A court condemns the consumer association Adicae and declares the re-election of its president illegal

A court in Madrid has condemned the Association for the Defense of Consumers and Users of Banks, Savings Banks and Insurance (Adicae) and has annulled the decisions of the congress that in January 2019 gave the presidency of the entity back to its founder and president since its creation, Manuel Pardos.

In a ruling issued on June 9, Judge Elena Cortina, of the Court of First Instance 90 of Madrid, has fully upheld the lawsuit filed by the promoters of the "Consumers Building the Future" (CCF) candidacy, critical of the management.

The judge fully upheld the arguments of the plaintiffs in understanding that Adicae breached their right to participate in the activities of the association and in the governing and representative bodies, to exercise the right to vote and to attend the General Assembly.

The ruling imposes the costs of the process on the consumer association and declares "the nullity of the agreements adopted at the IV National Adicae Congress held on January 18, 19 and 20, 2019", which urges to convene again. It also annuls the agreement of the Electoral Commission of the congress by which the candidacy of CCF, headed by Antonio Brito from the Canary Islands, was inadmissible to the Board of Directors and the General Council.

After the sentence, the plaintiffs demand "the sudden resignation" of Pardos and his management team and the imminent call for elections. Adicae, with which elDiario.es contacted this Tuesday without receiving a response, has 20 days to appeal.

From that congress, held in January 2019 in a hotel in Alcobendas (Madrid), a “joint and rejuvenated” national board of directors emerged, according to then announced Adicae. Pardos was re-elected as president with 75% of the votes. He did it after preventing, 24 hours before its start, that alternative candidacy promoted by members, volunteers and former workers of Adicae. The rebels denounced that the association had lost “more than 100,000 members in just 5 years due to internal problems”.

The judge has annulled the decision of the Congress Organization Commission to prevent the members of Adicae Comunidad Valenciana critical of Pardos' management from being represented by the delegates elected at the Preparatory Assembly held in December 2018.

With that resolution, far from "ensuring the purity of the democratic system", as Adicae affirmed in the response to the lawsuit, the association "adopted, arbitrarily and lacking legal and statutory support, an agreement that the only thing it wanted, in the end, it was that the compromisarios of the “alternative list” did not participate in the National Congress”, says the judge.

"They annulled the assembly because they lost: we had more people, we beat them widely in the delegates that were elected in Valencia and Alicante, they couldn't consent to it and they annulled it in a bad way," says Ángel Lorenzo, one of the plaintiffs.

In the opinion of this critical partner, the sentence is "another chapter in the war in which we have been trying to change the conditions of Adicae as an association for some time and especially its managers, who have lost the direction of the association and are dedicated to to your personal pleasure." In his case, he has twice been expelled from his board of directors. “Both times I have earned it in court,” says Lorenzo.

The resolution indicates that the exclusion of the alternative candidacy violated article 21.a) of Organic Law 1/2002, of March 22, regulating the Right of Association, and the Statutes of Adicae, which recognize members the right to “to be voters and eligible for managerial positions, fulfilling the conditions established in these statutes and in the internal operating regulations that develop them”.

By excluding that candidacy within 24 hours of the congress, "the possibility of rectification or presentation of additional documents was not granted", nor, "of course, the possibility of challenging the agreement", says the sentence. One of the reasons for exclusion was the launch of a supposed "campaign of denigration, insults and slander" through a blog that described the congress as a "pantomime" or "farce". The judge recalls that the demands for protection of the right to honor of Adicae for these publications have already been dismissed by the Justice.

The promoters of the lawsuit consider that the judge's resolution is "another shameful episode of the current government regime of Manuel Pardos, and demonstrates the shenanigans that were carried out, in collusion with lawyers from the association, to try to stay in the power, violating, as the sentence has shown, nothing less than the Organic Law of Associations, key in any social and democratic organization”.

And they assure that non-compliance with the regulations of associations "could lead to the loss of the condition of association of consumers and users", in accordance with article 26 of the Law of consumers and users. This rule states that "consumer and user associations that incur in any of the prohibitions provided for by the legislation that is applicable to them will lose, in any case and for a period of not less than five years after such circumstances ceased to exist. , its condition as an association of consumers and users”.

"Among this legislation is precisely the Organic Law of Associations, whose article 21.1 a) has been violated by Adicae according to this ruling," the plaintiffs say.

"We ask for the holding of elections to the Board of Directors and the Council of Adicae to renew structures whose manifest decline is causing these unfortunate situations that call into question the social work of Adicae", they summarize.

The sentence is one more episode of the controversies that have accompanied Adicae in recent years, founded by Pardos in 1988 in Zaragoza as a small regional entity, and which the still president, now in his eighties, turned into one of the most powerful in the country.

The entity has to its credit achievements such as having initiated the macro-cause of the floor clauses against more than a hundred entities that the Supreme Court has recently raised before the Court of Justice of the EU, and for which Adicae calculates that the bank could having to repay up to 190 million euros.

But also accumulates dozens of convictions for the treatment of its workers and has several legal disputes with critical partners. For months, a court in Seville investigates its leadership for alleged crimes of subsidy fraud and documentary falsehood by allegedly having inflated its number of partners to collect more than 700,000 euros in aid.

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