SPECIAL SUNDAY EDITION
March 8, 2009
Tidal wave of press washes away Chicas and Bourgeois internet dealings. Pat Chicas lives in Las Vegas and 'Seve' Steve Bourgeios, lives in San Diego. They still have YOUR money? Were they paid in excess of $250 K to Scam You?
We'll be posting their scammer address so you can get your money back
TWO MESSAGES OUT OF ONE MOUTH, THEN & NOW
"March 15, 2009 — In October 2006, at the recently completed on-site model and sales office, the Trump Ocean Resort in Baja California was unveiled with great fanfare to the region's business elite. This is the opportunity, they were told, to invest in a project that surely would become the most valued property on Baja's north coast. This may be the only opportunity for locals to buy before sales on the three-tower, 526-unit luxury condo-hotel opened to the rest of the world was the sales pitch.
Baja Californians bought into the vision. Many plucked down the reservation deposit of $5,000 that night providing them with first opportunity to enter into the purchase agreement once the sales contracts were readied.
They were invited to attend the first grand sales day scheduled at the (Manchester) Grand Hyatt Regency San Diego to sign the purchase contract and deposit the 30 percent balance of the sales price.
Baja Californians, as many from the United States followed, fell under the Trump spell. If The Donald were involved, the project could not fail. But failed it has, and investors have lost their down payments to the tune of more than $32 million.
As the news of Trump's Baja project demise circulated, there were the usual news quotes suggesting that buying real estate in Mexico was “caveat emptor” – buyer beware – suggesting U.S. laws would have prevented such an occurrence. The fact is, these types of failures happen all over the world, including the United States, as recent times have amply demonstrated. But in this particular case, it seems that the California Department of Real Estate may need to look into the sales practices used within its own jurisdiction.
While the state of California has no jurisdiction over out-of-country developments, it does have regulations on the promotion and real estate sales activities within its borders regardless of where the property is located. The Trump project was extensively promoted in California, and sales closed in San Diego.
For starters, promotional materials, including Internet advertising, for out-of-country developments must contain a specific language disclaimer mandated by California law. And attorney Anthony Moya, a partner in the San Diego office of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, says potential buyers of such real estate must be provided with a copy of the California disclosure and must sign a “letter of interest.” Moya, who has successfully represented buyers in other developments and is discussing representing a number of Trump's Baja buyers, also notes that any sale of real estate within California must be through licensed real estate brokers/agents.
For the Trump project, escrow instructions were signed, and down payments deposited with a U.S.-based escrow company active in California, again away from Mexico's jurisdiction. So whatever took place with the deposited funds was outside of Mexico, prompting Moya to suggest that California courts may well have jurisdiction over much of what took place.
For a number of years now, Baja California has gone to great lengths in reforming real estate practices. Legislation is now pending in Baja requiring sales people to undergo studies, take an exam and be licensed in order to sell real estate. U.S. title insurance companies now issue policies, U.S. and Mexican banks provide mortgage financing. They are also working on putting a stop to what is dubbed, ATM escrows (buyers deposit, developer withdraws, as the apparent case of the Trump project). Most recently, the San Diego Association of Realtors signed a historic agreement of cooperation, code of ethics and educational exchanges with Baja's equivalent to the Realtors association.
Compare Baja's progress to an Oct. 22, 2006, San Diego Union-Tribune article. Staff writers wrote that on a telephone interview with Trump, he said, “... [T]he Trump Organization will be a “significant” equity investor in the $200 million project... ” And in 2007, Ivanka Trump told The Associated Press that her father was “the boss” and “involved in every capacity.”
But in December 2008, buyers received a letter from the Trump organization saying that Trump was not an investor; that all the deposits were used. And January's letter to buyers announced Trump had removed his name from the project.
In the case of the Trump Baja project, caveat emptor is something that Baja California buyers should have been aware."
"Trump Trumps in Baja
Condo hotel project is getting worldwide attention
Donald Trump's announcement of the 17-acre land purchase and groundbreaking of Trump Ocean Resort Baja, the first branded condo hotel on the northern edge of Playas de Rosarito in northern Baja California, was like a shot heard around the world.
The announcement, picked up by the industrialized nation's news media, quickly ran from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the Far East to Spain, Germany, France, England, Italy and other European countries as well as throughout the NAFTA partner nations, the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Within hours after the announcement, phone calls began arriving at the headquarters of S & P Destination Properties, the Canada-based marketing company contracted by the partnership between the Trump Organization and Irongate real estate developers based in Los Angeles. The first were from business reporters. After their stories hit the street and evening radio and television news, the calls were from potential buyers from a plethora of countries.
