The plea made by retired Canadian homeowner, Robert Mason about the so-called newest developer at Levera, Robert Martin Oveson after they were taken for a ride on a Home development project in Mexico in 2008:
“…Through lies, deceit and fraud, Oveson and the family obtained well in excess of a million U.S. dollars from Canadian and American purchasers. Also they did not pay some of the contractors, suppliers and workers on the site and in the hotel and they also were defrauded, with a very few taking legal action.
For the sake of all the people of Grenada, I hope you will cease your negotiations with the Ovesons’ and their fellow investors”
A group of Canadian and American investors are warning the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s to stay away from Robert Martin Oveson, the man said to be behind the current Levera project in the north of the island.
THE NEW TODAY newspaper has spoken to some of the investors from North America who claimed to have lost over one million U.S dollars in a similar project that Oveson attempted to do in Mexico around 2008.
Canadian national Robert Mason who has emerged as spokesperson for the group said that the American developer used “lies and deceit” to collect thousands of dollars as deposits from them as they tried to purchase a condo in the failed Mexican project.
He said that Oveson who is from Utah in the United States is alleged to have left thousands of dollars in unpaid bills to contractors, workers and hardware stores where he took building supplies for the project.
The controversial American investor is alleged to have set up two companies in Grenada – Levera Trading Ltd and Grenada Citizenship Development Ltd – to execute his latest project.
Checks made with the Supreme Court Registry show that the legal paper work for both companies was facilitated by the law firm of Grant, Grant & Joseph.
This newspaper has not been able to get in direct contact with Oveson for his comment on the string of allegations levelled against him.
Contact was made with Grant, Grant & Joseph to arrange for an interview with Oveson but without success.
Our News Desk also made a call to the law office of AFI Ventour & Co and a female Secretary confirmed that Oveson was one of their clients.
She promised to pass on the queries made by THE NEW TODAY to the principal figure in the law firm.
A call was also made by this newspaper to a female attorney in California in the United States who is said to be looking after some of Oveson’s interest.
The lawyer promised to contact Oveson to ask him to get in touch with THE NEW TODAY in light of the serious allegations of fraud being directed at him by some persons who lost heavily on the Mexican project.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY reproduces an edited version of the letter sent to our News Desk by Mason on his experience in doing business with Oveson and warning the NNP regime to distance itself from the native of Utah:
1568 Harbour Green Road
KELOWNA BC VIZ 4E1
January 3rd. 2017
Re: LEVERA DEVELOPMENT PROJECT AND OVESON FAMILY
I recently learned of the proposed Levera development which is being promoted by Randy Oveson who is the lead partner in Levera Trading Ltd. and Grenada Citizenship Development Ltd. The project, while considerably larger, is very similar to one in Mexico in which the Oveson family was the principal developer, and which project has encountered innumerable problems since its inception.
As an individual who was involved in the Mexican project and directly impacted by the Oveson family, I write this letter out of my concern for potential investor partners who might be convinced to buy into the Levera project, and also for the Government and people of Grenada who will undoubtedly be adversely affected as the project proceeds much beyond its current stage.
In the early 2000’s Robert Martin Oveson, a U.S. citizen lived with his wife in Manzanillo, Mexico, where he produced a tourist oriented magazine. In late 2007 he and other members of his family purchased a Pacific Ocean front former R.V. trailer park. They commenced renovating some of the existing buildings with the intention of creating a self sustaining development which would initially have a 12 unit boutique hotel, swimming pool with hot tub spa, bar and restaurant and residences which would include a number of detached units and three low rise apartment buildings.
The property is located in the tiny community of Boca de Iguanas, about three hours by road south of Puerto Vallarta and one hour north of Manzanillo on the Costalegre (joyful coast) of Mexico.
One evening in early March 2008 we went to the bar and Robert Martin Oveson was there with his hotel manager, though I don’t know if the boutique hotel actually had any guests at that time.
Mr. Oveson and his Sales Manager, Jimmi Jorgensen, outlined the basis on which they were selling units which required a $10,000 US deposit on their acceptance of an offer to purchase, and with stage payments to be made as the building progressed.
On March 15th. 2008 we entered into a contract of purchase and sale for Condominium # 2 in the El Pueblito building, the third apartment building scheduled to be built, and paid the $10,000 deposit.
The purchase price was to be $265,000 and the second payment of $82,750 US was to be paid on commencement of construction, then anticipated to be prior to the end of April that year or some six weeks later.
We were advised that our apartment would be finished and ready for occupancy by Christmas 2008. We returned to Canada at the end of our winter vacation in mid-April and construction had not yet started. It wasn’t until 17th September that year that Oveson and Jorgensen sent an e-mail advising that construction had started and we were required to pay the $82,750 US before 26th September.
We had our bank in Canada transfer the money to Oveson’s bank as we were required and as instructed in the e-mail. The contract required us to pay an additional 25% or $66,250 US on completion of cementation and structural walls, a further 25% on completion of interior walls and floors, and the balance of $39,750 on completion of the unit and our taking ownership of the finished apartment.
Early October of that year Messrs. Oveson and Jorgensen were on a sales promotion trip through the western part of the United States and into British Columbia, Canada. They asked if they might stay with us for two nights and if we would arrange a dinner and presentation for a small number of guests who we thought might be interested in purchasing at Boca de Iguanas.
For the early evening on their one full day with us, we organised a dinner at Hector’s Mexican Restaurant in Kelowna, and about 15 people came out. Mr. Oveson made the presentation and I shared our opinion of the development, and the reasons we had agreed to buy an apartment unit.
