Another row is brewing in Casco Viejo over the issuing of a permit for the resumption of work on a building in spite of a Supreme Court suspension ruling.
The Third Chamber of the Supreme Court ordered the suspension of work on the PH Plaza Independencia in September 2009 given the historical value of the property, and the "apparent injury to the legal order in the processing of permits.” The ruling was unanimous, endorsed by the then judge Adán Arnulfo Arjona (rapporteur), Victor Benavides and Jacinto Cárdenas.
Reports at the time indicated that the building had exceeded height restrictions, and there were widespread protests by local residents.
However, the following year, the Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the National Institute of Culture (INAC issued another resolution to approve the plans, and in March 2011 the Directorate of Municipal Works and Construction endorsed a new permit reports La Prensa.
The endorsement of INAC was crucial to get the new municipal permit, according to Adelaida Barahona, Deputy Director of Works and Buildings.
The property is linked says La Prensa to Rodney Zelenka, a former client of today's communications secretary of State, Luis E. Camacho, and the deputy director of Heritage, Dioselinda Stanziola.
Ramon Ricardo Arias, Calicanto Foundation, and Felix Wing, Center for Environmental Advocacy claim serious anomalies in the process.
For example, Act 135 of 1943, which organizes the administrative court, in Article 75 states that when the Third provisionally suspend an act, it is forbidden for the defendant authority to reissue another similar act.
"This is exactly what happened. It issued a new resolution and a new building permit very similar to those that were suspended by the court," Wing told La Prensa.
On May 9, 2011, Judge Alejandro Moncada Luna, President of the Court, sent a letter reminding the director of Heritage, Sandra Cerrud that the works of PH were suspended since September 2009.
Subsequently, on July 26 of that year, Arias, representing Calicanto, requested the temporary suspension of the new building permit, but so far has not received a response from the Supreme Court.
It was Arias who demanded the annulment of the original building permit PH, issued on November 8, 2006 by then Municipal Engineer Jaime Salas.
Meanwhile, ex judge and now PH promoter, Joseph Trojan, believes that the Court cannot overturn something already expired.
In the PH mezzanines have already been built and facades altered in order to increase the density of buildings. This is prohibited by law (Decree Law 9 of 1997 and Executive Decree 51 of 2004) says La Prensa.