Now if you don’t pay their monthly security and maintenance fee they shut you off. None of this was ever disclosed when we purchased the property. I’m glad we decided not to build there.
Steven St Germain
On Tuesday February 21st, Mr. Jeff Carpenter sent the following email to The Yucatan Times:
Jane Erway is correct about what has been going on with this so-called developer (Peter Scott & Alan) over the years.
We have owned two lots for 13 years and were promised the first year that the appropriate infrastructure would be put in place (electric, water, sewer) and that has never happened.
Most of the other owners are afraid of putting additional dollars into project for a variety of reasons none of which the developer will discuss.
I have not been able to get Peter Scott to respond to any calls or emails for years. Perhaps the developers counsel in Merida could provide some insight? Maybe the original sales contact for the developer could provide some information-Steve Barker.
It’s a real shame as this development could really put this section of Mexico on the map and provide good jobs to many of the locals. All the owners are just trying to figure out what they should do next.
Houston, TX USA
On Tuesday February 21st, Mr. Edward Brandt sent the following email to The Yucatan Times:
My wife and I purchased two lots in Playas Palmeras in 2007. We purchased the lots on the word of the developer that electricity and water would be coming to development within the year. Here it is in 2017 and absolutely nothing has changed. In the contract, it was mentioned that utility services would be provided and that has never happened.
In the meantime, we continue to pay property taxes for property that really has no value without utilities. We are also required to maintain our corporation for the property and all of this over the years has accumulated to a great expense.
Emails and contact with the developer have stopped long ago and have long gone unanswered. The last contact was in 2014 when we were told by the developer that main power was finally going to happen (in 2014!), but guess what? Nothing happened.
We live in Texas and have dreamt of retiring and building in Playas Palmeras. We have come to the conclusion that this will never happen due to the lack of utilities and that our very expensive investment was nothing but a waste of our time and money.
Thanks for your time.
After receiving these emails, we responded by saying that The Yucatan Times never posts this kind of controversial content involving two parties, unless we have investigated and listened to both sides of the story.
Here are Playas Palmeras SA de CV’s answers to the slanderous comments made by Mrs Jane Erway.
Neither Playas Palmeras SA de CV or myself have stolen one dollar from anyone.
Playas Palmeras sold titled land to Mexicans, or foreigners through Bank trusts or Corporations according to Mexican Law. Playas Palmeras SA de CV does not build homes and has not built one house on the project. Each land owner signed a building contract either directly with the local contractor or with Playa Blanca a Mexican corporation run by two previous directors of Playas Palmeras. The problems each home owner faced with their homes has no relevance to us here at Playas Palmeras, and when they had problems we stepped in at no charge and helped find solutions to their construction problems.
In regard to the infrastructure that is missing. In 2003 when we began this project we were assured in a meeting with the then current Governor of Campeche that they would put in the mains power on the understanding that we invest in Campeche, using people from Campeche when possible and that we use Campechano builders and materials, which we continue to do to this day. Unfortunately the mains power was never installed. We have now lobbied the same demand to two further governors to no avail. We have done costings and paid the CFE $50,000 USD to make a transformer available to Playas Palmeras at the entrance to Sabancuy on the highway 180, which is still available to us.
Playas Palmeras also purchased three new generators, a 65 kva, a 125 kva and a 300 kva to cover the growing demand we hoped would come with the future construction of the beach homes. We laid underground cable to cover the whole of the first phase of the project which is 5km. We also laid a 4’ water line for the fresh water supplied by our desalination plant, to the furthest house that was built at that time. All of this cost the company several hundred thousand dollars. When Mrs Erway took possession of her home she had water, electric and garbage collection. We produced these services.
Yes, we have had problems with security on the site. Please understand we have 5km of lineal property to watch, and no street lighting available (due to no electric). We started to charge the clients for security, but once the clients stopped paying regularly, we could not keep up with the company that was providing the security service, and had to start using local help. There is only so much these locals can do regarding security, as they cannot carry weapons. What is strange is that Mrs Erway, never put a wall round her property or bars on her home which is standard practice here in Mexico. Her home is on the side of the highway, without any security. We also have other owners who are understanding of the situation, and who continue to use their homes for themselves or for renters.
Due to to collapse in the property market in 2008 in the USD which caused many real estate companies in the US and Mexico to close, we also suffered the consequences due to a lack of land sales. We have not really recovered. But we are still here in Campeche, We have an office still working and we continue to look for a solution, to the lack of services.
I would hope that the owners would appreciate that Playas Palmeras SA de CV, and myself have invested to date many millions of dollars without any dividend payment to ourselves to date. We will not stop until a solution is found albeit from paying for it ourselves through a large land sale or with the government putting it in to promote investment in the area.
We would like to make it clear that we understand our clients concerns and complaints, we feel them too. But we have broken no contractual obligations and never stolen any money. Hopefully we can work closer together with the current owners, to find a solution. We are currently looking for new investors or developers, so that we can install the mains power and other services, which of course, is really the states responsibility.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to her letter and I sincerely hope that as a group we can resolve these issues. But we take her accusations very seriously and our legal council is looking into our options should she continue will these slanderous comments in any public forum or through the media.
Managing Director of Playas Palmeras SA de CV
Disclaimer: The claims contained in the emails published above reflect the writers’ views and opinions and not necessarily those of The Yucatan Times.