The news was received with great fanfare by coastal developers from Tijuana to Ensenada. Their reaction was not fear that such potent competition was going to take over the market. Rather, the feeling was that the high-profile presence and publicity of Trump in Baja would translate into world acceptance of the Baja coastal corridor as a destination for both visitors and investors.
That Trump's condo-hotel resort will undoubtedly be a first choice among the higher end buyer/investor is accepted as reality. However, the Trump project will consist of just three 25-story towers with a combined 526 units, hardly enough on its own to serve the Southern Calfornia market, which with 20 million residents also is one of the world's wealthiest in terms of per capita income.
The presence of Trump in Baja will attract far more buyers than the Trump project can accommodate, creating a demand for all other projects that meet the
buy safe requirements and offer sound construction and amenities that safeguard and increase property values.
The Trump first phase, the middle tower, will have units ranging from one bedroom of 532 square feet to 2,200-square-foot penthouses with prices ranging from $250,000 to more than $1.5 million. The second and third towers probably will be more expensive.
The Trump Ocean Resort Baja promises to be a luxury destination hotel in keeping with the other projects for which Trump has become famous. For Irongate, this is the second project in which it has teamed with Trump. The first, Trump Towers Waikiki, a 38-story, luxury condo hotel resort with 464 rooms and suites, sold out in one day on Nov. 10.
S & P Destination Properties, the same company that sold the units in Trump Towers Waikiki for $700 million, a record, was contracted to lead the marketing effort in Baja. S & P's Brendan Mann, who is handling the Baja marketing effort, says there is a great deal of interest on the project from the Japanese, who were the main buyers of the Waikiki units. There is an expectation their purchasing presence will be significant in the Baja project.
It makes sense. Tijuana International Airport is starting direct flights to Tokyo, and by far the biggest maquiladoras in Tijuana are owned by Japanese or South Koreans. Additionally, there are large contingencies of Japanese executives living in San Diego and working in Japanese-owned businesses. Plus, Korean-Americans and Korean nationals in Los Angeles are already important investors in Baja coastal properties, says Luis Bustamante, president of CreditmexUSA.com. He says sales to Koreans in some projects closest to the U.S. border have been in excess of 20 percent.
Mann says S & P is working with several Baja real estate brokerage firms to provide an opportunity for local citizens to be the first to invest. This became evident at a reception held on the site at Punta Bandera, hosted by S & P and local brokers. Most invitees were local Mexican businesspeople. In discussing the project with a number of them, I came away with the feeling that there was much interest and a number of them would be investing.
Jason Grosfeld, a principal of Irongate, says the project will have direct consequences in San Diego as well as other regional destination centers such as Palm Springs. The Trump towers will have executive convention and conference space competing directly with luxury hotels in San Diego.
Mann feels the Trump Baja towers will have a marketing advantage because the location is ocean front with spectacular views, pricing will be a bargain compared to San Diego luxury hotels and the fact that Trump, with worldwide reservation systems in place, can successfully compete for business.
Trump's presence in Baja opens a new dimension and series of opportunities on both sides of the border, and that is welcome news."
UPDATE: The lawsuits have begun! February 22, 2009
TMZ-"Donald Trump -- drop the chalupa! You're being sued over a Baja condo that bares your name. Larry Harris claims he saw a website advertising the Trump Ocean Resort in Baja, Mexico. Harris says he was led to believe The Donald was "personally involved in the development" -- probably because the website said "Mr. Trump is personally involved in everything that his name represents."
Harris claims in his lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court, he plunked down $64,050 because he thought anything Trump did was a sure thing. In fact, Harris claims the project is stalled and may never be completed. Harris -- who claims Trump was not personally involved -- is suing Trump and others for more than $65,000. BTW, Mr. Harris, last Tuesday Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Not a sure thing."
A so-called 'authority on Baja California' website, operated by Steve Bourgeois of "dp racing" located in San Diego and Pat Chicas of Comm Partners, located in Las Vegas, needs to cough up hundreds of thousands of dollars to damaged Americans.
UPDATE: February 11, 2008:"Trump pulls name out of Baja development
By Sandra Dibble
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. February 11, 2009
A billboard featuring Donald Trump towers over a development site in October 2007. The billboard was still up last week. (Union-Tribune file photo) -
TIJUANA — Fueled by rapidly rising U.S. real estate prices, the Baja California coastline was booming in October 2006 when Donald Trump lent his name to a planned luxury condo-hotel development overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
But as a global credit crisis envelops the real estate market on both sides of the border, the famed New York real estate mogul has severed his ties with the much-touted project known as Trump Ocean Baja Resort.
