The Board of Nursing has spent 25 million on failed projects | Society

The Board of Nursing has spent 25 million on failed projects | Society

The General Council of Nursing (CGE), which brings together all provincial schools in Spain, Since 2002, almost 25 million euros have been spent on three pharaonic projects that have failed. It is a socio-health complex in Salobreña (Granada), a university campus in Majadahonda (Madrid) and a large residence on the Costa del Sol that to date have been nothing.

This has caused losses in the corporation that exceed nine million euros. Another 15 million are buried in a hotel with more than 200 rooms in Benalmádena (Málaga) which the Council can not give - nor does it foresee to be able to do so in several years - no use. The bill for these setbacks is assumed by nurses, 280,000 in practice in Spain, who pay an obligatory fee of over 200 euros per year, the Council's main means of financing.

Florence Nightingale - founder of modern nursing -, It was the name given to the Salobreña complex. There, the Council obtained an administrative concession to build a socio-health facility that, with a budget of 12 million, had to be "the most modern training and health research center in Europe", as reported by the corporation in May 2004. The event was attended by the Minister of Education Pilar del Castillo (PP).

The plan had little to do with design and management errors that "forced to make modifications and new studies, which triggered the costs", detailed sources involved in the failed execution. One example was the rooms, "rounded, which greatly increases the furniture, and sliding doors, which violates the regulations."

Other problems were of a technical nature, such as the lack of foresight on seismic risk in the Salobreña area. But the last straw was given by Banco Pastor, now extinct, who pledged to finance the project and had opened a line of credit of 4 million, of which the Council had disposed of half, and decided to close the tap in case of doubt. They planned on the complex, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The Florence Nightingale thus became an unviable project, which led the Council to try to minimize losses. In 2008, he presented a claim to the City of Salobreña, to which he claimed 1.97 million euros for "damages". The Council alleges that a study of its own had discovered "serious technical difficulties affecting the seismic safety" of the complex. The City Council replies that "the seismic risk has been known for decades". "Nothing justified the claim," says a municipal spokesman. The litigation between both parties was not resolved until 2015, when the Council ceded and agreed to terminate the concession despite the fact that this meant waiving any compensation and paying 310,000 euros for the pending fees.

In total, the Florence Nightingale cost three million euros, in a conservative estimate of sources familiar with the project. The Council has declined to offer a figure, although it defends that "it always complied with the current regulations".

With the preparations in Salobreña barely begun, the Council embarked on another ambitious plan: a "Sociosanitario Campus" in Majadahonda (Madrid) with a residence of 400 beds and a training center linked to the Rey Juan Carlos University. All this, on more than 50,000 square meters of municipal land, according to the agreement signed in May 2003.

The plan, however, lasted even less than that of Salobreña. After another pompous announcement, was buried with the resignation of the mayor of the town, Guillermo Ortega (PP), in 2005 and his problems with the Gürtel case. The impact on the Council's accounts in this case was small. "The project was presented three weeks before the municipal elections. It was more electoralist than real base ", summarizes municipal sources.

After both failures, the Council did not resume its plans to open "a residence for retired nurses" - as it now defines the Salobreña complex - until 2007, when it bought the Velázquez hotel in Benalmádena. According to the documents consulted, a subsidiary company of the Board agreed to buy the hotel Vograla SL for 21.5 million euros, 13 to be paid in different installments and 8.5 with the subrogation of a mortgage.

In the first four years after the purchase there were no visible changes. Vograla continued to operate the hotel and paid a rent to the Council that the corporation - which had had some problem with the promissory notes issued for the purchase - used to pay the installments of the mortgage that had been subrogated. The operation was not even reflected in the accounts of the companies of the Council since "both parties decided not to raise the sale to public until the end of all payments".

Everything changed the summer of 2011. Vograla and the rest of the hotel group to which it belonged was sold to another holding company of companies with tentacles in Panama and whose visible figures were Genís Marfà and Pedro de la Rosa, both involved in legal proceedings. EL PAÍS has tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain its version.

Although many details of the case are pending judicial resolution, almost everything that happened from that moment harmed the Council. In April 2012, the Tax Agency seized the hotel for a debt of 4.4 million Vograla. The company also stopped paying the rent it paid to operate the hotel. All this has forced the Council to several litigations. In one of them, in 2015, he managed to get the judge to force the Tax Agency to lift the embargo by recognizing him as the legitimate owner of the hotel.

Despite this, the Board has begun to account for part of the losses suffered in the accounts of its subsidiary Cofunsalud SL, where it admits "the impossibility of a new lease or sale [del hotel] in the short, medium or long term due to the complicated legal environment of the asset ". A spokesman for the Council attributed the problems to "the continuing contractual breaches of the selling party," which have prevented him from "even taking possession of the property". Therefore, it does not rule out new "civil, contentious-administrative and criminal" actions.

War of denunciations in
the entity

The world of nursing is, corporately speaking, anything but placid. The General Council has for several years faced a minority critical sector in a struggle in which the presentation of cross-complaints is constant.

The College of Murcia was until a year ago the stronghold of critics who questioned the management of the current dome of the Council, chaired between 1978 and 2017 by Máximo González Jurado and since then for its Dolphin, Florentino Pérez Raya. From this opposition has emerged during the last two years a complaint and a lawsuit against the leadership of the corporation, which have been filed.

The Council, in turn, also accuses critics of serious irregularities and ended up intervening the College of Murcia.

In this context, the Council links any question posed by this newspaper with its legal battle against the critical sector, even when it comes to matters far from their judicial confrontations. The Council linked in a recent internal circular to EL PAÍS with a supposed "campaign" against the entity.


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