The next day, at breakfast in our home, Mr. Oveson advised that construction had not in fact started, but would start a few weeks later. In mid-November 2008 we returned in our motor home and parked in the nearby R.V.park, only to then find that construction had not started.
Although some of the original apartment building units were then occupied, as was one of the detached houses, they were not completely finished and we learned that many of the suppliers and tradespeople had not been paid for their services, and were no longer working on the site.
That winter we were promised that construction of a replacement unit would commence before the end of April 2009, when we were due to return to Canada. That did not happen.
Mr. Oveson then proposed we purchase a more expensive and somewhat larger unit in the second apartment building which was to be built but not then started, and we could buy at the same price and on the same terms as we had agreed for the original unit, which was to have been in the originally proposed third building.
Construction was then anticipated to be finished by the summer of 2010. At that time it became quite apparent that the project was in serious financial difficulties and many areas of maintenance had been ignored, such that considerable work would be required to bring it to what had been planned.
Oveson himself was rarely at the property and his new hotel manager, Carlos Hernandez, also spent considerable time away. We did not enter into an agreement to purchase an alternate unit as Oveson had proposed.
In late January 2010, I chaired a meeting of the few residents who were there and to which we invited Mr. Oveson. He outlined how he was proposing to complete the project. He indicated he was scaling back the resort operations and would continue to provide services and security to the property.
In the next few months, I made enquiries of the municipality as to the legality of the project, and learned that sub-division approval had not been granted and that some of the development was illegally sited on protected Federal lands. A number of lawsuits had been filed and one, from his original architect, had resulted in a lien being placed on a part of the property.
I made contact by e-mail with numerous fellow Canadians and a number of Americans who had agreed to buy property and had been requested to make stage payments based on the claim by Oveson that their units were progressing as planned.
I determined that collectively I and these other people had paid out in excess of one million dollars without our units having been started, while the people who were now in occupancy had been required to collectively pay large sums to get their places finished, and though they had been promised reimbursement, no one had received anything back from the developer, nor had they been given title to their properties.
I requested that Robert Martin Oveson repay me all that I had put out, but he did not respond. Accordingly, I retained a Mexican lawyer and through him filed an allegation of fraud against Oveson, with the Ministerio Publico (District Attorney ) in the municipality within which Boca de Iguanas is located.
My lawyer and I spent hours with the Ministerio at his office in La Huerta, and he concluded that the allegation was serious, and he would contact Oveson for his response. My wife and I then returned to Canada and shortly thereafter Stephen Oveson, Robert Martin Oveson’s father who told me he was the main advisor to his son and the principal investor in the project, telephoned me at home.
I had never previously had any contact with Stephen Oveson but he asked me what it would take for me to drop the legal action. I said I would need what I had paid, plus the considerable expenses I had then incurred and expected to have the refund within 30 days.
Mr. Oveson said he’d call me back within two weeks, but he never did so.
I continued to consult with our Mexican lawyer, and regularly attempted to learn the outcome of my allegation of fraud. I learned that … a new Ministerio had been appointed in that office, replacing the one with whom we had previously dealt.
In late 2012, I was back in Mexico and met with the new Ministerio Publico who advised that he had concluded that fraud had been committed and told me he had forwarded his recommendations to the Criminal Court Judge in the County Town of Cihuatlan.
My lawyer then learned that the Judge had found Robert Martin Oveson guilty of Fraud and he was to be apprehended and taken to prison where he would serve a minimum of four years, and was also required to pay a fine and to reimburse me for everything I had suffered as a result of the fraud.
However, once he learned of the court decision, Oveson left Mexico before he was taken to prison and he has not returned. Rather he returned to his original home base in Park City, Utah, where he apparently set up a business advising people how to avoid taxes in the U.S. by investing in Caribbean countries, and advising them how they could obtain foreign passports.
There is currently an application made by my lawyer on my behalf, for an International Extradition order.
In support of the application for the Extradition Order, in August 2014, my wife and I were required to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, the capital of the State of Jalisco in which the property and our legal action and judgement were registered. We then met with the State Ministerio Publico (effectively the State Attorney General) and then signed affidavits identifying Robert Martin Oveson from photographs which we were shown.
This affidavit and supporting documentation was then sent to the Federal authorities in Mexico City for processing with Interpol.
However, as our Mexican lawyer has been suffering from terminal cancer, we have not wanted to cause undue problems for him and his family, I suspect that the Extradition Order has not yet been finalised.
I have recently learned through Grenada Now that the Oveson family is proposing a development similar, though larger in scale, as that which failed in Mexico and in which Robert Martin Oveson was the principal spokesperson for the family which put up considerable funds at the outset.
However, subsequently and as I note above, through lies, deceit and fraud, Oveson and the family obtained well in excess of a million U.S dollars from Canadian and American purchasers. Also they did not pay some of the contractors, suppliers and workers on the site and in the hotel and they also were defrauded, with a very few taking legal action.
The Grenada Now article has a couple of photographs and I can identify the fellow in the blue suit as being Robert Martin Oveson, although the Grenada Now report identifies him as Robert Martin.
I bring all of this to your attention so you are fully aware of the type of individuals who you are dealing with. For the sake of all the people of Grenada, I hope you will cease your negotiations with the Ovesons and their fellow investors.
Should you wish to have clarification of any of the matters raised in this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail at: email@example.com