José Manuel Medina Cañizares

Although widely praised with being one of the founders of the modern municipality, the former Mayor of Orihuela, José Manuel Medina Cañizares, who became the Partido Popular choice for Mayor in 1995, continuing to retain control in the 1999 and 2003 elections, until Monica Lorente replaced him in the 2007 elections, has been given a seven year ban from holding public office.

Court Number 3 of Orihuela ruled that the Mayor failed to enforce the municipalities own ordinance, in recovering nearly 2 million euro in assets on the Orihuela Costa.

The case dates back to December, 2003, when the property promoter, Residencial Vista Alegre, were involved in the auction of land at Las Piscinas, when 27,279 square meters of land were set to be used for the residential development, purchased for 13.6 million euro. However, upon measuring the plot once the transaction was completed, it was discovered that the plot was only 23,310 square metres, some 3,969 square metres less.

It is stated that the Mayor almost immediately lowered the price to 11,400,000, but “incurred absolute passivity to recover the financial loss”.

The Mayor then issued two decrees, in June and July 2004, which were conducted by the partial plan in 1995, restoring the extra 3,969 square metres of unapproved land, with compensation of 2,105,000 euro, but still failed to take any action.

The translation of the ruling stated that, “The Mayor of Orihuela, being fully aware of the unjust and arbitrary passivity, not only did not take any action for the enforcement of court action but also any activity performed not to restore the equity balance of the municipality”. The penalty imposed for breach of trust “by omission”, punished as “inactivity if it can be equated with action”, was a ban from holding public office.

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