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Monthly Archives: July 2010

SCOUNDRELS IN PARADISE

Ex-PA resident, a fugitive, indicted for fraud

Observers wonder over the fate of SiSiSi Restaurant here

Posted 7/30/10 by Juanito with Houston Chronicle excerpts

The future of the Si Si Si Restaurant in Puerto Aventuras has become hazy with the recent arrest of former PA resident and alleged con-man Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow, 67, on a federal fugitive from Justice warrant from Texas.But The Pelican has received uncorroborated word that another officer in the SiSiSi organization with Ballow claims the organization is solvent and that it will continue to operate the restaurant and protect investors.

Ballow was captured by the FBI and Federal Mexico Police in Puerto Vallarta where he had been living in a posh hotel after disappearing from Puerto Aventuras last July (2009) just after taking $5 million from a Texas investor.His E-Sol company owned the SiSiSi Restaurant through another corporate logo, ICCC, on the dolphin boardwalk here.The story is of interest to the Puerto Aventuras community because two subsidiary companies under the E-SOL corporate umbrella, “I.C.C.C.” and “SiSiSi”, had begun operating here in 2009.Numerous PA property owners, who already had their properties listed for sale, were approached by this company with offers to purchase, but were suspicious of proposals that included a “part cash-part stock” offer. (Perhaps, living in a marina community, experienced residents can scent when something is fishy.)

Using several aliases, Ballow is accused of selling “millions of shares” of E-SOL stock to unsuspecting investors and also taking money from people who thought they were buying land in a resort development.The scheme also included converting many newly acquired properties into “time shares”. The company told locals that SiSiSi restaurant, evidently used as a lure, was built as a “private restaurant” for those who bought into the vacation club concept, but the restaurant would allow public access until such time that member attendance would no longer allow for it.

Ballow became a fugitive after pleading guilty in federal court to money laundering and jumping bond in 2004 to flee from the U.S. He surfaced in Puerto Aventuras in 2008.He is accused in new U.S. indictments of hiding his questionable past and using aliases in taking control of publicly traded U.S. corporations, including E-Sol International that, through subsidiary ICCC,opened the PA restaurant that the corporation web site called its “flagship restaurant…in the beautiful seaside resort community of Puerto Aventuras.” The web site has suddenly closed.

While in Puerto Aventuras, Ballow lived in an expensive waterfront house, the latest indictment claims. Some current residents recall seeing him lounging on the SiSiSi veranda. Ballow was awaiting extradition to the U.S. when this story was written. If convicted, Ballow could face as many as 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Aventurans may want to consider this another timely reminder that a fool and his money are soon parted.

BULLETIN:

A picture is worth a thousand words

The e-mail adresses of a volunteer at the library was evidently hacked and used to send mail to her friends that she had been mugged while on a visit to the UK and was not allowed to leave her hotel to catch her plane until the bill was paid. The letter did not directly ask for money but left that inference. It was later learned it was a hoax.

Ex-Cancun mayors, Q. Roo governor candidate face drug allegations

Posted 7/30/10 by Pelican Paulie

 

On another front concerning allegations of wrongdoing, a former mayor of Cancun and a would-be candidate for governor of the state of Quintana Roo are facing accusations of complicity with drug cartels, the Mexican and U.S. press has reported.Gregorio “Greg” Sanchez, a former gospel singer, Cancún mayor and gubernatorial candidate was barred from the July 4 Q. Roo state election following accusations of associating with a drug cartel.The state electoral institute (Ieqroo) disqualified Sánchez after a previous Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) decision was announced to remove his name from the voters’ list after being charged with drug activity, money laundering and organized crime offences and jailed in Nayarit state.

Another ex-Cancun mayor, Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, former mayor and governor, was extradited to New York early in May to face trial on allegations of pocketing millions of bribe dollars for helping a drug cartel move more than 200 tons of cocaine across the border, said federal officials as reported in the Los Angeles Times.He is also charged with laundering millions of dollars through the now-bankrupt Lehman Bros. investment firm whose actions figured in the recent financial crisis in the U.S.

Candidates charged with crimes in Mexico lose their political rights, which include the right to vote and to run for public office. The Sánchez campaign said it will appeal the decision, while the Ieqroo gave the members of the coalition he headed – the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), Labour Party (PT) and Convergence party – five days to choose a new candidate. Partisans say the accusations against Sanchez were politically motivated by the opposition to prevent his running for office.

In the July 4 Q. Roo election the prevailing PRI party, in power nationally for some seven decades, was again victorious.

BRIEFLY SAID

THE PUB PASSING? We hear talk from the Waco Kid that The Pub, one of PA’s popular spots for libations and chatter, is up for sale and if it isn’t sold by August 15, it will close – at least temporarily. Waco says the new dolphin building we mentioned in our previous edition is largelycompleted and it “looks really great.” Remodeling is continuing at the soon-to-be Oxxo convenience store that is supposedly replacing the defunct Akumalian in centro commercial.

