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A BRITISH expat is under fire after allegedly paying himself €86,700-a-year for being the president of his neighbourhood in Spain – despite the job being ‘voluntary’ and ‘salary-free’.
Stephen Hills is said to have outraged residents in Torre Bermeja in Estepona after his inflated pay packet was revealed last summer.
It means he is actually paid more than the vice president of Spain Yolanda Diaz, who earns €79,415, and almost more than Juanma Moreno, the actual president of Andalucia, who has a salary of little over €87,000.
Rubbing salt in the wound, documents claim, Hills has also exempted himself from paying community fees – exceeding more than €6,000 per year for many of his neighbours.
Fuming Spaniards and fellow Brits have now taken Hills to court, hoping to prove his actions are ‘totally illegal’.
David Valadez, the lawyer representing the residents, told the Olive Press today: “People are outraged, his actions are totally illegal and against the rules.
“I am convinced that he will face a judge, however the courts in Estepona are very saturated right now so we are not sure when to expect a trial.”
The Torre Bermeja urbanisation contains 109 apartments, and is one of five urbanisations that form the Guadalmansa development in Estepona.
Each urbanisation has a president, who looks after the day-to-day running of the blocks, such as collecting community fees or arranging gardeners and maintenance.
They have regular meetings with other presidents, where they can propose laws or changes which are voted on by the residents they look after.
But the majority of homeowners in the 109 homes Hills looks after are not there all year round, and have given him the right to vote on matters on their behalf.
Hence when he decided to give himself a salary of almost €87,000, there was no one to stand in his way.
Valadez added: “So many have given him their deferred votes and I don’t think they know what they have been used for.”
According to Valadez, the bylaws that dictate the runnings of Guadalmansa say a president ‘cannot earn money’ for the role.
Valadez said Hills created an office called ‘Administración Gerente de la Urbanización’, or Administrative Management of the Urbanisation, without the knowledge of other presidents.
He then used this office to pay himself tens of thousands of euros, it is alleged, by creating jobs that do not exist, such as an administrator, who receives more than €17,000 per year, and two other employees earning €45,000.
“It is intended to mask the attribution of a very high salary to the president,” added Valadez.
The Olive Press has contacted Hills for comment.