Local March 14, 2016 | 5:20 pm

National Palace blesses Dominican mogul’s big deals

Santo Domingo.- Nearly a year after the company ConsultoriaAstur SA signed the lease on the Teatro Agua y Luz (Theater Water and Light) theproject to remodel it has yet to be submitted to the Tourism Ministry’s Planningand Projects Dept., to get the "no objection" permit prior to startthe work.

Outlet hoy.com.do on Monday reports that the lease signed March30 last year stipulates that Astur has 24 months to develop the project’s firstphase after Tourism issues the permit. The document, however doesn’t set a timeframeto submit the project.

Despite a contract provision that Astur has 24 months afterthe “no objection,” the statement of specific conditions published by the governmentagency Hotel and Tourism Industry Development Corp. (CORPHOTELS) for the leasestipulates something entirely different: "The project runtime should notexceed 18 months after signing the contract."

The 18 months will be on September 30.

Astur’s proposal was the only one presented in the call fortenders and states that the company will invest RD$1.3 billion to rebuild the iconicopen-air theater right on the Caribbean coast. The proposal features a casino,parking, a hotel with 85 rooms, a shopping plaza and green areas.

No response

Hoy.com.do reports that despite several attempts to contactAstur, owned by mogul and politico Miguel Vargas Maldonado, there was noresponse to explain the project.

“At first we tried to reach Vargas through his assistant,Luis Marmolejos, who never answered the phone or returned the call, even thoughhe left a voice message.”

Big deals under government blessing

Vargas is accustomed to striking bargains with the blessingof the National Palace, the first in 2002 when he “swapped” some land in Samanafor the Hotel Hispaniola of Santo Domingo, then valued at nearly RD$1.9billion.

At the time Vargas was Secretary of Public Works during the Hipolito Mejia administration 2000-2004)

The also president of the governing bloc headed by the rulingPLD party actively supports president Danilo Medina’s reelection.

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