Planned on a 17-acre site about 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, the project envisioned 526 units that ranged in cost from $300,000 to $2.5 million. The project has yet to break ground.
The developer late last year informed purchasers that it still was looking for loans and that the purchasers' deposits, totaling more than $32 million, had been spent, according to a document obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Experts say the project's financing difficulties reflect the changing real estate climate, a situation that is not unique to Baja California nor to the Trump development. But many purchasers, most of them from the United States, have said that Trump's association with the project had made them feel it would be a secure investment.
“I bought this development for one reason, and one reason only – the Trump name,” said Gregory Starn, 47, a U.S. citizen living in Cancun, Mexico, who in 2006 signed a contract for a studio apartment costing $437,000 – but now wants the developers to return his deposit of more than $80,000.
“I'm afraid that without Trump's name, it's less likely the developer will be able to arrange financing,” said Robert Culbertson, 59, a stockbroker from Orlando, Fla., who put down a 30 percent deposit on a one-bedroom unit.
Trump told the Union-Tribune in a 2006 interview that the Trump organization would be a “significant” equity investor; yet he never put his own money into the project, according to the developer. Rather, Trump, who stars in his own television show, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” allowed the developers to use his name on the project through a license agreement.
That arrangement was terminated last month.
“The developer did not comply with certain terms of the license agreement, including the deadlines to obtain construction financing and begin construction,” Trump's executive assistant, Rhona Graff, said in an e-mail.
A billboard with Trump's photograph still loomed over the site one afternoon last week, abandoned save for a security guard at the entrance. Trump's erstwhile partner in the project, Los Angeles-based Irongate, did not return telephone calls.
The numbers for sales agents, attorneys, public relations firms and the escrow company listed on legal documents either did not work or went into voice mail. The project's Web site was recently removed.
A Mexican company, PB Impulsores, is listed as the developer on legal documents. Jorge Torres, named on one document as the company's representative, said last week in a telephone interview from Mexico City that he was not at liberty to talk about the project.
An e-mail sent out by PB Impulsores to purchasers Jan. 28 said that given Trump's termination of the license and pending litigation, “the developer will provide no further comment concerning the project.”
The purchasers' predicament highlights the common practice of using deposits from pre-construction sales to finance development of many Baja California coastal projects.
“We always recommend that buyers read the documentation,” said Ross Buck, president of a the Rosarito Beach branch of AMPI, a national real estate agents group. “It will clearly state how the funds are to be used, if they are able to be used.”
Under California law, builders must keep deposits in escrow or post bonds to protect the funds, said Chris Neri, assistant commissioner of the California Department of Real Estate. Neri added that “a good percentage of builders hold the money in escrow.”
Baja California law allows deposits to be used to finance projects, but only if a series of conditions are met, said Rafael Gama Pérez, a Tijuana attorney who frequently represents U.S. citizens buying coastal property in Baja California. In cases where a builder is determined to have broken the contract, investors are entitled to the return of their deposit plus interest, he said.
“The issue is whether the defendant has the resources to guarantee repayment,” Gama said.
With the heady Baja boom days over, some experts see an end to such financing arrangements for unbuilt projects.
“The market can now settle down to the real world of brick and mortar, finished properties for people who really want to live there, as opposed to speculators,” said Brian Flock, a longtime real estate agent in the region. “The people that I'm talking to these days have some connection to Baja.”
Gama, the Tijuana attorney, believes there will be room for a range of projects, including luxury developments and retirement communities.
“The opportunities will be there, as will the people to take advantage of them,” he said. And with the days of easy credit now over, “the buyers are going to be more solid.”"
