The thread (above) has zig-zagged in so many directions that it's hard to maintain the focus of the original argument. Still, I'm glad the natural gas issue has arisen because I've been writing about it for Inside Tucson Business and I profit from hearing perspectives. First, as to Liberty Cove and the title issue: Mexicans are accustomed to imperfections in title. They, along with much of the world, don't have the sophistication/certainty of unclouded titles. Moreover, they don't have a sophisticated title-security industry, as we do. If there is one area where I blame Rockingham and investors equally, it is in not having distinguished properly between what title insurance means in the two nations. (In the US, it covers land and improvements. In Mexico, it coves land.) This ambiguity/misunderstanding benefited Rockingham in the same way that the phrase "notario público" benefits American notary publics who are assigned by Mexicans the same credibility as a notario público in their home country. Cognates are a dangerous thing. Back to the natural gas: Mexico and Kinder Morgan have been handling the promotion of their project in a guarded fashion instead of unabashedly and un-apologetically asserting that it's the right thing to do --- for both countries. The level of misunderstandings at the public hearings (Sasabe, Tucson) is remarkable.
deserto, the Coastal Highway is great from Alvaro Obregon South to Puerto Libertad.The old road South to Kino is way better to.. Still the Coast needs a light touch at best.The Sasabe pipeline will turn into an oil pipeline and tankers will enter the Sea of Cortez...bummer but a ng pipeline to Libertad would be good(see smokestack picture...blowing smoke into the authors bullshit Liberty Cove scam)
Since no one else has said it... I hate the whole idea of a development out there. The coastline from Kino Bay to Rocky Point is beautiful, full of wildlife, and wonderfully remote... and should remain that way! There's plenty of beachfront covered by ugly condos elsewhere.
Whether a scam or not, the plan was ludicrous from the start. Anyone who has been out there knows how remote the place is. It's certainly not somewhere a normal U.S. investor would feel comfortable going. It's harder to find a more remote place without good road access in the southwest.
Building a resort of that size with absolutely no access to any amenities (not even fresh water) or a real town is just not realistic. The nearest real town is Caborca 60 miles away as the crow flies and substantially longer by land, all on bumpy dirt roads. The road to near Kino Bay goes the wrong way (away from the US) and is sort of paved, but falling apart. I'll believe in the 'new highway' only when I see it with my own eyes.
See what I wrote about this many years ago here: http://www.old.wildsonora.com/ws/puerto_li…
Raul my friend,
The backers knewv the vtitle was bad and still pushed the project.The plant is the second dirtiest in Mexico.That is a fact.YOU ARE CORRECT NG line is is a good thing for cleaning up the plant which pumps smoke into the property(I have been there)
You are big moron with small mind. You obviously not drive our new Costera road and visit this Liberty Cove land. This land begin maybe 14 kilometers or 9 miles north of Puerto Libertad and continue 30 kilometers more north. The playa is very clear water with good sand, not like Puerto Penasco mud flat playa. The many nature sea and desert mountain views are big inspiration, not like Puerto Penasco.
More, Puerto Libertad is not only many miles south but is on other side of big mountain, and power plant cannot even be seen with the eye from Liberty Cove land. More, few years past Sonora government install new technology scrubbers to much lower the pollution. More, even this lower pollution always flow east into Sonora, never north to Liberty Cove land, not even close, you moron.
More, you make idea like all natural gas pipeline must be bad because it is coming from big evil corporation. Maybe you are liberal socialist to only think this manner. Because hypocrite moron like you use this kind of natural gas even when you cry it is evil. You do not understand you moron that if pipeline come here it will be state of art technology even better than old pipeline you already have passing through your Arizona, and not way you describe. Yes, you really are moron.
More, you even more big moron because you say we only want Tucson outdoor man like you and not Republican Scottsdale man. So you display your moron prejudice. Here we want all Americans to enjoy Sonora, even small mind socialist outdoor moron like you can come too.
Maybe take more time to make title 100% clear but sometime en futuro this Liberty Cove land will have nice project.
