Former mayor of Torremolinos criticised for wasting tax payers' money on ill-fated museum

The controversial building will become the judicial headquarters.
The controversial building will become the judicial headquarters. / T. B.
  • Pedro Fernández Montes is accused of approving a large building of dubious architectural taste without following proper procedures

Torremolinos town hall has criticised its former mayor, Pedro Fernández Montes, for irregularities in the planning and construction of the town’s ill-fated museum.

The building has been at the centre of controversy since 2014 and the ruling Socialist council has blasted the town’s former mayor for wasting tax payer’s money.

The museum project was refused in 2015, on the grounds that the asset quality of the town’s collection was scarce and failed to provide sufficient content to class it a ‘City Museum’.

Maribel Tocón, councillor for Urban Planning, said that the project was doomed from the beginning, claiming that the Partido Poular (PP) left the town with a “ghost building and a debt close to 200 million euros”.

She also pointed out that work on the building is not complete and that they will need to spend another 800,000 euros to finish it.

Maribel Tocón said that the former mayor decided to build a large building of “dubious architectural taste” without following proper procedures. She also accused him of building a house from the roof down, claiming that the museum project “did not have any logic whatsoever”.

She also questioned how it was possible to squander more than 5.5 million euros on a building that was abandoned just five years later.

“When the PP approved the museum project, they had already been warned that it was not economically viable, but the advice fell on deaf ears once again,” the councillor said.

She agreed that Torremolinos deserves a museum and insisted that it will have one, but said that they must do the right thing and follow the legal procedures required by law for the creation of a museum.

“The mayor dreamed of opening his great museum by requesting a loan without a project that endorsed the success of the destiny of that money. Therefore, Torremolinos never got a museum; what it does have is a vacant building that is costing a lot of money in maintenance and safety,” she explained.

The town hall has now returned the loan of five million euros that the former council received from the Ministry of Tourism.

“Although the PP wants to make us think that the building has been a gift, it was a loan, not a grant,” Tocón pointed out.

The town hall now looks set to go ahead with its plans to use the building, which is situated in the Plaza Picasso, as the judicial headquarters of Torremolinos, a notion endorsed by the Asociación de Abogados (association of lawyers), given the poor state of the current headquarters in the Avenida Palma Mallorca.