Another conciliation session between Luis Milanes Tamayo and his former investors is scheduled for today, and there is a good chance that the negotiations will fail.
In order for Milanes, the former owner of Savings Unlimited, to get off the hook, all his former investors have to agree to the conciliation proposal.
At stake is some $578,000 that Milanes was supposed to pay but has not.
Several investors and at least one lawyer representing investors are holdouts, something that enrages other investors who want a piece of the conciliation money.
Negotiations broke down last week when some of the former investors at the closed meeting rejected a deal that had been constructed by the judge, Dayanna Segura, and lawyers for Milanes and the investors.
The case is confusing even to those involved because there is property that Milanes has surrendered, and some of the properties have liens. So the net value is hard to determine. In addition, many of the former investors are expats who are challenged in Spanish.
Another appraisal is expected to be presented on the downtown Europa Hotel that Milanes has surrendered as part of the conciliation. The original value was around $10 million, but there have been no buyers interested at that price.
A source close to the case said that there still would be holdouts rejecting the conciliation deal today, and that the case would proceed with a preliminary hearing within a month and a trial in a year. Milanes is negotiating for a suspended sentence.
When Savings Unlimited collapsed in November 2002, investors lost about $200 million. The 500 or so investors who are listed by the court as victims represent a percentage of that money.
Meanwhile, Milanes returned from hiding in 2008 and spent a night in jail before he posted property with the courts. He continues to operate a string of metro area casinos, including one that rents space in the Hotel Europa.
Because the case is so complex, prosecutors are known to favor conciliation instead of a formal trial. Milanes has said a former associate, Costa Rican lawyer José Adolfo Somarribas Arias, now in Europe, has access to the bulk of the money. Whether prosecutors here have been in contact with Somarribas or European authorities is unclear.
Savings Unlimited was one of those handful of firms that paid monthly interest in excess of 3 percent. Unlike some firms that were secret, Milanes said that he was using the investors money to develop casinos. He also had hair salons, a company building slot machines and other interests.