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Jun 19, 2014

Land dispute in San Pedro – $6 Million project by Tropic Air comes to an abrupt stop

A six million dollar project on the island of San Pedro has come to a complete stop, and Minister of Natural Resources Gaspar Vega says the reason is human error in the Lands Department. Tropic Air has a valid lease to a piece of property just off the municipal airstrip. The site is allocated for the construction of a high-tech maintenance facility, and construction started in December 2013. But another company, Construction Depot Limited, from the Benny’s Group of Companies, also has a claim on a significant portion of that same property. They received title in April 2014, months after construction on the property got underway. It’s a mess, and it’s happened before, many times. That is absolutely no consolation to executives of Tropic Air, whose project was stopped by court order after they’d already pumped two million dollars into it. Mike Rudon was in San Pedro this morning and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

What you’re looking at here is a six million dollar project in process. It’s designed as a maintenance facility which can service five planes at a time, with space for a parts depot, training rooms, and office space. At least that was the plan. But none of that’s certain at this point because a portion of this land, the piece seen here marked with yellow tape, is apparently the property of a company called Construction Depot Limited. Tropic Air has a lease for this entire section, issued in 2008. In April 2014, however, Construction Depot got a title for this parcel within the area held by lease.

 

Steven Schulte

Steven Schulte, C.E.O., Tropic Air

“Our lease was straightforward and clear until April of this year, 2014. We began the construction in December, ordering supplies. We started delivering them in January. We were aware that the lot next to us was owned by Construction Depot Limited and we were informed in February that Construction Depot Ltd…Brett and Sean Feinstein I believe are the owners…had claims upon our land here.”

 

Schulte says they met with Minister of Lands Gaspar Vega in March. It was arranged that the boundary between the land owned by Construction Depot Limited and Tropic Air would be adjusted, and that would be the end of that.

 

Steven Schulte

“He said that a mistake had been made in the Lands Department and he asked that we adjust the boundary a few feet from our lease which we understood would be maybe five feet. Actually what it did was change the angle of the boundary. We agreed to that and at that point we thought that was what was required by Construction Depot to resolve the matter. About two weeks later my partner Johnny Greif received a phone call from Mr. Vallejos saying that the matter had been resolved.”

 

But it wasn’t. Last week, fully six months into construction, Construction Depot took Tropic air to court.

 

Steven Schulte

“We were notified a week ago Thursday that Construction Depot had filed an action against us in court. So we therefore responded by filing an action against government to enforce our lease on Friday. But the matter was brought up suddenly. I think it was Friday afternoon that our lawyer called us and said that we would be served and at four fifteen we were served with a notice that court was Monday at ten o’clock.”

 

They asked for more time to gather their documents and got another week. But in the meantime they have had to stop construction on the portion of the land which is under dispute.

 

Steven Schulte

“I would guess that we’re close to two million in the project of planning, architectural fees, engineering, drawings, construction that you see here. And I don’t really know how much of it is viable because the main entrance to the building and the portion that opens on the street would be cut off. So you would essentially have only…we’d lose two full maintenance facilities and all the associated rooms, all the offices…pretty hard to say. I would guess that the company would be a couple million dollars into this by the time we counted up all the losses and the contract fees and so forth. And then of course who can put a value on the jobs.”

 

According to Schulte, the project which is absolutely necessary for the expansion of Tropic Air isn’t viable if they lose in court.

 

Steven Schulte

“It’s a terrible loss. It’s inexplicable and not understandable to me. I think we’ve done everything that we can to try to work this out.”

 

The case is scheduled for June twenty-fifth. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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4 Responses for “Land dispute in San Pedro – $6 Million project by Tropic Air comes to an abrupt stop”

  1. Louisville, Ky. says:

    ‘When the elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled’.
    What will happen is that this matter will be settled with money changing hands. Feinstein will be compensated handsomely for this blunder by the Government with tax payers money and this problem will disappear as if it never even existed.
    How I know is because Iv’e been in this same theater and Iv’e seen this movie before.

  2. Ali BaBarrow is going done says:

    Corruption and incompetence, UDP family values, in the blood.

  3. Rod says:

    Sue the living shit out of this stupid gov. They are so corrupt they can’t get anything right the two companies sue this gov. For 50 million each and call it a day let them pay for their stupid mistake just like the pm sued saldivar he didn’t think twice sue this stupid gov for ignorance and stupidity.

  4. curious says:

    SUE THE RASCALS THEM. THIS IS JUST GETTING OUT OF HAND. THIS IS SO LOOKING LIKE AMATEURS RUNNING THE COUNTRY, BUT IT’S NOT, IT’S CROOKS RUNNING THE COUNTRY.

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