A BRITISH expat in Benidorm has been left with just ‘€40 euros to her name’ after an alleged conman changed the locks to her newly refurbished bar.
Karen Wadrop, 47, said it was her ‘dream’ to run a Benidorm boozer and found a landlord eager to rent an establishment to her in the Rincon de Loix area at the beginning of June.
But after spending ‘every penny she owned’ on re-decoration, new stock and workers’ wages, Karen was ‘shocked’ to find new locks on her doors last Monday, August 12.
Karen soon learned the landlord – named only as Ali for legal reasons – was himself a tenant in rent arrears of ‘over €45,000’.
“I paint on a smile and cross my fingers, but inside I’m worried sick,” Karen told the Olive Press.
“I kept asking Ali for a rental contract, and for copies of the licence and insurance, but they never appeared.
“Two weeks ago Ali told me he thought I’d done an amazing job and was happy to sign over the bar to me.
“I was confused and skeptical.
“He asked me for rent, and I said I would pay when I have my contract.
“Then, boom, locks changed.
“It’s clear he wanted to put the bar in my name and saddle me with his €45,000 debt.”
Ali’s ‘con’ tactics turned malicious after the real landlord, Moises, turned up demanding his money.
Karen tried to denounce the Ali to Guardia Civil but was told that ‘without a rental contract’ she had no power to do so.
Moises told the Olive Press he also denounced Ali back in April, but police have given Ali until the end of September to pay his debt and vacate the premises.
Moises also said the establishment was licenced and insured as a ‘shop’ – not a bar.
“I have over €3,000 of stock, including barrels, in there,” Karen, from Middlesborough said.
“The bar was popular from the offset, and 80% of my trade was locals, which is hard to win over here.
“I loved it with every bone in my body. I knew it would be a success.
“What hurt more than anything as I walked away is that my grandson’s name is on that bar sign.
“I named the bar ‘Jake’s Bar’ after my only grandson. He’s my pride and joy.
“He was buzzing when he found out and told everyone ‘I’ve got a bar in Benidorm’.
“I’m now down to about €40 in the whole world – tell me, how am I supposed to explain this to him?”
Jake has now seen the Olive Press’ article after Karen posted it on social media, and wrote ‘Keep going strong Grandma xx’.