A CASH CRUNCH from declining tourism has postponed plans to redo lighting on the dolphin island destroyed by the 2005 hurricane. Some locals are lamenting the decision…The vegetable stand has closed as business has decreased in the summer season but intentions are to re-open in the fall when the snowbirds return…Richard’s Restaurant has been purchased by a Canadian and is currently being remodeled…Land is being cleared across the highway near the Pueblo road and nobody is saying why at the moment, albeit there is an unconfirmed hearsay rumor another main entrance into the resort may be in the making. The Pelican Press will continue to pursue these stories. Anyone with solid information about these items is encrouraged to submit a comment.

DENGUE FEVER hit the Florida Keys this year for the first time since 1934 but it is hardly an epidemic according to federal and Florida health officials. Locally, torrential early rains in the Caribbean has made the environment ripe for mosquito breeding, one result of which is a dengue epidemic in the islands and parts of the Yucatan mainland. Here’s from our friend in teh U.S. consular office, Playa Del Carmen:

“Local news reports show dengue and hemorrhagic dengue cases are on the rise in the states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes. To reduce the risk of contracting dengue, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing clothing that exposes as little skin as possible and applying a repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 as the active ingredient. Additional precautions include:

· Installation of screens on all entrances to your living quarters and ensuring there are no areas near your home of stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed.

· Keep the interior and exterior of your house clear of places and things where mosquitos may procreate (i.e. clean water fountains, ponds, empty buckets, trash cans, containers, etc)

· Keep your lawn trimmed and pruned. Trim weeds and dispose of your organic trash frequently. Check your patio/terraces for standing water and material that may attract mosquito presence.

· Dispose or tip over all containers that may hold water. Wash plant pots and wash your pet’s water dish.

· Check if the water tank (tinaco) on your roof is properly covered. Inspect for holes or damage in your window screens, sliding doors screens, etc.

· Consider outdoor fumigation services to control mosquito population in the exterior areas of your home.

Dengue causes fever, headaches, body aches and a rash from mild to severe depending on the individual. Take precautions not to hob nob with suspicious looking mosquitoes.

LOOKING FOR A JOB? – The U.S. Consular office has three vacancies: Consular Agent in Cancun, Special Consular Services Assistant in Playa del Carmen and Telephone Operator/Travel Clerk in Merida.  For information about denguee and these vacancies and how to apply, please visit the consul website at http://www.cdc.gov/dengue. ”http://merida.usconsulate.gov/jobvacancies2.html.

BRIEFLY SAID

Posted 7/01/10 by WacoKid

JUST A BREEZE – Those of you who weren’t in PA to catch the season’s first tropical storm didn’t miss any action. From a local vantage point, it wasn’t much of a storm at all, just strong winds and rain. A few tree limbs were blown down and some small signs were turned over, but nothing major. I did go to Playa last week and I can report that they have been blacktopping some portion of the new elevated highway. The highway, we are told, is in line for completion in the fall, allowing us to reconfigure our ETA’s. Should be quicker now.

Posted 7/01/10 by Linda

TURNING THE PAGE – The library begins summer hours July 7 and will be open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We have literally hundreds of new books in fiction and non-fiction categories, in English and Spanish. We have screenplays, scripts of plays, and many books of classic plays, thanks to a contribution from one of our long-time patrons. If you’re spending the summer in Puerto Aventuras, stop by some Wednesday to see what we have to offer for your summer entertainment. As always, we have many interesting books for sale in the library at 10 pesos per book. Some are new hardcovers that sold for over $25 a few months ago. Membership for life still costs only 100 pesos.We are always looking for donations to help us with supply and carpentry costs. Donations in any amount are very much appreciated and go 100% to the library. Donations may be made in person, or contact gosslindl@yahoo.com for information on sending donations by mail.

Posted 7/02/10 by Staff

THE MEXCONOMY is outpacing the U.S. and Europe, as are the conomies in Brazil and a few other Latin American countries. Those of us living in two worlds – Mexico and elsewhere – can be happy for our friends and neighbors under the Mayan sun as the Mexican government reports economic growth of 4.3 percent in the first quarter and says it could reach 5 percent this year, better perhaps than the U.S. economy. Of course, this particular rebound in economic growth is tempered by a serious contraction last year and, in a sense, is smaking up for lost time. So, MBA Martin from Harvard, what’s your comparative view? How will this impact our community?

Happy Fourth of July to our American neighbors.

Pelican Free Press Newsletter

For emergency phone numbers, church services, “resident” and “gate” card forms and processes; rules for golf carts and motorcycles, pets, construction by-laws, recycling schedule and other pertinent community information and services, please click on the Puerto Aventuras Colonos icon below. Thank you

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