November 19th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) San Jose’s Hotel Europa, owned by accused high-yield investment fraudster, Luis Milanes closed its doors yesterday, leaving some 300 employees suddenly out of work.
The closure came shortly after news of the closure of the hotel’s casino operations along with the casino operations of the downtown San Jose Radisson, also owned by Milanes.
Hotel Europa was built in 1911 and claims to be the oldest hotel in San Jose.
Some 300 employees were apparently given no advance notice that they were to lose their jobs, and dozens massed outside the chained doors of the hotel yesterday, demanding their legally entitled severance pay and holiday bonuses.
Some former employees carried signs demanding that Milanes respect workers’ rights. Others were armed with stones ready to break the hotel’s windows and take items of value before police officers arrived on the scene and calmed the crowd.
The closure even took some guests by surprise, with some guests who were away from the hotel at the time of the sudden closure returning to find the hotel doors chained shut and finding themselves unable to even retrieve their belongings from their rooms.
Milanes, a 63-year-old Cuban American accused of defrauding some 500 mostly American and Canadian investors out of $46 million when his Costa Rica-based high-yield investment program, Savings Unlimited closed down 11 years ago, will face a criminal trial in July of next year after failing to comply with the terms of a settlement agreement with his alleged victims.
Neither Milanes nor the hotels’ management have issued any formal statement regarding the closures. Several phone calls made by Inside Costa Rica to the Hotel Europa were immediately disconnected after being answered on Tuesday.