A new actor comes onto the scene: Judge Hualde
The workers had little time to celebrate the triumph in this trial, because very shortly after, May 16, 2006, the bankruptcy judge of the Bauen, Paula Hualde, showed up at the hotel to do a “visual inpection.” She had replaced Favier Dubois. According to the workers, was doing the inspection because of a petition by Mercoteles that asked her to do so.1 This was how Judge Hualde appeared on the scene of the conflict, and she would not leave it.
While the expropriation bill languished in Congress, Hualde advanced toward issuing her judgment, in which, despite confirming some of the irregularities pointed out by the cooperative’s lawyers, she would order the first eviction of the hotel to return it to Mercoteles.
In a finding that goes in so many circles that it ends up being confusing in spite of its rigorously technical language, Hualde attributed the ownership of the building to Mercoteles and, accordingly, ordered the workers out. Her conclusions involved several contradictions, the most notorious of which we already pointed out. Namely, in spite of confirming the fact that the business Bauen SA sold the property to a recently created firm with capital of only AR$100,000 (10,000 shares of AR$10 each) on a date on which it did not have legal ownership of hotel, just the same, she decided that Mercoteles was the owner. Additionally, she decided to overlook the fact that that sale was “denounced” on December 10th, 2004, by collateral creditor Marcelo Hilario Gardella, another old acquaintance of the business network of the Iurcovich group and Mercoteles. On the contrary, she opted to conclude that none of that prevented a business that was not in possession of the hotel, either on paper or in reality (in spite of the shadowy presence of Marcelo Iurcovich that the workers pointed out) from carrying out the sale.