The New Coastal Highway has opened up many areas with better title,better water rights and are located far away from the environmental hazard that is surrounding this flawed property.
The coming NG pipeline ,followed by a oil pipeline infrastructure project will be going through this property.Extraction industry honchos will roll right over the investors (made up of retired Republican golfers with badly stuffed trophy wives and alcohol problems that are the polar opposites of the average Tucson outdoorsman and woman that loves and respects mexico)
The author refuses to state his reason for writing this summary at this time.In 2004 he or any of the principals would have known the title was bad.By 2006 he would have known about the risk on a ng exposion (think mile long fire ball headed toward his little race track or at best the smell of rotten eggs and ng headaches 24/7.By 2008 everyone new the bubble was on us and yet he was still part of this gang.His job was to bring new people into this scam.
From a ABCnews story 2006 or so....yet you guys thought this was a good place to put a Scottsdale twit hangout?
"As a port of call, Puerto Libertad doesn't offer much. There's no public dock, no cargo cranes — not much at all except sand and shrubs and the unbroken horizon of the Gulf of California.
But for the huge tankers that carry natural gas around the world, this Mexican village is perfect: close enough to the United States to pump their volatile cargo over the border but remote enough that a leak, explosion or terrorist attack wouldn't pose a threat to the USA. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=37…
As a happy Rocky Point owner and Sonora lover, I considered Liberty Cove several years ago. While I didn’t get involved, I did meet some of the owners in Scottsdale.
I don’t know much, but I did verify that Chernick was on the board of the Scottsdale Four Seasons, and that Ricketts was the lead developer of a popular California coast development. For me, that was significant because they had real experience behind them.
As a former Arizona raw land investor, I verified that they had come in, acquired raw Mexico land, got it zoned and plotted and made the standard improvements that all developers do to increase value, and they also pushed Sonora to put the coast road through their property. I also recall that they had begun underground construction and had confirmed take-out financing in place through Deutsche Bank.
The project was just a little too early on for me, and I don’t remember anything else and I’m not defending these guys. At most maybe they were wasteful but then many developers are. But they were clearly well into the process of developing this property.
So as an outsider, I can professionally say that you guys who throw around words like scam and fraud are all idiots. And the childish idiot Suz who says Mexico is a rat? What does that even mean? Grow up! Mexico has its challenges but also has tremendous long-term upside.
Omissions from the author that ought be taken into account:
-- Simkovich, who helped raise money for the project, believed dearly in it. I met him on a couple of occasions and he did everything he could to inform and cheer-lead. He also invested his own money (cash, not soft money or warrants) and was one of the REIT-holders who has been wondering what'll happen to his money.
-- Details: $21 million was raised from investors. After commissions, that amount was just over $18.
More to come.
I chose to work on a project (Liberty Cove) that I thought had a chance. It did, actually. If I recognize that a website, or newspaper was accurate in predicting something would fail, then it's the same recognition I give to the guy who wins at the track. I doff my hat. But if you look at any of the innovative projects taking place in Mexico (or elsewhere), all have their detractors/naysayers. It's human nature and then, later, when a project does fail, we all stand around sanctimoniously and give ourselves pats on the back. A couple of words in favor of Craig and what he was trying to do. The guy played by the rules in Mexico. He brought on board (Walt) Bouchard, a pro. He brought on board Jorge Gomez Unger, the Hermosillo atty with specialty in environmental affairs. He went through all the correct steps and he found resonance for the idea from different quarters, including Gov. Bours, the gov's brother, Ricardo, who headed IMPULSOR, the state econ development agency. He found favor at Fonatur, which is the developer of Cancun, Huatulco and mammoth projects in Vallarta. . Like many wildcat development in the US and Mexico, he didn't just start building and then whine that the Mexicans were holding him back. I am not Craig's advocate or his apologist; there's lots to second-guess. But I'm not ready to join in a summary disqualification or accusation that this was a "scam." It was an attempt at something unique that didn't take off. Would it have taken off if there hadn't been a title-dispute? Don't know. But having written hundreds of stories on entrepreneurs and start-ups, I'm hesitant to join in a "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" of others. I've taken a hit from lots of people on these stories and expect more. My loyalty is to none (or all) of them as I, too, sift through hearsay, bombast, indignation and self-serving Monday-morning quarterbacking. More to come.
