On Tuesday, October 16th, Rene Villanueva, Sr., and his son Rene Villanueva, Jr., were ordered by the Supreme Court of Belize to pay 400 thousand dollars, which they owe to the Development Finance Corporation (DFC). That money is to be paid at an interest rate of 6% per annum from 16th March, 2010 up to the time when the debt is settled. They are also to pay $10,000 cost to the DFC.
The ruling came after the DFC took the Villanuevas to court back on July 25th. Since then, there were three other hearings, which concluded on Tuesday.
DFC had originally claimed $898,408.39, which was the balance on a loan of $1,423.562.90, which was given to the Villanuevas on January 31st, 2003. That amount was what was paid for Cahal Pech Tavern, which contained a night club and bar along with nine cabanas. At the time, the Villanuevas made a payment of $40 thousand dollars bringing the balance on the purchase price to $1,310,000. Additional fees brought that balance to $1,423,592.90.
The agreement at the time was that monthly 238 equal and consecutive monthly payments would be made of $16,707.77. By December of 2003, a fire destroyed the nightclub and a portion of the debt was settled by and insurance company. However, that did not cover the entire cost and by November of 2004, the Villanuevas had defaulted on their payments and the keys to the property were handed over to the DFC.
Thereafter, the Cahal Pech was sold by the Villanuevas to Richard Hoare, who had agreed to take over the loan, however, there was never any formal signing of documents for this and the Villanuevas were under the impression that they no longer owed DFC. Hoare would later die and the debt reverted back to the Villanuevas under the agreement that the DFC could sell the property, and if there was any balance owing, they could recover it from the estate of Hoare. On 28th February, 2006 the DFC sold the property to DALT Limited for BZ$900,000 leaving a balance of $782,435.66. On May 2nd, 2012 the Villanuevas got judgement against the Hoare estate for $879,694.46, together with interest at the rate of 4% per annum from 2nd May, 2012 however, they have been unable to collect from the estate making them still indebted to the DFC.
After reviewing the facts of the case, Justice Oswell Legall ruled that the Villanuevas are still indebted to the DFC and are therefore liable to pay the debt.