Original Story From November 2, 2008:
Steve Bourgeois and Pat Chicas told everyone to buy at the "Trump Baja Development". They pushed people to buy at the "Trump Ocean Resort". They sold it as a can't-miss opportunity: three 26-story towers on the Pacific Ocean only 30 minutes south of San Diego in Baja California, with condos priced from the mid-$200,000s to more than $1 million. In Baja Norte? Bourgeois and Chicas sucked off of Trump in Mexico. In Baja Norte on their website, they sold people on the risky, high crime rate, drug wars, weak property laws, highly polluted waters and took $ to do it. There's only one thing missing: buildings. There NEVER has been ANY building work! There are only holes in the ground. The developers pushed dirt into big hills, then pushed the dirt into other parts of the project site, no foundation or prep work has ever been accomplished. Any real Baja authorities saw this coming for years. There is only a pile of dirt and holes on the site- no foundation work as claimed. But how can you steal all the money from an "escrow fund" if you really haven't done any work and used the money to pay the sales staff for two years? The developers and promoters claim they have done enough work to gobble up those advance deposits. No word if Ivanka, Trumps daughter, is backing out of her penthouse purchase in the Spa Tower too. Victimized buyers are organizing for filing a class-action lawsuit for breach of contract, and is scheduling meetings with attorneys. Of course its falling through, of course everyone will now get sued. Welcome to Baja Norte Mexico! The folks who Bourgeois and Chicas sold to lay down their deposits, however, are now planning on taking Trump's company and its partner, Irongate, a Los Angeles developer, to court in a breach-of-contract action. They say that they were promised that their building would be completed by last spring. They say they haven't heard from the Trump Organization or Irongate in months. All the victims of Bourgeois and Chicas marketing who put down hefty deposits, now want their money back. The Trump Organization referred questions to Irongate. Irongate won't say whether Trump put money into the project or just licensed his name. In October 2007 Trump was scoffing at the notion that the real estate slowdown could affect him. "Though it may be true that some of Baja's developments could see a slowdown, these market conditions simply do not apply to Trump Ocean Resort," daughter Ivanka Trump wrote in a newsletter sent to investors. A similar situation in Miami Trump Towers, brought lawsuits that say investors and buyers were ripped off, the property was misrepresented as a Trump investment. Same thing through Bourgeois and Chicas advertising on their website. Steve Bourgeois and Pat Chicas, how much money did you get to push this sham? Do the right thing now, cough up the $ and give it back to Irongate, so they can give it to the damaged American ripped-off buyers. How could you not know this was bad, if you are the self-proclaimed EXPERTS! COUGH UP THE $$$ NOW!! Some of the original marketing fluff: ""Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico Its still being pushed by these guys, Jeez! CLICK HERE
THE LAUNCH OF TRUMP OCEAN RESORT’S LOBBY TOWER WAS A RECORD BREAKING SUCCESS FOR MEXICO, MAKING IT THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER RESORT IN NORTH BAJA. Trump Ocean Resort is the first development that Mr. Trump has chosen to be involved with in Mexico and we are pleased to inform you that HE currently holds the record for the highest single day sales in Mexico. On December the 8th 2006, the LOBBY tower sold over $120 million dollars. now is your opportunity to be involved with the most recognizable and successful name in real estate.
Just 30 minutes from San Diego and situated at the ocean’s edge lies Trump Ocean Resort Baja, one of the finest oceanfront properties in the world. A balance of world class architecture and Mexican warmth will be reflected in TRUMP Ocean Resort’s SPA TOWER, evoking understated luxury and promoting relaxed living. Located within the building, on the ground floor, the full service spa will be the inspiration for the tower design, and the perfect place to return after your day of adventure. Designed to respect the topography of the site along the coastline, three towers will create a border between the outside world and the world at Trump Ocean Resort. Once you enter, you will forget how close the world is.
It will encompass three 26-story towers. Situated on 17 acres of pristine land, overlooking the Pacific and the Coronado Islands, Trump Ocean Resort will be North Baja's first resort to combine luxury resort amenities and services with property ownership. "Trump Ocean Resort Baja will set the standard of premier property ownership and excellence in service for all of Northern Mexico," said Donald Trump.
Consistent with other Trump properties, Trump Baja will cater to owners and guests with a vast collection of amenities including:
* First class hotel operator
* Concierge services
* Lobby bar & lounge
* Pool house bar & café
* Fine dining restaurant
* Infinity-edge resort pool
* Lap and family pools
* World class Full-service spa
* State-of-the-art fitness center
* Tennis courts
* Walking trails
TRUMP OCEAN RESORT SPA
Inspiration in designing the spa stemmed from the concept of rejuvenating the body and soul. Colors, materials, treatments, and organic features culminated into an interior that reflects the Mexican landscape, culture, and sea with the highest of Trump quality spa treatments. The design is a combination and direct connection to the Contemporary Tower Architecture paired and integrated with the rugged Mexican landscape. The design for the spa incorporates natural materials with organic furnishings and fabrics to give the spa user a feeling of serenity and connection with the environment. The palette of materials includes: Soothing neutral colors, Quartz, Glass Tile, Slate, Pebble Tiles and the incorporation of native plant motifs in the overall design, logo, and fabrics. The guest will feel pampered and relaxed while experiencing a world class spa designed to perfection.
