The Jalisco Congress this week barred former Puerto Vallarta Mayor Gustavo Gonzalez Villaseñor from holding any public office for the next five years after deciding that he acted inappropriately in authorizing construction of a high-rise resort complex in 2005.
Is ex-Vallarta Mayor Gustavo Gonzalez's political career over? The local Hotel Association cried foul after the mayor granted building permits for the Grand Venetian resort in a prohibited zone of Puerto Vallarta. They filed a series of injunctions to stop the project, arguing that Gonzalez managed the project behind closed doors, had failed in his duty to consult the business community about the soundness of the development and ignored a requirement to order essential environmental impact studies.
The Responsibilities Commission of the Jalisco State Congress ruled that Gonzalez should be banned from office for five and not ten years - the maximum allowed - because there was no suggestion of corruption in his decision-making.
A district judge recently ruled in favor of the Hotel Association in its three-year-long battle to close the project. However, 90 percent of apartments in the well-advanced complex have been sold, and legal experts say judges are unlikely to allow the resort to be demolished.
The Grand Venetian consists of three towers containing 472 condominiums and six penthouses. An additional 12 oceanfront villas and 56 lakefront villas provide a "Venice-like" ambiance, complete with a bell tower and 13,000 square feet of artificial water channels.
Local hoteliers say the Grand Venetian is the kind of self-contained holiday resort that damages conventional tourism and hurts smaller hotels, restaurants and tourist service businesses.