The Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council adapts a contest to the convenience of the lawyer representing it in a lawsuit against Sacyr

How do you hire the desired attorney for the price the desired attorney wants to charge? The Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council has found the formula: initially it proposes a minor contract, which has a ceiling of 15,000 euros, and in the face of the silence or the refusal of the three offices invited to participate, it returns to the charge with a negotiated contest without advertising for a value of 60,000 euros to which only the only one of the three bidders who had said that 14,000 euros (IGIC apart) was insufficient. The other two didn’t even bother to participate: one of them had already said on the first try that he was not interested in the subject. And the other did not even answer then because he was one of the lawyers hired by the party opposed to the City Council, the multinational Sacyr, for the case that is being followed in the courts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the criminal derivative of this same issue.

The judge investigating the favorable treatment of Sacyr in Santa Cruz de Tenerife withdraws due to her old ties with the Canary Islands Coalition

The judge investigating the favorable treatment of Sacyr in Santa Cruz de Tenerife withdraws due to her old ties with the Canary Islands Coalition

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The Canary Islands Coalition was choked from the beginning by the lawsuit of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council against the Spanish multinational Sacyr-Vallehermoso. And he keeps choking. The issue returns poisoned to CC as one more of the artifacts that the current opposition activated after discovering it under the carpets the little year that he was in charge of municipal power between 2019 and 2020. It is about the irregular payment of more than 30 million euros to Sacyr through the company that manages the integral water cycle, Emmasa, by an advantageous interpretation for the multinational by means of which it would recover the 59 million that it deposited like canon to be done in 2005 with that succulent contract. Now the City Council, pushed by the files that the fleeting mayor Patricia Hernández (PSOE) left in motion, is forced to claim the amounts returned and the Government group (Canary Coalition, Popular Party and a fugitive of Citizens) seeks a satisfactory solution that it does not splatter him in this new assault on the municipal coffers that the mayor of the Las Teresitas operation, Miguel Zerolo, is currently serving a prison sentence for that corrupt operation.

The City Council, headed again by the mayor of CC José Manuel Bermúdez, already knew since 2016, from preliminary reports from its officials, that an irregularity was being committed in the joint venture of the water service. But he did nothing. Sacyr was being returned, at a rate of 2.3 million a year, the fee that he paid to the City Council as part of the price of that controversial contest, 59 million euros. When for the first time since the advent of democracy, someone outside the Canary Islands Coalition became mayor, the technical reports surfaced in a more serious way and the operation was launched to recover that money for the public coffers. By then, 30 million euros had already been returned to Sacyr, but if these payments had not been stopped, they would have exceeded the amount that the same institution lost with the Las Teresitas hit, 51 million, which no one did to recover until that change in the city ​​hall, frustrated at the year by a motion of censure supported by a defected councilor from Ciudadanos, Evelyn Alonso.

“The best defense of the City Council”

The current government group cannot do much to avoid requiring Sacyr to pay these amounts unduly repaid, especially after a forceful opinion of the Advisory Council of the Canary Islands January 2021, which ratified all the suspicions of the officials and the previous ruling group. So last February the governing board agreed to dismiss the allegations that the multinational brought to the open procedure in the Consistory and, among other decisions, required Emmasa to stop paying those amounts and to urge the return of the money. Against this agreement of the governing board, Sacyr filed a contentious-administrative appeal that the secretary general of the plenary session has considered “of enormous difficulty from a technical point of view”, which, together with the battery of actions underway, would affect “ to the field of administrative, civil, commercial and criminal law, which must be valued and covered as a whole to give an adequate response to the defense of the rights of this Administration ”.

Precisely the municipal secretary of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Luis Prieto, is accused in the criminal case that is followed in Instruction 3 of that judicial party for being part of the Emmasa board of directors, which in 2007 agreed to repay that “debt” that did not really exist.

Asked formally by the City Council about the reason for resorting to external lawyers having specialists in Administrative Law at home, the answer has been the following: “Yes, there are lawyers specialized in this matter in the City Council. It is decided to outsource to guarantee the best defense of the City Council ”.

Given these needs for external legal advice and to find “the best defense” for the City Council ”, on June 9 the procedure to hire a lawyer with a minor procedure is launched. To this end, the City Council invites the Tenerife members Juan Gregorio Llamas García, José Manuel Niederleytner and Manuel Freddy Santos. Why those names? They were decided by “exclusively technical criteria and professional specialization”, the council responded.

Well, the first of the guests answers very soon claiming “not to be interested in submitting an offer.” The second does not even answer, surely because he must have interpreted an error by the City Council to invite a lawyer who was already representing Sacyr in the preliminary proceedings 710/2021 in which the municipal secretary and former mayor Miguel Zerolo appear. However, for the City Council that is an illiterate reason: “One issue has nothing to do with the other. Here it is about the representation and defense of the City Council in an administrative dispute.

“The price is insufficient”

The third of the guests, Manuel Freddy Santos, literally answers the following via email: “I appreciate your invitation, but I am afraid I will not make an offer. In my opinion, the price offered is insufficient for the required service ”.

The contest is declared void.

It is from then on, on June 30, when the City Council activates plan B, consisting of a negotiated tender without advertising for a maximum amount of 60,000 euros to which it invites the three previous bidders again. Asked the City Council why they insist on them again, the answer is the following: “They had expressed their rejection of a minor contract due to the complexity of the matter and its amount, well below the guiding criteria of the College of Lawyers in the matter of Fees ”.

In reality, the only one who had expressed disagreement with the fees was Freddy Santos, according to the record, consulted by this newspaper.

So, once the same bidders are called, the answer in the first two cases is the same again. Llamas is not interested; Niederleyther doesn’t even answer. So the lawyer who had shown his rejection of the low economic endowment of the contract is the only one who presents an offer.

That’s how it went. On July 30, the lawyer Manuel Freddy Santos Padrón, from the circle of friends of Mayor Bermúdez, presented his offer, for an amount of 53,900 euros, IGIC apart. The City Council has denied any type of negotiation with the lawyer prior to this offer, which is even scored by the Legal Department of the City Council with 40 points, 20 for the “work program” that is proposed to deal with the commission. and many others for “the description of human means” that are related.

Freddy Santos proposes in his offer a payment plan that contemplates 35% (18,865 euros) “upon presentation of the contentious-administrative claim”; another 15% (8,085 euros) “at the end of the evidence phase of the contentious-administrative procedure”; 25% (13,475 euros) “upon presentation of the conclusions” of the procedure, and the remaining 25% (13,475 euros) “with the issuance of the judgment of the first instance”. In addition, the lawyer has been accepted to collect that amount whether or not he has to file a commercial lawsuit “or any actions in the criminal order.”

The City Council has denied that the lawyer Manuel Freddy Santos Padrón is from the circle of friends of Mayor José Manuel Bermúdez. It has done so by invoking the conditions of recusal or abstention of the judges and magistrates: “There is no cause for abstention by the lawyer. Neither intimate friendship nor manifest enmity. As with many other legal professionals in the city ”.

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