REASONS TO BUY:
TRUMP OCEAN RESORT BAJA MEXICO
-Located 30 minutes from San Diego, yet a world away
-Luxury resort amenities, services and a world-class spa
-Oceanside suites comprised of studio, one and two bedrooms
-Easy of ownership with a luxury operator
-TRUMP. An internationally known brand that stands for luxury, quality and credibility.
Trump Baja Ocean Resort site
A Prime Location
Trump Baja is located in Baja California (literally "lower California" in Spanish), which is the northernmost state of Mexico. It borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Sea of Cortez on the east, and its northern limit is the U.S.-Mexico border, adjacent to the state of California.
THE MAGNIFICENCE OF MEXICO
Baja Wine Country-Be among the first to discovery the emerging wine region of Baja California. The Valle de Guadalupe is home to a collection of boutique vineyards and unforgettable wines. Critically acclaimed wineries such as the Adobe Guadalupe are land marks in this emerging region wich are reminiscent of Napa in its early years. With over 24,7000 acres spread across six valleys and 13 wineries producing more than 90% of Mexico’s wine, this is the perfect place for those passionate about wine.
Located only 40 minutes from Trump Ocean Resort Porto Hussong will accommodate approximately 284 yachts, ranging in size from 40 to 400 feet. The Porto Hussong Marina will be the largest mega yacht marina on the western coast of North America.
GET INVOLVED IN THE EXCLUSIVE PRIORITY RESERVATION PROGRAM
The Spa Tower at Trump Ocean Resort will only be offered through an Exclusive Priority Reservation. You will have access to information before the general public and will qualify for these exclusive privileges:
* Priority Invitation to the TRUMP VIP Event
* Reserved appointment at the TRUMP Selection Event
* Pre-construction pricing and early selection""
They pushed people to buy at the "Trump Ocean Resort". They sold it as a can't-miss opportunity: three 26-story towers on the Pacific Ocean only 30 minutes south of San Diego in Baja California, with condos priced from the mid-$200,000s to more than $1 million. In Baja Norte? Bourgeois and Chicas sucked off of Trump in Mexico. In Baja Norte on their website, they sold people on the risky, high crime rate, drug wars, weak property laws, highly polluted waters and took $ to do it.
There's only one thing missing: buildings. There NEVER has been ANY building work! There are only holes in the ground. The developers pushed dirt into big hills, then pushed the dirt into other parts of the project site, no foundation or prep work has ever been accomplished. Any real Baja authorities saw this coming for years.
There is only a pile of dirt and holes on the site- no foundation work as claimed. But how can you steal all the money from an "escrow fund" if you really haven't done any work and used the money to pay the sales staff for two years? The developers and promoters claim they have done enough work to gobble up those advance deposits. No word if Ivanka, Trumps daughter, is backing out of her penthouse purchase in the Spa Tower too. Victimized buyers are organizing for filing a class-action lawsuit for breach of contract, and is scheduling meetings with attorneys.
Of course its falling through, of course everyone will now get sued. Welcome to Baja Norte Mexico!
The folks who Bourgeois and Chicas sold to lay down their deposits, however, are now planning on taking Trump's company and its partner, Irongate, a Los Angeles developer, to court in a breach-of-contract action. They say that they were promised that their building would be completed by last spring. They say they haven't heard from the Trump Organization or Irongate in months. All the victims of Bourgeois and Chicas marketing who put down hefty deposits, now want their money back.
The Trump Organization referred questions to Irongate. Irongate won't say whether Trump put money into the project or just licensed his name. In October 2007 Trump was scoffing at the notion that the real estate slowdown could affect him. "Though it may be true that some of Baja's developments could see a slowdown, these market conditions simply do not apply to Trump Ocean Resort," daughter Ivanka Trump wrote in a newsletter sent to investors.
A similar situation in Miami Trump Towers, brought lawsuits that say investors and buyers were ripped off, the property was misrepresented as a Trump investment. Same thing through Bourgeois and Chicas advertising on their website. Steve Bourgeois and Pat Chicas, how much money did you get to push this sham? Do the right thing now, cough up the $ and give it back to Irongate, so they can give it to the damaged American ripped-off buyers.
How could you not know this was bad, if you are the self-proclaimed EXPERTS!
COUGH UP THE $$$ NOW!!
Some of the original marketing fluff:
""Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico
Its still being pushed by these guys, Jeez! CLICK HERE