A public servant in Torreón, Coahuila, has amassed an impressive property portfolio after going on a land-buying spree during the administrations of two local mayors.
Xavier Alain Herrera Arroyo, general manager of the Torreón Municipal Water and Sanitation System, acquired several parcels of land during the tenures of both Eduardo Olmos and Miguel Ángel Riquelme, who is now set to become the governor of Coahuila.
The newspaper El Universal reports that Herrera and his wife, Norma Cecilia Juárez López, took six years to pay down a mortgage of 191,000 pesos (US $10,500 at today’s exchange rate) on a house in a working class neighborhood of Torreón that they sold in 2010.
But since paying off the mortgage they have accumulated property worth at least 20 million pesos, or $1.1 million.
In 2008 Herrera bought a 420-square-meter piece of land in one of the city’s most exclusive residential developments for 379,000 pesos.
However, it wasn’t until he was the director of administrative services in the administration of former mayor Eduardo Olmos that a house valued at close to 5 million pesos was built on the site.
In 2010, Herrera purchased a 500-square-meter plot for 420,000 pesos in the housing estate Hacienda el Rosario, where a house worth at least 3 million pesos went up in a matter of months.
During 2011 and 2012 Herrera purchased three lots in the La Rosa development for more than 600,000 pesos and another lot in Los Fresnos for 614,000 pesos.
A mansion worth at least 8 million pesos was built on that site.
The list grew during the administration of Riquelme, who was mayor from 2014 to 2016 and promoted Herrera to his current position:
• 515,000 pesos for a plot of land at the end of 2014.
• 1.3 million pesos for another one in March 2015 on which a nightclub, La Catrina, was built. The land purchase was registered in the name of Herrera’s wife but the business operates under his name.
• In May 2015, a 612,000-peso cash payment for a 512-square-meter parcel of land in another residential development.
It doesn’t stop there.
In January 2016, Herrera purchased two houses in the Los Fresnos estate registered in his daughters’ names for a combined value of 3.6 million pesos.
Of all the land and property acquired by Herrera, just one is registered in his name, the rest in those of his wife and daughters.
In the public property register there is no record of mortgages or loans being taken out for any of the purchases, suggesting that they were paid for in cash.
During the election campaign for governor, the National Action Party (PAN) alleged that Herrera was part of a corruption network and accused him and his wife of unaccountably acquiring properties.
Herrera is reported to be close politically to Riquelme, who narrowly defeated the PAN candidate in the election.
Herrera has declared that his current job comes with a net monthly salary of 47,592 pesos.
Source: El Universal (sp)