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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Condo unit owners denounce irregularities in handling of evictions after 2020 quake

The Ponciana condominium in Ponce

By The Star Staff

The owners of housing units at condominiums Ponciana, Torre de Oro and Torres de Aragón in Ponce, whose homes were damaged by the Jan. 7, 2020 earthquake, accused their respective boards of directors of having complicated the economic state of 150 families (tenants) and merchants.

“I have to say that unfortunately our eviction was illegal, for which we are now paying the consequences,” Ivette González Cuascut said. “We are very upset because this week there was an earthquake in Puerto Rico and it came to mind that I have a property in Estancias de Aragón that I cannot use, but month after month the bank demands the mortgage payment from me. This situation has all owners paying rent on rented homes, with the complication that we have to continue paying for a property that we are not allowed to use. We call on any agency, especially the Department of Justice, to take action on the matter since our credit and peace of mind are being harmed.”

A tenant of the Ponciana Condominium, Margarita Márquez, questioned the laxity of the insurance companies and the erratic behavior with the owners of the properties affected by the earthquake, understanding that they have made common cause with the boards of directors of the condominiums, thus blocking the participation of those affected in the negotiation meetings.

Another Ponciana Condominium tenant, Juan Howe Hernández, said “there is no doubt that there are serious problems in the behavior of some members of the board of directors of these condominiums.”

“We have evidence with photocopies of checks and documents that reflect illegal disbursements by these people who should be custodians of our interests,” he said. “There is black and white information that confirms the actions taken by some members of the boards of directors that are not consistent with the laws and regulations that govern the administration of condominiums in Puerto Rico. It has been the case that apartments are being transferred to members of the boards without a resolution to re-sign their owners.”

“Furthermore, there is a copy of a check that makes clear money disbursed for personal medical expenses of a board member, which is totally illegal, abusive, making clear an act of corruption punishable by law,” Howe Hernández continued. “We have appeared before the country’s press to denounce the abuses to which we are being subjected; on the one hand, the banks are suing us for the collection of the mortgages, on the other hand, we are not even allowed to ask the status of the claims or the use of money that has already been received which has been used for matters unrelated to the restoration of the condominiums and their apartments. There is no doubt that there is clear, compelling evidence that proves the misuse of the power conferred by being a member of a board of directors of these condominiums. We warn that nothing is going to stop us; we are going to expose anyone who is doing wrong, remembering that no one goes unpunished for the misuse of funds that belong to the owners and not to the members of a board.”

Howe Hernández added that he hopes that the Ponce Prosecutor’s Office and the commonwealth police, who have received various complaints against members of the aforementioned condominiums’ boards and administrations, will act on the complaints in the coming weeks.

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