Friday, June 9

The mayoress of Santander approved the sale of a municipal plot to her sister-in-law in her first Governing Board in office

The current mayoress of Santander and candidate for reelection by the Popular Party in the municipal elections on May 28, Gema Igual, approved the sale of a plot of municipal property to her sister-in-law in her first Local Government Board in office. The process by which the City Council of the capital of Cantabria put up for auction the municipal estate of 1,515 square meters and valued at 777,784 euros took place throughout the year 2016, without the mayoress inhibiting herself in the procedure despite the fact that the only The company that bid for the land was owned by Esther Gómez Baldonedo, wife at that time of the mayor of Arnuero, José Manuel Igual (PP), brother of the Santander councilor.

On this farm, which used to be municipally owned, next to the S-20 highway that connects Santander and Torrelavega and on the main access road to the city, a two-story Burger King is now installed on a plot that cost the company from the sister-in-law of the mayoress, Yisas, SA, a total of 2,216 euros more than the price at which it was valued by the Consistory. For the 780,000 euros it paid at the auction, this company now has a 452-square-meter fast-food restaurant and a car park set up for its customers.

The municipal estate located on Josefina de la Maza street was an undeveloped piece of land on the outskirts, in the expansion area of ​​the city and in a privileged place due to its location next to the motorway leading into and out of Santander. No one had noticed it or had any role in the City Council’s plans until a company, Suelo Industrial de Tanos SL, showed interest and requested information from the City Council, according to municipal information consulted by

At the request of the government team, at that time made up solely of PP councilors, the corresponding municipal services began with the necessary procedure to assess their cost in the market despite the fact that the economic context in 2016 was not the most propitious, since the The blows of the real estate crisis were still being felt and construction had stopped dead. The plot had been municipal property since 2008 and at that time the municipal technical services had valued it at 868,833 euros.

The City Council finally valued the property at 777,784 euros and put it up for auction, but the company that had initially shown interest, Suelo Industrial de Tanos SL, did not attend the bid, but another: the company Yisas, SA, owned by the sister-in-law of the mayoress and her family, who definitively took over the land where the fast food franchise is currently located.

Yisas, SA has several Gómez Baldonedo brothers as directors. According to the registry, Esther Gómez Baldonedo is a director and secretary of the company. Her brother Carlos hers was the one who signed the documentation related to the sale of the farm and a declaration that there was no incompatibility as stipulated in article 60 of the consolidated text of the Contract Law.

Said article expressly includes the following: “The prohibition extends (…) to spouses, persons linked with an analogous relationship of affective cohabitation, ascendants and descendants, as well as second-degree relatives by consanguinity or affinity of the persons to whom referred to in the preceding paragraphs, when there is a conflict of interest with the head of the contracting body or the heads of the bodies in which the power to contract has been delegated or those who exercise the substitution of the former”.

However, when the sale arrived at the Local Government Board, the technical and legal services of the City Council saw no inconvenience in agreeing to the award. To questions from, the mayoress justified in this fact that she did not have to inhibit herself or depart from the process in which this real estate operation was confirmed in favor of her sister-in-law’s company, even though she herself presided over the Local Government Board or was the person empowered to proceed to the signing of the deeds of sale.

“Gema Igual does not participate in the preparation of the auction file for the plot, which has all the favorable technical and legal reports and was audited accordingly by the municipal intervention. In addition, the auction is a regulated act resulting from a public tender, without any discretionary capacity on the part of the political sphere and which was unanimously approved by the contracting body”, they point out from the mayoress’s communication team in response to this newspaper .

This medium has also tried to collect the version of Esther Gómez Baldonedo without her having answered the questions sent by email and by telephone before the publication of this news item.

Political change in the City Hall

The political situation in the Santander City Council changed substantially throughout the entire process. When the procedure began, Gema Igual was Councilor for Tourism and Institutional Relations, as well as a member of the Local Government Board chaired by Íñigo de la Serna, who days later would leave the Mayor’s Office to join the Government of Spain led by Mariano Rajoy as Minister of development.

Gema Igual, who had been number 2 of the PP candidacy in the municipal elections, took office in his place on November 17, 2016 and among his first decisions in the Governing Board held five days later, on November 22, 2016 , was to award this municipal property to his sister-in-law.

Once the plot was sold, the ultimate goal of the operation was revealed: the installation of a Burger King in a new building. Barely two months after definitively acquiring the farm, in February 2017, the fast food chain announced an investment of 2.5 million euros to install a new restaurant in the city. The economic amount announced included the building and the land, although in the end the mayor’s sister-in-law did not part with the farm, which is still owned by her company, so Burger King presumably occupies it on a rental basis.

Promotion of the Mayor’s Office

The mayor’s support for this project was very noticeable at all times, as she visited Burger King’s works in 2017, praised the company’s plans through various communications sent to the media or on her social networks, and even participated in the opening ceremony in 2019, without at any time making public the family character on which the entire urban operation was based.

Esther Gómez Baldonedo became related to the Gema Igual family when she married the brother of the mayoress of Santander, José Manuel Igual, who is also a well-known politician in Cantabria and who has great relevance within the organic structure of the PP, the party with which he that he was an autonomous deputy during several legislatures and that he has been mayor of the municipality of Arnuero for almost three decades.

The promotion was supported at all times by the mayoress, before, during and after the construction of the two-story restaurant. In October 2018, The municipal website itself reported a visit to the farm of the mayoress and her Development councilor, César Díazto report on the progress of the work.

On her visit to the works, the mayoress was accompanied by Mario Esteban, general manager of the Burger King franchise for northern Spain (KAM Food Service, although since 2020 Burger King has assumed direct management of its centers in the north of the country after a process of absorption of the franchisee). He also left signs of support on his social networks after the opening of the restaurant.

At the inauguration of the building in April 2019, Gema Igual was accompanied by Alejandro Beitia, president of Kam Food Service and Borja Hernández de Alba, general director of Burger King Spain and Portugal.

Santander City Council made the Local Development Agency job bank available to Burger King, “hoping that this collaboration will make it possible for all or most of the jobs created with this new business project to be for Santander residents who thus find a opportunity to join or re-engage in the labor market”, the mayoress assured then.

“Any large company that wants to establish itself in the city, that generates jobs here, has the City Council’s doors open to help and facilitate in everything it can,” he stressed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *