Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos is Cabo’s giant downtown anchor hotel (formerly called Plaza No Glorias) on the main drag overlooking the marina. Over the years, ownership has changed hands at least three times, which included one bankruptcy. And there’s a long, ugly history of discouraged business owners who bought their space on Tesoro’s Resorts Los Cabos property (called locales). Almost all of the businesses own their units—there’s not a lot of leasing of business space in Mexico.
These owners’ complaints include floods, electrical outages, and harassment by Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos security guards. Further, owners allege that the common area in front of the retail locations, which is owned by the hotel’s condo association, is being rented out to separate businesses. This makes the business people unhappy because bulky palapa or cage-like structures go up on the common area, blocking their store front. Also, timeshare snaggers set up booths directly in front of those businesses, actually on the concrete marina front—which is federal land. Now the merchants who bought their units on the first row in front of the marina are actually in the third row.
The owners who have had their access blocked by Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos are afraid to go on record about the problem, fearing that the condo association will build something that will block the businesses from view completely. Yes, Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos has done that to someone who complained.
But some of the owners read our story about Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos in the last issue and decided to start talking. In that article, Pam Streeter, the hotel’s public relations flack, promised the new management company she works for would help repair the damage the hotel has done to the merchants. (The new company, IHR, partnered with existing owners Steadfast Company.)
Buckets, buckets, and more buckets, and a mop
Phil and Jennifer Goerss decided to test Streeter’s promise of help. They are owners of Cape Marine, a boat supply shop on the Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos property behind Baja Cantina, and one of the only businesses on the property brave enough to go on record with us. Since the couple bought the location, they’ve had nothing but trouble with the plumbing infrastructure that surrounds their unit.
Between 2004 and 2008 alone, Phil estimates that Cape Marine suffered losses in excess of $125,000 due to repeat flooding. The flooding originates from burst pipes on the hotel’s property, which surrounds the Goerss' unit. Cape Marine’s problems have been so persistent that Phil and Jennifer began displaying anti-Tesoro Resorts Los Cabosand anti-Steadfast stickers and T-shirts in their storefront. So many disgruntled owners in the building wanted the shirts that Phil actually considered selling them instead of handing them out to friends.
In a letter to Streeter dated March 5, Phil writes,” Cape Marine Corp has sustained more than 80 floods in over 10 years from faulty hotel plumbing and inadequate maintenance. The most catastrophic damages have occurred since Steadfast Companies acquired the hotel. We have lost computers, ceiling tiles, display cases, product, and irreplaceable paperwork and so much more; damages have now exceeded $125,000.00 US just in the last four years alone.
“To add insult to injury, the hotel security has made a sport out of following, harassing, and cornering us like animals so that we might give cause for them to have us arrested. We had to install security cameras, not to protect our property, but ourselves from Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos security.
“We have tried numerous times to talk with hotel management to resolve our differences. On July 1 2004 we met with the then manager Ivan Garcia to discuss how extensive the hotel’s neglect in general maintenance has been. We also expressed our deep concerns over the impending hurricane season and inquired as to what the hotel was preparing to do.
Water gushes into the Cape Marine storefront during a recent flood
Mr. Garcia falsely made many assurances. On June 9 2005 we met with Brian Hendrix and expressed our concerns over the empty promises given from Mr. Garcia. We explained the history of the problems with the administration and maintenance. Mr. Hendrix scoffed, saying that the hotel was no longer responsible, but would see what he could do. Before these meetings as well as in-between and after, we have experienced flooding, one of which was raw sewage in the middle of our store.
“Most recently, we awaited a phone call from Mr. Emery that never came. He assured us he would call February 21st 2008 upon his return from Central America to negotiate a settlement.
“We would like to schedule a meeting to discuss this situation further. As public relations, you of all people can appreciate the need for this to be resolved.”
Streeter responded on March 6, promising that she would work with her “team” to investigate the situation. But Streeter did not answer emails or calls after March 6, except for a brief call with Phil about two weeks later. In this call, she claimed it was not her job to help with Cape Marine’s problems, and directed Phil to IHR’s attorney, Katrine Betancourt, in Tijuana. Streeter said she had prepped Betancourt about the situation and that she would be expecting his call.
After another week and a half of leaving messages and emails for Betancourt, Phil finally got her on the phone—after a hapless employee at her Tijuana office handed over the lawyer’s cell phone number. He called her as she was getting off the plane right here in Cabo. Clearly surprised, Betancourt hastily promised that she would set up a meeting “soon” at the hotel or at Cape Marine’s store. When Phil called her back, she did not answer again. He tried from a different phone number, and she hung up when he identified himself.
Discouraged by yet another management company’s unresponsiveness, Phil wrote a second letter to Steadfast Company President Rod Emery on March 21. The letter invokes Steadfast’s “core values,” which appear on their website and in company literature. Phil writes, “When we spoke last I was assured that you would call me upon your return from Central America on February 21, 2008. (Steadfast core value #1 Proceed with Integrity: Be honest and forthright. Say what we mean, and mean what we say).
“I understand that you are very busy. However, since we have spoken there was yet another flood. I have been in contact with Pamela Streeter, who directed me to Luis Garcia, a person that in a past conversation said, and I quote, “We have no money for this, take us to court!” Then turned and offered to buy the locales. (Steadfast core value #2 Value People: Be respectful of one another; cooperate with and help others.)
“I will be forwarding you a just a few of the many picture’s taken not just of damages, but of the floods as they happen; floods that occur because you have failed to maintain your building and it’s plumbing. (Steadfast core value #4 Pursue Excellence: Be our best; produce the highest quality work product possible at all times.)
“I am asking for compensation for the physical damages to my property and destroyed merchandise. This is more than reasonable considering that I am not asking for money for pain and suffering.”
Goerss copied Pam Streeter and Luis Garcia on the email to Mr. Emery. By using the “request receipt” function on his email program, Cape Marine received an automated message back that alerted him that all his emails, including the photo attachments, were “deleted without being read on Sat, 22 Mar 2008 02:25:36 -0400.” Neither Mr. Emery nor Luis Garcia have responded.
In answer to charges that the timeshare snaggers occupying booths up and down the marina pay rent for the common area behind them in order to set up shop in front, Streeter sent another PR flack our way to answer questions. Chris Daly, of Daly Gray, explained on March 10 that Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos has no jurisdiction over the booths that are in front of the common area, because that property belongs to Fonatur. (Fonatur is a government-run entity that controls federal land selected for tourist development.) Daly wrote, “Neither the hotel nor anyone affiliated with it collects rents from those spaces. Furthermore, the hotel has no ability to dictate who can or cannot set up a business there.”
Longtime marina fixture Jerry Chapman (the “JC” of JC Sportfishing) isn’t taking any chances. He filed for a restraining order against Fonatur, API (the port authority), Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos, the condo association, and the new Hooters going up right behind his booth on the marina, effectively preventing any of the named entities from booting Jerry off of his spot.
Since 1999, Chapman and his attorney have sought the legal concession from Fonatur that would allow him to, in effect, lease the land his business occupies, to no avail. To protect his business, which resides in a prime location on the marina where dozens of tourists and locals stop by daily, Chapman has hired private security to make sure no one— from Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos, Hooters, or anywhere else— knocks down his booth at night after he goes home.
Because no one from Tesoro Resorts Los Cabos will return the Gringo Gazette’s phone calls or emails anymore, nor return Cape Marine’s phone calls or emails, we can’t close the book on this problem yet. It seems that our anchor hotel still has a lot of work to do to rewrite its unhappy past, and does not come close to living up to its advertised “core values.”
*No infringement intended.