Rincón de la Victoria
Tuesday, 18 April 2023, 19:27
Rincón de la Victoria town hall has taken over the ownership of the Cueva del Tesoro, a monument declared an Asset of Interest (BIC) and which is one of its main tourist attractions. The acquisition comes after a long litigation initiated by the town hall in 2009.
Last Friday 14 April it paid a total of 4,969,650 euros to the Laza Zerón family, who owned the cave, in compliance with the final judgment handed down last October by the Supreme Court which closed the case. A further 2,084,000 euros will have to be added to this amount for legal interest, which will be paid in a payment plan until the end of 2026.
The payment has been made through the Ministry of Finance's Economic Impulse Fund, a tool used by the town hall to comply with the court ruling. The operation involves a loan to be repaid to the ministry over ten years, with an interest rate of 3 per cent and a two-year grace period, during which only interest will be paid. With this operation, the municipal financial debt reaches 52 million euros, with a budget this year of 50 million euros.
The lawyer for the family that until now owned the cave, Manuel Laza, highlighted to SUR "the willingness" of the town hall to complete the payment. "The cave belonged to our grandfather, Manuel Laza Palacio, who bought it from his uncle," Laza explained.
"There will be those who wonder how a cave can be private, but this has been established by state legislation since 1985, and all the caves that had a deed before that date are recognised as private property," explained the lawyer.
"It is a historic day for Rincón de la Victoria, we are taking another step in this long process to get the Cueva del Tesoro into public ownership, it is an archaeological and heritage element of the first order, it is one of the only three visitable underwater caves in the world," said deputy mayor Antonio Fernández, for whom this operation "cannot be measured in terms of profitability". He went on to say, "It is a world heritage site of the first order, which becomes public property.”
The Cueva del Tesoro opened in 1991 following a 30-year rental agreement between the town hall and the owner family. In June 2021 the town hall and the owners signed a new contract for a period of two years, extendable for a third, at a rate of 24,000 euros per year. This agreement is now null and void after payment of the price set for its expropriation. It was in 2009 when the town hall initiated the procedure to take over the ownership of the cave.
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