Medano Beach Site Of Property Fight

And there’s plenty of blame throwing to go around
BY: DICK FITZWELL

Have you noticed the offerings at the formerly nice Baja Cantina Beach Club are kind of scanty lately? And it also looks pretty dishevelled. Unused tables stacked around kind of helter skelter. No blended drinks, and no food.

Baja Cantina and Cabo Villas, the timeshare hotel directly behind the property, have been partners in the lease of the land for 10 years. The lease expires November 23 and there has been a falling out between the partners.

They both would like to continue the lease, Baja Cantina would continue operating their bar and restaurant. Cabo Villas wants to build a  nine story, 307 unit timeshare hotel.

Enter stage left, the real owner of the property; Ana Sandoval, who’s family owned most of this town in the old days before her brother sold most of it to feed his bad habits. He’s dead now, and Senora Sandoval is administering what’s left of the family holdings. More than 10 years ago she leased the prime land for $2000 to Oswaldo Cruz, who turned around and leased it to both the restaurant and the timeshare hotel for $4000, keeping 2 grand a month for all these 10 years for himself. Cabo Villas and Baja Cantina have each been paying $1000 for their part of the lease for all these years.

But that was back when they were still buddies. Chris Erickson, who heads the family that owns Cabo Villas, wants it all now. He wants Baja Cantina gone, and he tried to pressure the elderly Senora Sandoval to lease to him. They could not come to terms, so she served him papers to vacate the property on November 23. He refused to take the papers, running away when the servers approached.

Last week, utilities were cut off to Baja Cantina, but Sandoval, feeling sorry for the Cantina who she feels is playing straight with her, is feeding them gas and water from her house that overlooks the Cantina. And at night they bring in a generator to light the place up. The Cantina has the modest goal of staying until their lease is up next week. In fact, they have found other digs to move to, although it will take them about eight months to set that up.

Enter a fourth party to this mess: The guys who sell beach activities in the narrow strip of no man’s land between Sandoval’s property and the beach club belongs to the city. Erickson is trying to get it from the city to build his high rise on. But the guys who  sell beach activities have set up small portable booths on that city land and they are afraid if Erickson gets it from the city, he will toss them off the property to build his hotel on it. They are creating a real mess there with their picket banners and their rhetoric about getting guns and shooting everyone.

They are only slightly more crazed than whoever it was who called the government in to close down the beach club because they smelled gas leaking.

“Cabo Villas has access to that gas line,” said Sandoval. “I’m not saying Erickson poked a hole in the line and then called the authorities to shut down the Cantina, but they are the only ones who could reach that gas. Maybe it was an unauthorized employee for all I know,” she said charitably.

Sandoval would like a responsible developer to come in and build a nice property there, reserving a little home for her inside it. But with nobody in sight to do that for her, she is willing to sign another long term lease with Baja Cantina, who she feels has acted honorably. If she does that, Cabo Villas will not be building their multimillion dollar high rise, so the steaks are high for the Erickson family’s timeshare project.

The way things are looking now, the beach club is moving on to another location far away from their crazed partner, Sandoval is going to have a tough time getting that crazed partner out since she can’t get them to even accept court documents to evict, and the activities vendors are talking about a shootout at the OK corral.

Stay tuned.