Keith...train wrecks like this make it hard for honest developers like my friends at Santo Tomas to make a buck.Add the housing bubble,Fox news scaring the crap out of beach goers,the need to have a passport,drug war inspections slowing down border crossing and it is tough to keep going.
The timing of your article raises questions.The short cut to the Coastal highway may finally happen. A 3 hour trip from central Tucson to my beach house (not ejido land) on the Sonoran Coast via Sasabe and Caborca for groceries and beer is coming soon!
Puerto Libertad will be a modestly interesting stop on one of the most beautiful and empty coastal highway in the world.Bikers (both kinds) off roaders,campers,beach house owners like me will bring a boom to the Caborca area....Liberty Cove land may be worth something again. The problem is the power plant is a pollution machine.Now word comes out Kindermorgan is trying to run a North South NG pipeline from Sasabe to that plant and most likely offshore loading on to tankers. It will be a dirty industrial dock but a valuable one. Who has figured out Liberty Cove is worth money again and wants it? on the cheap...Arev you working for the Germans?
By the way, I doff my hat to the participant from RockyPointTalk. That info's absolutely so. Some dreams succeed, others fail. I was ready to do liaison work for Rockingham LLC because that's what I sometimes do -- put people together. Will I choose more carefully next time? Probably not. We stumble all the time.
I'm responsible for the story, so I should show my face online. Ask away. I am a rat (comment above), but not for spending all this time writing. This wasn't designed to be a hit-piece on anyone. There is some info that's not precise (that happens in 7,000 words). I'm ready to account.
Echoing Anon above - The members at RockyPointTalk, many with years of living in, traveling, visiting and investing in Mexico and legitimate Mexican real estate flagged the Liberty Cove project as a huge scam from the day it was announced. Nobody listened, nobody even bothered to ask. How could anybody honestly believe a project of this grand a scale, including a Formula One racetrack, would ever come to be in the middle of absolute nowhere? The LC website and marketing materials were way too slick to believe by anyone with even a basic knowledge of Mexico, its propensity for fraudulent real estate deals (at the time), and history of failed projects/title disputes not even close to the magnitude being proposed for Liberty Cove.
While I feel for the investors that bought into this pipe dream, they should have spent a little more time investigating and done a tad of research before signing those checks. I love Mexico and frequent it often, but when it comes to real estate deals and investments? Nothing is ever what it seems; buyer beware! You're better off parking a trailer on the beach than building a beautiful home and losing it in a title dispute with an ejido. You're only out a trailer, not your life or retirement savings. Or, consider an existing property and do extensive title research and due diligence on it BEFORE making any commitment. There are plenty of legitimate, beautiful beach properties already developed all over Mexico.
It's only a matter of time until you see a new version of this same multi-million dollar scam perpetuated somewhere else with different names and faces. Loreto? Puerto Lobos? Pick anywhere on the beach, then go forth and sell Americans that "retire for cheap on the Mexican beach" dream. They're absolute suckers for it every time.
I loved this article and after having grown up in Arizona and spending a lot of time in the desert exploring, I don't doubt it one bit!
The results of pure GREED!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Can't buy or sell ejido. If you don't know MX law don't invest that is for sure.
Beware of...fool some not all...
Steve Simkovich, Craig Ricketts, Robert Chernal, Diamond and Freedman, the country of Mexico and Jerry Kelly are all rats
Go to Rockypoint talk and see how some of us were trying to warn people about this scamsince 2008 and two years earlier on another forum erased by the new real estate scammer_webmaster whenthe Sandy Beach scams were getting to the point of being theft.As individuals we kept many people from. being scammed in projects like Plays Azul.We never received any help fromrealtors or libertycove investors.
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