12 Jun, 2024 @ 15:21
2 mins read

British community president on the Costa del Sol ‘gives himself €16,500 pay rise’ – and is now earning more than the PM of Spain

THE British president of a Costa del Sol community is now earning more than the prime minister of Spain after bumping up his own salary, it has been claimed. 

Stephen Hills, who runs the Torre Bermeja community in Estepona, hit the headlines earlier this year after it emerged he was earning just over €86,000 per year. 

That was almost as high as the actual President of Andalucia Juanma Moreno (€87,333), and higher than the vice president Yolanda Diaz (€84,600). 

But now, Hills is making around around €102,500, far more than PM Pedro Sanchez (€90.010), after approving a salary increase of €16,500 in his community’s 2024 budget, reports Area Costa del Sol. 

It comes as a group of Spaniards and fellow Brits are taking Hills to court, hoping to prove his actions are ‘totally illegal’. 

However some locally-based Brits previously defended Hills, saying he is ‘doing his best’ to defend his Torre Bermeja community.

One, who asked not to be named, previously told the Olive Press: “There is another president there who is trying to control the whole Guadalmansa development, and wants to get rid of any people who stand up to him, such as Stephen.

“The budget for the other president’s urbanisation is 50% higher than that of Stephen’s, so what are they spending their money on?

Stephen Hills

“Stephen works a full-time job looking after his residents, some guy tried to take over from him but didn’t last for three months. Stephen has been president for 20 years with basically no one standing against him, people understand how he defends the urbanisation.”

Another source told the Olive Press: “This is all part of a feud that has been going on for five to seven years, people don’t know the half of it!”

But David Valadez, the lawyer representing the residents who are taking action against Hill, insisted his actions were ‘illegal’.

He told the Olive Press earlier this year: “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 increase, there was no one to stand in his way, it is alleged.

Torre Bermeja
Torre Bermeja in Estepona

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 and Valadez for further comment.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

GOT A STORY? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 Twitter: @olivepress

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