THE mayor of a Malaga town that has sprung extortionate water bills on dozens of expats has refused his latest – and possibly last – opportunity to back down.
Juan Jimenez has ignored all pleas and continues to insist the 20-plus residents of La Viñuela, who owe hundreds of thousands of euros between them, must cough up – or face ‘administrative processes.’
He made the announcement at an ‘extraordinary’ council meeting over the Christmas period, when most of the foreign owners in the town were on holiday.
The heated December 29 meeting – in which the victims were not allowed to speak or make appeals – marked the last chance for many residents to avoid ‘financial ruin’.
Despite the aisles being patrolled by police, a number of expats ignored the town hall’s protests and did stand up and make themselves heard.
However, incredibly, secretary Carlos Lopez – described as the ‘water bills hawk’ among the town hall members – got up and stormed out.
The mayor stayed to talk with the homeowners, but merely batted away their concerns, even telling them they could pay in instalments ‘like a mortgage.’
He then called the meeting to a close by informing them that debt collection proceedings will begin imminently.
Mirjana Stefanovic, 46, the wife of British construction boss Lee Talbot, told the Olive Press: “We will continue fighting, we don’t have any other option.”
The bill for the couple’s six-bedroom home, beside La Viñuela lake, already totals €55,000.
“This is a marathon,” she continued. “One could easily spend five or ten years fighting this in the courts – and we will.”
The Olive Press revealed in November that another expat, Gillian Hodgson, 66, is being forced to pay €74,000 over just two quarters.
When we investigated it in more detail last month, it appeared most likely that the bills had been wrongly totted up via faulty meters.
It is understood the newly-installed meters were purchased via the hardware shop of a well-known town hall employee.
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